Jewish Executive Officials

Jewish Executive Officials

We’re still waiting for the first Jewish president, but with newly inaugurated President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees currently being approved by Congress, let’s take a look at the history of high-ranking Jewish officials in the executive branch.

1. Oscar Straus, the first Jewish member of cabinet, served from 1906-09 as President Theodore Roosevelt’s Secretary of _____?
(a) Navy (b) Treasury (c) War (d) Labor

2. Recently departed Attorney General Michael Mukasey was the second Jewish American to hold the position. The first, Edward H. Levi, served under what president?
(a) Dwight D. Eisenhower (b) Lyndon B. Johnson (c) Gerald Ford (d) George H.W. Bush

3. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin recently resigned from an advisory role in the leadership of what troubled firm?
(a) Citigroup (b) Lehman Brothers (c) Bank of America (d) RBS

4. Who declined John F. Kennedy’s offer to serve as attorney general, fearing that his Jewish identity would complicate the effort to enforce civil rights, and instead became Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare?
(a) Jacob Javits (b) Pierre Salinger (c) Abraham Ribicoff (d) Arthur Goldberg

5. Madeleine Albright was raised as a Catholic by Jewish parents in order to avoid persecution in their native country of ...?
(a) Czechoslovakia (b) Hungary (c) Romania (d) Latvia

6. Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary during the early years of the George W. Bush administration, is credited with inventing what phrase?
(a) “Axis of Evil” (b) “Homicide bombing” (c) “Freedom agenda” (d) “Mission accomplished”

7. As president of Harvard University, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers famously speculated about differences in men and women’s “intrinsic aptitude” for what subject?
(a) Economics (b) Mathematics (c) Sociology (d) Sciences

8. Before he became Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff was the co-author of what notable legislation?
(a) Iraq War Resolution (b) USA PATRIOT Act (c) No Child Left Behind Act (d) Iran Freedom and Support Act

9. President Obama has named Peter Orszag to direct the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States. What is it?
(a) Office of White House Counsel (b) National Security Council (c) Office of Management and Budget (d) Office of Communications

10. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was not initially warm to Israel’s request for arms during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. But his diplomatic efforts to distance what country from the Soviet Union after the war are seen as an important success?
(a) Iran (b) Egypt (c) Syria (d) Jordan

Bonus: Kissinger was given what first name when he was born, which was changed to Henry while he was a teenager in New York?
(a) Hans (b) Jens (c) Heinz (d) Heinrich


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