Washington - Obama Said Close To Choosing Orthodox Jew Jack Lew For Treasury Secretary

Published on: January 8th, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Washington - Sources close to the president have revealed that Mr. Obama is expected to select White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew as a successor to current Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, according to Bloomberg News (http://bloom.bg/WtOdEF).

Lew previously served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, a position he also held in the Clinton administration. Lew’s potential nomination comes amid other personnel shake-ups as the president restructures his administration prior to beginning his second term in office.

As previously reported on VIN, Lew is an Orthodox Jew. Asked how he balances his demanding work schedule and his religious lifestyle, Lew told the Forward (http://bit.ly/RiAgLT) that the president is particularly mindful of the time on Friday afternoons and respects him for adhering to his beliefs. “I saw the president on many occasions on Friday afternoons look at his watch, and ask: ‘Isn’t it time for you to get going?’” Mr. Lew said, “or, ‘Why are you still here?’”

Although Lew does not regularly wear a kippah, he observes the kosher dietary laws and refrains from driving on shabbos. He is also a member of an Orthodox synagogue in Potomac, Maryland. If Lew is nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, he will be the first Orthodox Jew to ever hold the post of Treasury secretary.

Whoever ultimately becomes the next Treasury secretary will have their work cut out for them, as Congress grapples with raising the government’s staggering $16.4 trillion debt ceiling. Geithner has said he intends to leave his position by the close of January even if the debt ceiling issue has not been resolved.

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