Well, just so you know, we take our staff very seriously here at Elisberg Industries (within reason), so when we add someone to our company, we want to offer you, our fine readers, only the best. Because you deserve the best. No schlubs around here, if we can help it.
That's why I want to bring to your attention this story here from the JNS.org news service -- "No stranger to meeting presidents, longtime pulpit rabbi takes helm for Jewish Democrats."
That "pulpit rabbi" is Rabbi Jack Moline. Sr. VP, of Telecommunications at Elisberg Industries.
Here's how the article opens:
Rabbi Jack Moline was sitting with his friend, Rahm Emanuel, then a White House adviser, as the two ate lunch during their regular Jewish study session when the door swung open and President Bill Clinton walked into Emanuel’s White House office.
Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, introduced the rabbi—who stood up, shook Clinton’s hand, and told the president that he was happy to meet him, forgetting he “had a mouthful of sandwich.”
“I mumbled and sort of spit all over him,” Moline tells JNS.org.
It was the first face-to-face interaction the rabbi had with a president of the United States, but not the last—although presumably the last with food in his mouth. As a religious leader, Moline has been to numerous official White House meetings, mostly as director of public policy for the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, a position he held from 2009 until May, and has met both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. On Monday, the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) announced that Moline would take over in January as executive director.
To clarify, when it says "Conservative movement," it's referring to Conservative Judaism, as opposed to Reform or Orthodox. Not political As the article subsequently notes -- "Moline has long been a political activist, canvassing for candidates, working voter drives, and supporting progressive issues, including an immigration overhaul. Although his support of specific candidates took place behind the scenes for most of his career, Moline came out in full force for Obama when he became a national rabbinic co-chair for the Obama campaign in 2008."
That points out one of the many things I've always admired about Jack, that his personal beliefs were...well, personal, despite being so outgoing in his actions. It wasn't a case of directing people from the pulpit, where he leads Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, Virginia, telling them what their politics should be and what they should do. "'Personally you always see what Jack’s druthers are politically,' says Joel Goldhammer, the congregation’s president. In his official capacity, though, Moline 'never came in and said you have to vote for Obama,' according to Goldhammer. "'He was always much more about the issue.'”
It's worth mentioning, too, that the article says Jack Moline "has been listed as one of Newsweek’s “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America." Like I said, we are a Schlub Free Zone here. Though equally important as this, the article makes clear that he "remains a long-suffering Cubs fan." (Hey, we have our priorities...)
Jack and I not only went to high school together, but Northwestern University, as well. In fact, a couple months ago, I posted a piece here about an article my friend Mike Katz had written about NU, and chided him about a comment he made in it of not being eligible for housing on campus, when in fact I -- in a near-identical situation -- had housing. I wrote, "I think the housing office screwed up in my case, getting me into a dorm from the very first day, since a couple weeks before when I checked, they had told me I was something like #35 on the waiting list." What I left out is that the reason I knew to get on the waiting list is because that "couple weeks before" I had run into Jack, and he told me it's what he'd done. (The further joke is that when I crossed paths with Jack the first week classes started as freshman, he was amazed to find out that I already had housing. Because he was still on the waiting list! Apparently that was his first religious lesson -- that All Good Things Comes to Those Who Wait...)
By my favorite passage in the article was two simple sentences that likely mean nothing to most people. "Moline and his wife, Ann, set out for California, where he attended the University of Judaism. To earn some money while he was out there, he worked as a tour guide at Universal Studios." In fact, that's how I got started at Universal.
At the time, I was working for the California State Park Service, at Will Rogers State Historic Park. It was a seasonal job, though, and I would be temporarily laid-off soon, timed as it happened for the summer. Jack called and told me about summer job openings at the Universal Tour, where he was. I applied, and we worked there together. (He was particularly impressive when the trams drove through the "Parting of the Red Seas" exhibit,) After the summer, he went back to school, and I soon applied to work elsewhere at the studio, getting hired as an assistant in the PR Department. Eventually, I got promoted to Publicist, personally met E.T., and then got hired to be assistant to the president of the studio, Bob Rehme. After he (Rehme) moved on to head up another company and I left the studio, I ran into Bob one day. He asked what I was doing, I gave him my screenplay, Harry Warren of the Mounties -- and it got great coverage at his company, they bought it. It was my first movie sale, and I got into the Writers Guild.
All going back to Jack Moline suggesting it would be fun to be Universal tour guides together.
Hey, a guy with that kind of foresight has a lot going for him. The National Jewish Democratic Council made a wise choice when they made him their Executive Director. Hey, I like to think that him already being the Sr. VP, Telecommunications here at Elisberg Industries helped in their decision...
It's really worth reading the article about Jack here. He's a great guy, and they lucked out.