WASHINGTON (JTA) — Valerie Jarrett, President Obama’s top domestic policy adviser, told a Jewish audience that her great-grandfather was Jewish.
"The Passover seder has a unique lore in my own family," Jarrett said Monday while addressing the annual plenum of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Jewish public policy umbrella, in Washington.
"Many, many years ago, my parents hosted a seder for a group of our Jewish friends, and it was here that my father first told me that my great-grandfather was Jewish. What a wonderful surprise for our friends, and for me!"
Jarrett, who is black, was born to James Bowman, a renowned pathologist, and Barbara Taylor Bowman, an early childhood expert. She is one of Obama’s closest advisers and oldest friends.
Her speech at the JCPA event focused on domestic issues. Jarrett called on delegates to push back efforts by the Republican-led House of Representatives to slash funds for education and infrastructure.
She also pledged the White House’s "steadfast" support for Israel during the current Middle East upheaval.