An Evening at The White House
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So when President Obama welcomed us to the White House, I sensed not only the aura of being regaled but the awesome responsibility that comes along with it. Perhaps my appreciation of history caused my emotions to overtake my. Either way, I was standing in line to greet the President of the United States--a man whose decisions effect mankind can cause one to feel in awe.
What I did not expect was what the Military Social Aide asked my wife and I, as we were approaching the receiving line: “are you shomer negiah?” explaining that if so our photo takings would be handshaking with the President and First Lady respectively. To be honest, I did not expect this level of courtesy. This level of detail reflected something very unusual but very positive: that we as Orthodox Jews have not only the right to be fully observant but indeed are obligated to do so.
The President and First Lady could not have been more gracious or welcoming. In the few seconds that we all got to share private time with the President, we had the opportunity to tell him whatever was on our mind. I thought long and hard about what to say, realizing that it is extremely difficult and perhaps inappropriate to address a particular issue or advocate for something in particular. Having discussed this with my father, the Liska Rov Shlita, I decided to convey a brocha for “divine inspiration as he leads our Nation and is confronted with decisions that impact humanity.” The President was introspective, listened to me and then thanked me and asked me “where I’m from” and wished me a Happy Holiday.