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New York - In Op-ed About Why He Is Not Running For President, Starbucks CEO Cites Interaction He Had In Israel With Revered Rabbi

Published on: August 6, 2015 02:49 PM
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FILE - Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at Starbucks biennial investor meeting in Seattle, Washington December 4, 2014.  ReutersFILE - Starbucks Chairman, President and CEO Howard Schultz speaks at Starbucks biennial investor meeting in Seattle, Washington December 4, 2014.  Reuters

New York - In a thought-provoking op-ed published in today’s New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1DxdYjM), Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz dispels rumors of a presidential candidacy and bemoans the current state of politics in America, noting that the country’s presidential contenders lack leadership and are “unable to rise above petty politics.”

Schultz goes on to say that presidential aspirants and other political leaders should seek to become so-called “servant leaders,” described as “men and women willing to kneel and embrace those who are not like them.”


“Everyone seeking the presidency professes great love for our nation,” Schultz writes. “But I ask myself, how can you be a genuine public servant if you belittle your fellow citizens and freeze out people who hold differing views? The values of servant leadership — putting others first and leading from the heart — need to emerge from every corner of American life, including the business community. . . . Too many of our political leaders are putting party before country, power before principle and cynicism before civility. Our country deserves a president humble enough to see leadership not as an entitlement but as a privilege.”

Schultz declares he will not be a 2016 presidential contender because he is “not done serving at Starbucks.” He proudly notes Starbucks’ policies of offering health care to part-time workers, stock options, and free college education. Still, he says, Starbucks can and will do more to “demonstrate responsible leadership.”

Interestingly, Schultz says he has drawn inspiration for his own leadership style from religious leaders including Pope Francis, who famously washed the feet of prisoners in Rome shortly after his ascension to Pope. He also fondly recalls an interaction he had with Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel; an experience that has stayed with him even a decade later.

“The speculation about my candidacy reminds me of a lesson from a great Jewish leader,” recalls Schultz. “A decade ago, I visited the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Nosson Tzvi Finkel, a widely respected rabbi in Israel. As we approached one of the holiest sites in Judaism, the rabbi halted about 10 yards away as a crowd of admirers gathered nearby. I beckoned him further. “I’ve never been closer than this,” the rabbi told me. Astounded, I asked why. “You go,” he said. “I’m not worthy.”

More of today's headlines

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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »


 Aug 06, 2015 at 03:43 PM lazerx Says:

“You go,” he said. “I’m not worthy.”
truly amazing!


 Aug 06, 2015 at 04:07 PM yankee96 Says:

now that's a real tzaddik


 Aug 06, 2015 at 06:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Here's another thing the rosh yeshiva Zt"l told Mr. Schultz;

He asked him, what was the secret behind those that survived the holocaust? What helped the survive? Natrually Schultz answered, faith but the rosh yeshiva said he doesn't think that was the underlying reason. So what was the secret. Those that shared their blanket with others were the ones that survived. And the rosh yeshiva ended the converstaion by telling him when you go back to the USA make sure you share your blanket with others! Very powerful


 Aug 06, 2015 at 07:39 PM moshe Says:

the story with the kosel sounds odd....
I don't think Reb Nosson Tzvi Finkel ZT"L would go to the kosel with Mr. Schultz...Maybe it was a different Rabbi


 Aug 06, 2015 at 10:58 PM AuthenticSatmar Says:

R' Nosson Tzvi held like many Rabbonim that did not come all the way to the wall, as the wall has sunk on an angle, and believe the current wall line is withing the line of har habbayis.


 Aug 07, 2015 at 04:09 AM PaulinSaudi Says:

This fellow writes very well.


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