Saturday, September 16, 2000

Rabbi presents gift to president

Balk was invited to prayer breakfast

By Howard Wilkinson
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Rabbi Hanan Balk of Golf Manor Synagogue was one of a handful of Orthodox Jewish rabbis to be invited to the White House Thursday for President Clinton's eighth and final annual prayer breakfast.

        After the breakfast, Rabbi Balk met the president and presented him with a shofar, the traditional ram's horn instrument used to usher in Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

        Rabbi Balk said he told the president that the shofar represents “reconciliation and redemption, two elements he had always adhered to while pursuing peace in the Middle East.”

        The president, Rabbi Balk said, promised to continue working on Middle East peace for the remainder of his term.

        “He said he had never owned a shofar, but said he had a friend in Tennessee who played one in a band,” Rabbi Balk said. “I told him he'd have to take lessons.”

        Rabbi Balk was one of about 120 leaders from a multitude of religious faiths to attend this year's White House prayer breakfast and one of four Orthodox rabbis at the event.

        The rabbi said he thinks he received the invitation because his 260-family congregation — the largest Orthodox synagogue in Cincinnati — sent a large delegation to Washington, D.C. earlier this year for a round of meetings with House and Senate members on Capitol Hill.

        The president, Rabbi Balk said, spoke for about half an hour on the nation's obligation to aid Third World nations and forgive their debts.

        After the breakfast — which included a kosher choice for the Jewish representatives — the president stayed around for about two hours, shaking hands and talking with the religious leaders individually.

        “It was like he had all the time in the world,” Rabbi Balk said. “He was schmoozing. He's an amazing politician; he connected with everyone there.”


Ky. court: Justin stays with adoptive parents
Teachers approve merit-pay system
Flu shots might be delayed
Jewel bag took long way home
Oktoberfest crowds descend on downtown
Rules set for health screenings
City asked to reduce building permits
Execution sought in pilot's killing
HOWARD: Neighborhoods
Deluxe ball diamond funded
New chief promoted from ranks
Concert review
Couple shares dream barn
Flower show celebrates autumn, plants holiday seeds
Home and garden notes
Living trees make wonderful gifts and memorials
Noted designers to speak at furnishings symposium
Stained-glass garden
To do this week
Brothers give wives kidneys
Career center ex-employee guilty of 'revolving door' work
City lawyers cancel meeting
Court suspends convicted ex-senator's law license
Deputy in scuffle at shopping center, suspect arrested
Father to ask Albright to help regain daughter
Gun seller challenges 2 cities' limits
Jury to decide accused father's fate
Man accused of bootlegging Scarface CD
Man must pay former employer
Mining companies to fight together
Promoting public service, legislators head back to class
- Rabbi presents gift to president
Roger Bacon students walk, raise money
Round two of payments
Superintendent search narrowed to 3
Westwood criticized over 'equity' legislation
Witness loses nerve, sprints from courtroom
Woman sentenced for using cattle prod on child
Get to it
Kentucky News Briefs
Pig Parade: Hogtoberfest
Tristate A.M. Report