Tag Archives: Mayor

Jew of the Week: Eric Garcetti

Mayor of Los Angeles

Eric Garcetti, mayor of LA (Credit: Emily Shur)

Eric Michael Garcetti (b. 1971) was born in Los Angeles to a Russian-Jewish mother and a Mexican-Italian father. He was always interested in civics and politics, and was a member of Junior State of America, an organization for high school students aiming to cultivate America’s future leaders. Garcetti studied political science at Columbia, then earned his Master’s there in international affairs. He was also a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and worked on his doctorate at the London School of Economics. After returning to the States, Garcetti taught at several colleges and sat on the board of California’s Human Rights Watch. In 2001, he ran for a seat on Los Angeles’ City Council, and won. Between 2006 and 2012, he was president of the council, and implemented important changes including a policy that all constituents must be answered within 24 hours. He led the way in passing new laws to clean up Los Angeles’ waterways, and to make all new buildings environmentally-friendly. During his tenure, graffiti in his district was reduced by 78%, housing got an injection of $100 million in funds, and the Hollywood neighbourhood was revitalized. In 2013, Garcetti won the race for mayor of Los Angeles, making him the city’s first elected Jewish mayor and its youngest mayor ever. He has become one of LA’s most popular figures, and won re-election in 2017 with a whopping 81% of the vote. He has been hailed for improving the city’s budgets, urban development, and immigration policies, as well as for increasing minimum wage and raising more funds for the LAPD and fire department. He has also secured LA as the host city for the 2028 Summer Olympics. Meanwhile, Garcetti is a devoted member of LA’s IKAR Jewish community. He and his wife have one adopted daughter, and have fostered seven other children. Garcetti was also a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserves until 2013, once lived in Thailand, and—together with relatives from his mother’s side of the family—oversees the Roth Family Foundation, which has given out over $6 million in grants and donations. He won the Green Cross Millennium Award for environmental leadership, and was NAACP’s “Person of the Year” in 2014. That same year, Bill Clinton said that Garcetti may be America’s president one day. There were rumours that he would run this year, but he decided to stick with his job as mayor for now. He is currently listed among potential candidates to be Joe Biden’s running mate.

An In-Depth Look at the Custom of Eating Dairy on Shavuot

Words of the Week

Woe to him whom nobody likes, but beware of him whom everybody likes.
– Hasidic proverb

Mayor Garcetti lighting Chanukah candles and putting on tefillin. (Credit: COLlive)

Jew of the Week: Michael Bloomberg

The World’s Mayor

The 10th richest person in the U.S., Michael Rubens Bloomberg was born in Massachusetts, the grandson of immigrants from Europe and Russia. In the 1970s he worked for a Wall Street firm where he learned that information is the key to success, and people are willing to pay for it. So, when the company he worked for was bought out, he used his severance money to start a company called Market Systems, which built terminals that gave their users on-the-fly and up-to-date financial information, presented in various graphs and charts to make it simple to understand. The company started selling its terminals in 1982 and they were an instant hit. By 1990, over 8000 ‘Bloomberg’ terminals were in use around the world. Today, that number has risen to 310,000, and Bloomberg LP also includes a news channel, radio stations, magazines (such as BusinessWeek) and software. Michael Bloomberg himself left the helm of the company to become popular mayor of New York City. His mayoral salary is a symbolic $1. A mayor of the people, Bloomberg often rides the NYC subways to work. More impressively, The Chronicle of Philanthropy lists him as the leading individual donor in the U.S. for two years in a row. Bloomberg has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to hospitals, schools, environmental causes, and scientific research, as well as the arts. Many of his contributions are anonymous. He recently pledged another $500 million together with Bill Gates. Some have stated Bloomberg is the greatest contributor to higher education institutions in history, donating over $800 million to Johns Hopkins alone. All of these factors may be why Bloomberg has been elected to a third term as mayor, despite the two-term limit. And some say he will be president in the near future. If so, it would make him the first Jewish Commander-in-Chief.

 

Words of the Week

My brain is only a receiver. In the Universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know it exists.
– Nikola Tesla

Jew of the Week: Marcus Samuel

Oil & Seashells

Marcus Samuel, Oil Baron

Marcus Samuel (1853-1927) was born in London to a wealthy Iraqi-Jewish family originally from the Netherlands. On a trip to the Black Sea in 1890, he saw the potential in oil (still a novel resource at the time). Samuel ordered the construction of 8 tankers that met the highest safety standards, receiving permission to transport oil to Asia across the newly-built Suez Canal. Thus was born Shell Oil, taking the name of the Samuel family business, which began meagerly just a few decades earlier by selling painted seashells. Using one of his tankers, Samuel once saved the stranded ship HMS Victorious, a feat for which he was knighted. Previously, Sir Samuel had served as the Sheriff of London, and even its Mayor! For his role in fueling the Allies in World War I, he was made 1st Baron of Bearsted, and later 1st Viscount of Bearsted. Lord Samuel was known for his incredible devotion to his wife and four children. So much so, in fact, that he died less than 24 hours after the passing of his beloved wife. At death, he left his large estate to be transformed into a public park, an orphanage and a nursing home. Today, his company is known as Royal Dutch Shell, after having merged in 1907 with the Royal Dutch oil company in order to compete with Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. Shell is currently the 5th largest company in the world, with a yearly revenue of over $360 billion.

Today is Tu B’Shvat!

Words of the Week

If you live as though there will always be a tomorrow, then you’ll never make much of today.
– Rabbi Noah Weinberg