Tag Archives: Vice President

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.

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: Ruth Porat

“The Most Powerful Woman on Wall Street”

Ruth Porat

Ruth Porat

Ruth Porat (b. 1957) was born in England to Jewish immigrants from Israel. Her father was a Holocaust survivor who escaped to a kibbutz and fought in Israel’s War of Independence. He later became a physicist and moved the family first to Massachusetts and then to California, while doing research at Harvard, MIT and the National Accelerator Lab in Palo Alto. Ruth Porat studied at Stanford, and has Master’s degrees from both The London School of Economics and The Wharton School. Throughout most of her career, Porat worked for Morgan Stanley, rising all the way up to the rank of CFO and Executive Vice President. Before that, she served as the Vice Chair of their Investment Banking division, and the head of their international Financial Institutions Group. During the 2008 Financial Crisis, Porat was a chief adviser to the US Treasury, and was praised for helping to save AIG from total collapse, an event that would have completely tanked the economy. Not long ago, she was nicknamed the “Most Powerful Woman on Wall Street”. At the same time, Porat has been married for over 30 years, and is a mother of three, maintaining a steady “work-family mix”, as she calls it, and encouraging her co-workers to do the same. As one of only a few women with such high positions in the financial world, she has become an important role model. She is also a breast cancer survivor. In the past, working as a co-head of Morgan Stanley’s tech investment division, she directed funds to companies like eBay, and Amazon in their early days, helping to turn them into the giant companies they are today. Due to her vast knowledge of both the financial sector and the digital world, she was recently hired by Google, and as of last week, is their new CFO.

Words of the Week

Transgressions of man towards God – Yom Kippur atones for them. Transgressions of man towards man, Yom Kippur does not atone for them, until one seeks forgiveness from one’s fellow.
– Talmud, Yoma 85b