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January 10, 2013

Jack Lew Nominated For Treasury Secretary

Jack LewJacob Joseph [“Jack”] Lew was born in 1955, in Queens [into an Orthodox Jewish family]. His first public roles were in the Democratic Party. At age 20, he was already senior adviser to House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Lew expressed an economic viewpoint that encouraged assistance to the poor and low earners, and promoted many issues - including lowering tuition fees for students, national security reforms and public housing projects.

Jack Lew
Jack Lew

About an hour ago, President Obama nominated and Orthodox Jew, Jack Lew, to serve as Secretary of the Treasury. Here's a brief summary of Lew's career from Ha'aretz:

…Jacob Joseph [“Jack”] Lew was born in 1955, in Queens [into an Orthodox Jewish family]. His first public roles were in the Democratic Party. At age 20, he was already senior adviser to House Speaker Tip O'Neill. Lew expressed an economic viewpoint that encouraged assistance to the poor and low earners, and promoted many issues - including lowering tuition fees for students, national security reforms and public housing projects.

In 1978 he received a Harvard scholarship, and, in 1983, went on to complete his graduate studies in law at Georgetown. Lew established his own law firm and was appointed to several executive posts, including a senior role in the Boston Municipality budget department.

His meteoric rise began when Bill Clinton was elected to office in 1992. In 1993 he served as a special assistant to the president, dealing with the health care reform legislation Clinton planned to implement. A year later, he was named deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), being appointed director in 1998. He filled the post until the end of Clinton's second term.

After leaving the White House, Lew served in a number of academic posts, including executive vice president for operations at New York University.

The only controversial element to his career began in 2006, when he was appointed  chief operating officer of Citigroup's Alternative Investments Unit, a proprietary trading group. The unit he oversaw invested in a hedge fund that bet on the housing market to collapse - a move that caused much criticism when he returned to the White House in 2009.

Lew earned $1.1 million for the year he spent on Wall Street, despite the fact that his unit lost billions of dollars as a result of his failed investments. In the first quarter of 2008, the unit lost $500 million. The same year the administration bailed out Citi to the tune of $45 billion.

Lew's short and bitter experience on Wall Street drove him back to the government's arms. His close relationship with the Clintons continued when he was appointed  deputy secretary of state for management and resources under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In July 2010 he began his second term as OMB director at the White House, following Peter R. Orszag's retirement. He hoped to reenact the higher tax rates on the rich that were employed during the Clinton presidency. Still, he offered to reduce the rates from 40% to 25%.

In January 2012, Obama appointed Lew to chief of staff - one of the most influential and powerful roles within the administration. The appointment was slammed after it was revealed that Lew had received a $900,000 bonus from Citi after it was bailed out by the government, recording losses of $27.7 billion.

Lew became one of Obama's closest advisers…

Lew is, of course, still Orthodox and is reportedly known for eating his lunch – most often a cheese sandwich brought from home – at his desk in the White House.

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Is he haredi or does he have any chabad connections?

does that matter, Ari?

does that matter, Ari?

Posted by: Rebecca | January 10, 2013 at 01:59 PM

To this blog? Pivotal!!

This is a classic diversion so we won't keep noticing the Chuck Hagel nomination.

Lew is modern orthodox.

While I am happy that a Jew and a orthodox one at that has reached the highest levels of civil service in America.

On the other hand his personal belief systems pertaining to the role of government in Americans lives is frightening.

Reportedly that although he is very knowledgable his skills at negotiating and dealing making with opponents is extremely poor. Which is precisely what we don't need now. In this respect Obama has picked someone like himself.

Apparently he has an interesting signature that will soon appear on US notes. It's been described as loopy

He's a Democrat and he went to Harvard. He isn't really frum. [/sarcasm - although sadly, many in that world would say just that and mean it]

I love it how the wingnuts and neocons are shitting themselves over the Hagel appointment.

"Obama is so bitter and divisive. How dare he appoint a former Republican Senator."

thank G- , he does not have a beard and does not look ortho, not even jewish .
he wouldn't be where he is now , if he would look ortho .

lew gave up his orthodoxy and changed his name . good path to success .

Someone explain how a twenty year old knownothing drippynose college kid becomes the senior advisor to a House Speaker.
Someone explain how he takes a $1m of government cash as a bonus after losing billions of dollars for his investors.

> Posted by: Jake | January 10, 2013 at 03:10 PM

Actually, I've heard that Boehner opposes Lew precisely because he's too good a negotiator.

he needs a better sheytl-makher

I'm intrigued that some of you are nitpicking this nomination for everything you got. For starters, guys, of course Jack Lew's not frum! He's modern Orthodox, highly educated and performing a supreme juggling act, trying to live in both worlds.

I am a Jew. I am not Orthodox although I was raised Chassidic. I am brimming with pride at this nomination. Other minority groups swell with kvell when one of theirs has a meteoric rise. Why can't I?

I'm not an Orthodox sympathizer. But you don't have to be contrary just for the sake of being contrary. One of ours made it big. Very big. This is the highest government spot for an Orthodox Jew. Be proud. It's okay. Nobody's going to snatch your OTD membership card from you.

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