Photo-blogging the inauguration


Ron Klein, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Robert Wexler have being Jewish in common, but that’s not why they co-hosted an inauguration reception Monday at the Library of Congress – each career traced the same trajectory, from Florida’s state senate to the U.S. House of Representatives, and they remain close.

Still, one couldn’t escape the impression that the crowds jammed into the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building were pretty much evenly divided between African Americans and Jews – President-elect Barack Obama’s most resilient consitituencies in the southern part of the sunshine state. (Quipped one wag: Cubans don’t vote Democrat.)

Here’s Wexler chatting with Ed Goldwasser of Del Ray, a past national commander of the Jewish War Veterans:

Wexler Goldwasser

Wasserman Schultz arrived late (apparently a habit for one of the busiest lawmakers on the hill) but when she did, she was by far the most popular, constantly thronged by constituents. Much was made of her ‘do:  Wasserman Schultz is famed for her curls – and flaunted them Sunday at a National Jewish Democratic Council event – but apparently she opted for straight for Inauguration Day. Some in the room didn’t recognize her when she walked in.

Here she is with Fort Lauderdale constituents (left to right) Sandy Atkins, Alma Beasley and Jennifer Lee

My colleague Eric Fingerhut wrote up the centerpiece of the Jewish inauguration, a community-wide event at the Capitol Hilton co-hosted by the NJDC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, NCSJ, United Jewish Communities (and forgive me please, please, for whatever initials are missing). I took the pictures.

Perhaps the most depressing moment of the evening came when Marc Stanley announced a surprise appearance by double Oscar nominee Debra Winger (memorable to Jewish males of a certain age for having worked on a kibbutz and served in an Israeli army Diaspora youth program before she hit the big time.) Above the murmur of gravelly "oohs" and "aaahs" emanating from those of us transported back to the ambient clothes changing scene in "An Officer and a Gentlemen" and the final, devastating walk out of the court house in "Black Widow," there pipped more than one youthful squeak along the lines of "Debra Winger? Who’s she?"

I’d like to reach here for a tortured analogy involving our heritage and invoking Dinah, Yael and Esther, but I’ll settle for a photo.


Oh what the hell, even two. "Searching for Debra Winger," indeed – she was always here.

Winger’s amateur paparazzi rush was gratifying, at least, but nothing compared to the attention earned by David Axelrod, who is to be a senior adviser to Obama. It is Washington, after all – like L.A., someone once said, but not as pretty. (Sorry David.)

Axelrod has been shy until recently about talking about his Jewishness, but he spoke movingly about feeling a rush of gratification when he saw Jews voting for Obama in unprecedented numbers – and recalling his father’s flight from Bessarabia after his home was torched. "They weren’t looking for a place of safety, but a place of promise and opportunity," he said. His regret, he said, was that his parents were not alive to see "their son working 20 feet from the Oval Office."

Finally, I wrote last yeat how the surrogates for then-rivals Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton – Eric Lynn and Josh Kram, respectively – started their professional Jewish careers together as AIPAC interns. They’ve grown up a little (not enough for Kram to know to name a Debra Winger movie, mind you. Josh! Esther! Dinah! Yael!) and here’s a reunion shot. Josh is on the left.

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