(JNS.org) The White House on Thursday approved a new liaison to the American Jewish community, Chanan Weissman, who will be the first Orthodox Jew to fill the position for a Democratic presidential administration.
Two other Orthodox Jews have held the same position in Republican administrations. One of them, Tevi Troy, who served in the role under president George W. Bush, told Jewish Insider that he sees an “advantage but also a challenge” to being Orthodox in the White House post.
“The advantage is that you have instant credibility within the community as knowledgeable and credible representing the community. The challenge is that the bulk of American Jews are not Orthodox and you have to show you can reach out to all,” Troy said.
Weissman will serve through the end of President Barack Obama’s presidency as the administration’s associate director of public engagement. He is the former spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. Weismman replaces Matt Nosanchuk, who held the Jewish liaison position for almost three years and is now working as a senior advisor in the State Department’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs.