Hillel President Wayne L. Friestone was among 29 leaders of Jewish organizations who met with representatives of President-Elect Barack Obama's transition team on December 18. The group discussed domestic and international issues for more than two hours.
The agenda included the economy and legislation to assist vulnerable populations, church-state issues, judicial appointments, energy independence, Iran, the Middle East peace process, international anti-Semitism and U.S. participation in the Durban II conference, according to JTA.
Firestone told the meeting that the downturn in the economy has hit colleges particularly hard with reduced resources and cash-strapped students. Nevertheless, with their record of service in the Gulf in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, students are eager to contribute to the nation's well-being.
Transition team member Eric Lynn announced that the Obama administration will sponsor a national day of service on January 19.
"President-elect Obama's transition team shrewdly invited just about every national Jewish organization to participate in a wide-ranging roundtable discussion that touched on just about every issue of concern to the Jewish community," said William Daroff, the director of the Washington office of United Jewish Communities. "Left-leaning groups, right-leaning groups and all of us in between were included in the meeting in a truly unprecedented effort to ensure representation by the vast spectrum of American Jewish opinion."