Director of Chabad of Louisiana invited by President Bush to White House

Tuesday, December 6, 2005 President Bush hosted a group of Jewish educators at the White House to discuss post Katrina issues related to education. Rabbi Zelig Rivkin, Director of Chabad of Louisiana of which Torah Academy of New Orleans is an affiliate, was invited to give the invocation at the meeting. He was joined by Paige Nathan of the New Orleans Hillel and 10 other Jewish educators from around the country, especially in communities that absorbed children that were displaced as a result of Katrina.  

In his message Rabbi Rivkin offered a prayer that the president be graced by G‑d with the wisdom to perform his duties as leader of the free world. He then thanked the president for all of his efforts in assisting the New Orleans community in its recovery from the destruction wrought by the storm. He also connected the current situation in New Orleans to Chanukah in that the darkness brought on by the hurricane must be illuminated by acts of goodness and kindness, especially highlighted by religious education which combines the nurturing of both body and spirit. 

Later that evening the president and first lady hosted the White House Chanukah party. For the first time the White House kitchen was made Kosher for the occasion, under the supervision of Chabad in DC. Once again Rabbi Rivkin was in attendance, this time joined by Rabbis Avrahamand Levi Shemtov of American Friends of Lubavitch, Rabbi Yossie Nemes - Chabad of Metairie, LA, Rabbi Yossie Posner – Chabd of Alabama, Rabbi Avraham Korf – Chabad of Florida, Rabbis Sholom Deitsch and Yossel Kranz – Chabad of Virginia. When greeting them the president offered the Louisiana contingent very encouraging sentiments about the future of that area, urging them to “hang in there.” Throughout the evening the Chabad Rabbis met with various members of the administration and the party guests. 

The Chabad Rabbis with Michael Chertoff - Secretary of Homeland Security

Rabbi Rivkin and Rabbi Nemes with Chertoff

With J. Bolton - Office of Budget and Financing