Jews' Next Dor

Congregation Beth David's Young Adult Group for Jewish 20 & 30 Somethings

Rabbi Wernick’s Reflection on Meeting With President Obama

Posted by cbdyag on July 19, 2009

Shalom everyone.  I hope that you are having an enjoyable summer. As many of you know, President Obama met with 16 Jewish leaders from 14 different groups across the country about a variety of topics including the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. I thought you would enjoy reading the reflections of our newly appointed Executive Director of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism – Rabbi Steven Wernick. This was an important meeting for the American Jewish Community and we should be proud that our movement had a significant voice.


Rabbi Aaron Schonbrun
Congregation Beth David


On July 13, Rabbi Steven Wernick, United Synagogue’s new executive vice president and CEO, was one of 16 American Jewish leaders invited to the White House for a policy discussion with President Obama. Rabbi Wernick became United Synagogue’s new executive vice president and CEO on July 1.


Photo at right: Rabbi Steven Wernick, sitting at the end of table facing the camera, met with 15 other Jewish leaders and President Obama on July 13.

Rabbi Steven C. Wernick, who has just become executive vice president and CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, was among the 16 national Jewish leaders invited to the White House on July 13 for a candid conversation with President Barack Obama about the issues most important to the President and the American Jewish community.

Subjects included the economy, the environment, healthcare, and poverty, but the focus was on foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. President Obama stressed that his commitment to Israel is deep and true; his posture with Israel is no tougher than with the Palestinians and both will benefit equally from peace in the region. “President Obama asked us to understand that although we might eventually have some disagreements about tactics and strategy – and of course tactics and strategy are very important – he wanted to reassure us that his administration has not and is not and will not jeopardize Israel’s security,” Rabbi Wernick said. “Whatever approaches they take to these issues are done with the very best of good faith for what they believe is in the best interest of Israel, of the region, and of the United States.

“I was honored to have been included in the meeting,” Rabbi Wernick said. “I think the fact that the president of the United States invites these conversations, and really listens to us, is extraordinary, and a testament to our democracy. I believe that President Obama enjoys broad support in the Jewish community, both politically and personally. And I am heartened to know that President Obama sees the Conservative movement as one of the anchors of the Jewish community.”

At the meeting, Rabbi Wernick gave one of President Obama’s aides a text describing United Synagogue’s positions on foreign and domestic issues. As the text shows, the White House and United Synagogue are in close agreement on a number of issues.

Rabbi Wernick was quoted in an article in the L. A. Times,0,1886892.story; one sent by Reuters, one sent by AP, and one by the Washington Post/Newsweek


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