Culture, Politics

Mighty fine shindig

Late-breaking addition: Jewschool will be at the party!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock–or you don’t read Jewish blogs and news as obsessively as we do–you know that the first ever White House Jewish Heritage Month Party Thing is tomorrow (in honor of my mother’s birthday). Of great concern to nosy Jews all over this great nation is the guest list. Every article on the subject so far notes that Sandy Koufax has been invited, though  no one seems to know if he’s actually coming.
Others on the list:
Dara Torres, Olympic swimmer
Aaron Bisman, honcho of JDub Records
Aliza Gazek, president of Reform high school youth org NFTY
Josh Block, president of Conservative high school youth org USY
Shawn Landres, head of Jewish org “thinkubator” Jumpstart and friend of Jewschool
Regina Spektor is performing
Gail Reimer, executive director of the Jewish Women’s Archive
Writer Jeffrey Goldberg, who has written about having been invited and why he isn’t going to the party here
Perhaps more interestingly, others not on the list:
Any beltway types, aside from the Jewish congresspersons who invented Jewish Heritage Month.
On the Jewschool contributors email list, there was some discussion of why there will be no political types. Ostensibly, this is because Jewish Heritage Month is about cultural contributions to America from/by American Jews. Hence the musicians, athletes etc. That leaves me wondering why the youth group presidents, but there’s nothing wrong with them going. I know the prez of NFTY and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer girl, so I hope they have fun and don’t lurk in corners and actually take advantage of the amazing people they’ll be in a room with.
As often happens on the email list, the conversation went in some unexpected, if interesting directions. Here are some comments from our email conversation this morning/afternoon. Jewschoolers, claim your comments in the comments if you wish to be named.

Jewschooler 1: Obama A-list for Jewish heritage month apparently includes friend of JS Shawn Landres. Man, why didn’t I get an invite? http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/who-s-on-obama-s-guest-list-for-the-opening-event-of-jewish-heritage-month-1.292113
After some mention of NFTY and USY presidents:
Jewschooler 2: NFTY? USY? Talk about reaching past the current generation of Jewish leaders to embrace the next!
Has Jewish youth group leadership ever been given this sort of treatment before?
dlevy: Excuse me, [2], but presidents of major national Jewish organizations ARE part of the current generation of Jewish leaders.
dcc: YOU AREN’T THE LEADERS OF TOMORROW, YOU ARE THE LEADERS OF TODAY!
In other news great quote:
“Or, put another way: Adam Sandler could write a whole new Hanukkah song after this party,” quips Steve Rabinowitz, a Washington public relations executive, referring to the popular song pointing out famous Jewish Americans. [From this article.] Jewschooler 5: Not to be too snarky before my second cup of coffee, but NFTY, USY as MAJOR national organizations? whose members are too young to vote? as my daughter would say: Seriously? Really?
dlevy: I didn’t realize that voting ability was how we measured human value. I would argue that NFTY and USY have more impact on the way their members see the world than the majority of the other organizations represented at this hodown.
Me: I’d say 10,000 members, which NFTY claimed in the mid 00s, is major.
Jewschooler 5: the mickey mouse fan club had more members than that in the 60’s. I still wouldn’t call it a major organization. (i’m also sure that somebody will surf google and find out that they actually didn’t have more than 10,000 members…)
Obama’s having a very nice Jew-party whose calm demeanor he seems to be insuring by inviting people who don’t really have a constituency or an agenda. Its a perfect get together for something as anodyne as “Jewish Heritage Month”.
Lets not fall all over ourselves.
Me: Don’t fall all over yourself shitting on it either. This isn’t a bad thing.
dlevy: And I’m sorry, but leaders of these teen organizations have both constituencies and agendas.
dcc: If anyone was going to bring something up during this party, say something in the photo line to the Leader of the Free World or force an issue it is going to be a self-righteous, over empowered youth leader.
More importantly, what are they going to serve?  I am dying to know the menu of Jewy goodies.
Me: What is with the youth-bashing? Over empowered? Self righteous?
Jewschooler 2: I challenge you to name three Presidents Conference member organizations with greater engagement and reach than USY, NFTY and NCSY.

It pretty much wound down from there.
If you know anyone else who has an invitation, let us know in the comments.

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