By COLlive reporter
Rabbi Avrohom Shemtov, Chairman of Agudas Chassidei Chabad, and his son, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Lubavitch – Chabad and Shliach in Washington, DC, have been included in a list of “Jewish White House Advisers You May Not Know About” in Moment Magazine.
The father and son, Shluchim in Washington, DC for many decades, are “living proof that establishment Jewish organizations and wealthy donors are not the only ones who held sway in the White House,” the article states.
The article, which names the Top 11 Jewish advisers and officials who served a total of 29 presidents of the United States, notes that while Joe Biden‘s presidency may become the most Jewish-friendly administration in U.S. history, it wasn’t always that way.
“Earlier Jewish emissaries to the White House were successful financiers and businessmen who presumed to speak for Jewish America. Ultimately the position transcended the ability of one individual to speak for all Jews. And ultimately, presidents turned to Jews not so much to hear what Jewish America was thinking, but because of their qualifications as individuals,” they wrote.
Among the 11 prominent Jewish individuals listed, including Henry Kissinger, Arthur Goldberg and Jared Kushner, the article lists Rabbi Avraham Shemtov, noting that he initiated the “now standard” annual Menorah lighting at the White House. It also states that his son Rabbi Levi Shemtov continues the connection.
The following is the full listing:
Rabbi Abraham Shemtov:
The now-standard White House menorah lighting was the brainchild of Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the Chabad-Lubavitch leader in Washington. After the interior secretary denied the initial permit in 1979, Shemtov called President Jimmy Carter’s domestic policy adviser Stuart Eizenstat. The permit was issued and a tradition was born. Shemtov, a Russian-born disciple of Lubavitch leader Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, maintained close relations with presidents of both parties, starting with Ronald Reagan.
His son, Rabbi Levi Shemtov, carries on the unlikely connection as executive vice president of Chabad-Lubavitch in Washington. He oversaw the Koshering of the White House kitchen in 2005. The Shemtovs are living proof that establishment Jewish organizations and wealthy donors are not the only ones who held sway in the White House.