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White House Jewish Liaison

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Title: White House Jewish Liaison  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: J Street, RAVSAK, Emunah Magazine, Jewish Federation, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
Collection: Executive Office of the President of the United States, Jews and Judaism in Washington, D.C., White House
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White House Jewish Liaison

The White House staff position of liaison to the American Jewish community (popularly known as the White House Jewish Liaison) is a role charged with serving as a presidential administration's voice to the community and gathering the community's consensus viewpoint on issues affecting it for the benefit of White House policymakers. It has existed at least as early as the Carter Administration.

At times, the post has operated within the White House Office of Public Liaison (now called the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental affairs[1]), and its formal title has depended on the rank of the person holding it. Thus, liaisons have held the position of Administrative Assistant for Jewish Affairs, Special Adviser for Jewish Affairs, Deputy-Chief-of-Staff for Jewish Affairs, or Director of Jewish Outreach. As of mid-2013, the position's title is Associate Director for Jewish Outreach.[2] At other times, the post has been held by persons outside of the Public Liaison Office.

The position is a difficult one to hold.[3] The liaison must be in contact with Jewish organization leaders who believe that they should be able to interact with White House policymakers as the need arises.[3] The liaison must also gather consensus from, and represent the Administration to, an American Jewish community that is deeply divided on many major issues, including foreign policy, such as the method of achieving Mideast peace, and domestic policy, like school vouchers and aid to parochial schools.[3]

In recent years, the position has regularly been handled by younger staffers holding their first jobs in the executive branch, with little power, and frequently many years younger than the leaders to whom they represent the Administration viewpoint.[3]


  • Liaisons 1
    • Carter Administration 1.1
    • Reagan Administration 1.2
    • Clinton Administration 1.3
    • George W. Bush Administration 1.4
    • Obama Administration 1.5
  • References 2
  • External links 3


Carter Administration

In 1978, Carter administration Jewish liaison Mark Siegel resigned the position after he became distressed with the administration's position towards Israel and Middle East policy and felt unable to influence it.[4]

Reagan Administration

  • The White House Office of Public Liaison - has some background on position

External links

  1. ^ "White House Office Of Public Engagement Launched, Replacing Office Of Public Liaison". Huffington Post. June 11, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d Butnick, Stephanie (July 10, 2013). "White House Appoints New Jewish Liaison: Matt Nosanchuk played key role on administration’s DOMA litigation team".  
  3. ^ a b c d , The Jewish Week (New York) - JW Political Insider blog, January 19, 2009Wanted: Obama administration Jewish LiaisonJames Besser,
  4. ^  
  5. ^ a b c d  
  6. ^ , Chicago Tribune, January 23, 2008Consultant, ex-White House staffer vie to take on Mark Kirk in 10th DistrictSusan Kuczka,
  7. ^ , Chicago Tribune - Clout Street blog, February 21, 2008National Dem targets three Illinois congressional racesJames Kimberly,
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ a b c d Nathan Guttman (Dec 29, 2006). "Bush Set To Tap New Jewish Liaison".  
  10. ^ a b "Arogeti named White House Jewish liaison".  
  11. ^ Matthew E. Berger (Aug 8, 2003). "Bush Names Orthodox Adviser As New White House Jewish Liaison".  
  12. ^ "White House Names Jewish Liaison, the Fourth of Bush’s Administration".  
  13. ^ a b , Politico - Ben Smith blog, May 7, 2009Staffing up the RNCBen Smith,
  14. ^ , Washington Post, July 19, 20062006 White House Office Staff List - SalaryDan Froomkin,
  15. ^ a b , JTA, May 18, 2004Bush picks Neusner as Jewish liaison
  16. ^ , Washington Post - wiki, June 25, 2009Susan SherIan Herbert,
  17. ^ , JTA, February 4, 2009For now, no separate Jewish liaison for ObamaEric Fingerhut,
  18. ^ , May 11, 2009President Obama Launches Office of Public EngagementWhite House, Press Release -
  19. ^ "First Lady's Chief Of Staff Leaving White House" Associated Press, CBS News, November 16, 2010.
  20. ^ Katherine Skiba (January 29, 2011). "'"First lady's former chief of staff 'blissfully unemployed.  
  21. ^ Shabad, Rachel (June 17, 2012). "Obama sits down with rabbis".  
  22. ^ "White House to name new Jewish liaison" Jewish Telegraphic Agency, September 26, 2011


In September 2011, it was announced that Jarrod Bernstein would be joining the White House Office of Public Engagement as the Director of Jewish Outreach.[21][22] After Bernstein stepped down in January 2013, the role was handled on an interim basis by Zach Kelley, before being assigned to Matt Nosanchuk.[2] Nosanchuk had previously held the position of Senior Counsel in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, where he worked on DOMA litigation.[2] Nosanchuk's title as Jewish Liaison is Associate Director for Jewish Outreach in the White House Office of Public Engagement.[2]

During the Presidential transition of Barack Obama, at least five candidates were interested in the position.[5] The post was initially co-held by Susan Sher, chief of staff to the First Lady,[16] and Danielle Borrin, who holds the position of Special Assistant for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement to Vice President Joe Biden.[17][18] However, Sher left the White House in January 2011.[19][20]

Obama Administration

The last liaison of the Bush Administration was Scott Arogeti.[10]

Additional Jewish Liaisons in the Bush White House included researcher and scheduler Jeff Berkowitz;[12][13] staff assistant Jay Zeidman, the son of U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council chair Fred Zeidman;[9][14] speechwriter Noam Neusner, son of Jacob Neusner, a prominent rabbi and author;[15] and special policy assistant to the President Jeremy Katz.[9] Troy left to work on the Bush 2004 reelection campaign,[15] while both Berkowitz and Zeidman left to join 2008 Republican presidential campaigns.[9][13]

[11] The first liaisons during the Bush Administration, including Adam Goldman,

During the Bush Administration, seven people held the position of White House Liaison to the Jewish community.[9][10]

George W. Bush Administration

Jay Footlik was a Jewish liaison during the first term of the Clinton Administration and later was a candidate for Congress in Illinois's 10th congressional district,[6] losing to Dan Seals in the primary in 2008.[7] Deborah Mohile served as Jewish liaison in the second term of the Clinton Administration. [8]

Clinton Administration


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