Daily Kickoff

Daily Kickoff: Ivanka Trump discusses her Judaism | Competing polls for Bibi speech | Foster Freiss BCC’d everyone on FP email to Rand | DWS for Sen?

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FIRST LOOK: “The Real Deal: Full-speed at work and hands-on at home, Ivanka Trump knows what it means to be a modern millennial—the exact demographic she wants to dress.” by Jonathan Van Meter in the March issue of Vogue: “I would say Ivanka is definitely the CEO of our household,” says her husband, Jared Kushner, “whereas I’m more on the board of directors.”… Ivanka and Jared met when they were both 25, in 2007, for a business lunch set up by a commercial real estate broker and another friend who thought they could do deals together. “They very innocently set us up thinking that our only interest in one another would be transactional,” says Ivanka. “Whenever we them we’re like, The best deal we ever made!” They dated for two years prior to getting married in 2009 at a lavish, star-studded wedding for 500 in New Jersey. To many people’s surprise, Ivanka converted to Judaism, as the Kushners are Orthodox.”

“In some ways they are the twenty-first-century analog to the It Power Couple that her parents were during the go-go eighties. When I bring this up to Ivanka, she sighs. “I saw the glamour and the excitement that surrounded my parents. Rooms would hush when they’d walk in. But I think for Jared and me, it’s more about real relationships. I always prefer smaller groups.” Two of the people who are often in those smaller groups are Chelsea Clinton and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky. “She’s always aware of everyone around her and ensuring that everyone is enjoying the moment,” says Chelsea. “In some ways reminds me of my dad, and his ability to increase the joy of the room.”

“Eventually, we head to the Trump SoHo, where Ivanka and Jared are being interviewed… Afterward, the three of us head down to the lobby for a drink. Because we are with Ivanka, who designed this hotel, the waiter just starts bringing food to the table: edamame, followed by tuna sashimi, and finally some Kobe-beef dumplings. “I don’t eat raw fish; I should have told them,” Ivanka says to Jared. “I’m going to have to hoard the edamame.” And then to me. “And we don’t eat meat… Or, well, we keep kosher.” I had been reluctant to bring up the subject of Ivanka’s conversion to Judaism, but now I don’t have to. “I always shied away from it being a public conversation because it’s such a personal thing, she says. “We’re pretty observant, more than some, less than others. I just feel like it’s such an intimate thing for us.” And then she says, “It’s been such a great life decision for me. I am very modern, but I’m also a very traditional person, and think that’s an interesting juxtaposition in how I was raised as well. I really find that it Judaism, it creates an amazing blueprint for family connectivity.”

“Also the ritual for us having Sabbath,” says Jared. “Yeah, we observe the Sabbath, says Ivanka, sipping her lychee martini. “From Friday to Saturday we don’t do anything but hang out with one another. We don’t make phone calls.” “Ivanka’s such a type A,” says Jared. “She just gets it done. But she said, “If we’re going to do Shabbos, I’m going to cook.” She never cooked before in her life, and became a great cook. So for Friday, she’ll make dinner for just the two of us, and we turn off our phones for 25 hours. Putting aside the religious aspect of it; we live in such a fast-paced world.” “It’s an amazing thing when you’re so connected,” his wife adds, “to really sign off. And for Arabella to know that she has me, undivided one day a week? We don’t do anything except play with each other, hang out with one another, go on walks together. Pure family.” Available On Newsstands [Vogue]  

SCENE YESTERDAY: John Whitehead, a co-chairman of Goldman Sachs who helped define Goldman’s culture and usher in the firm’s modern era, died on Saturday and his funeral was held yesterday on 5th Ave. According to our source, the funeral had “a heavy Jewish presence, and not just from his Goldman days.” Among those in attendance included Henry Kissinger, Leslie Stahl, Tom Brokow, James Wolfensohn, and Mort Zuckerman. The honorary pall bearers listed included — Lloyd Blankfein, Michael Bloomberg (in India), Stephen Friedman, Maurice Greenberg, Robert Rubin, John Weinberg, in addition to George Pataki, Jon Corzine, Pete Peterson, David Rockefeller, Paul Volcker, and Diane Sawyer.

According to a JI reader, “Stahl related a story about how Whitehead paid twice for the restoration of the church in Jerusalem where The Last Supper was thought to be held. He was so moved by a story about the church being in poor repair, that he sent a check to the have the church fully restored. When he later attended the unveiling ceremony, an Orthodox priest told him that, “no, it’s our church where the supper was held.” So Whitehead wrote a check to restore that church as well. When he got back to New York, Peggy Noonan told him that he got things wrong. The Last Supper was actually held in her Manhattan kitchen… John didn’t bite.”

Also yesterday, “Warm, Witty Words at David Carr’s Funeral” by Lloyd Grove: “Judging by the boldface names in attendance—HBO star Lena Dunham, comedian Tom Arnold, CNN personalities Anthony Bourdain, Jake Tapper and Brian Stelter; Watergate sleuth Carl Bernstein, and the last three executive editors of The New York Times—one might have mistaken David Carr’s wake for a solemn state occasion. Instead, it was a down-to-earth and often hilarious farewell by an overflow crowd of friends, family and admirers who, despite their frequent bursts of laughter, were clearly shattered by Carr’s abrupt departure.” [DailyBeastHuffPost]

Nothing like a reminder from David Carr to get back to the actual news… “Chill Bedevils U.S. and Israel in Iran Talks” by David E. Sanger: “With the Obama administration racing to negotiate the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of March, aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel have charged in recent days that they are being deliberately left in the dark about the details of the talks. The Americans have said that is untrue, but even one of Washington’s closest negotiating partners reports being warned about being too open with the Israelis, “because whatever we say may be used in a selective way.” [NYTimes]

COMPETING POLLS, HEADLINES: “CNN Poll: Majority of Americans oppose Netanyahu invite: The nationwide poll, released Tuesday, shows 63% of Americans say it was a bad move for congressional leadership to extend the invitation without giving President Barack Obama a heads up that it was coming. Only 33% say it was the right thing to do.” [CNN]

—“Poll Shows Americans Want Netanyahu to Speak” by Josh Rogin: “The data, reported here for the first time, was commissioned by the Israel Project, a pro-Israel group. It adds important context to a CNN/ORC poll… While it may be true that most Americans don’t like Boehner’s tactics, it’s not the case that they don’t want Netanyahu to go through with it… “The numbers are stark,” said Omri Ceren, the Israel Project’s managing director for press and strategy. “Even Americans who may be ambivalent about how the Netanyahu speech came together … would be less likely to vote for a congressperson who boycotted.” [BloombergView] • Bronx President Ruben Diaz Jr. provides Latino perspective on Bibi’s visit [JP]

President Obama Op-Ed: “Our fight against violent extremism” in the LA Times: “This week, we’ll be joined by people of many faiths, including Muslim Americans who make extraordinary contributions to our country every day. It’s a reminder that America is successful because we welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds. That pluralism has at times been threatened by hateful ideologies and individuals from various religions. We’ve seen tragic killings at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in 2012 and at a Jewish community center in Kansas last year.” [LA Times]

—Some Of My Best Friends Are… “Vice President Biden boasts of ‘great relationships’ with Somali cab drivers” [Politico]

2016 WATCH: “Foreign Government Gifts to Clinton Foundation on the Rise” by James V. Grimaldi and Rebecca Ballhaus: “The Clinton Foundation has dropped its self-imposed ban on collecting funds from foreign governments and is winning contributions at an accelerating rate, raising ethical questions as Hillary Clinton ramps up her expected bid for the presidency. Recent donors include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.” [WSJ] • “Clinton has barely begun building her campaign juggernaut, and prospective staffers are getting restless.” [Politico]

“Rand Paul Is Looking to April to Announce Plan to Run for President, Associates Say” by Jeremy W. Peters: “Senator Rand Paul is eyeing April 7 as the day he will announce his plans to run for president, people close to him said… Mr. Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky and the heir to the robust Ron Paul grass-roots network, will take the next month to continue talking with members of his family about whether they are comfortable moving forward with the exhausting and, at times, agonizing rigors of a modern presidential campaign.” [NYTimes]

“Foster Freiss hits Rand Paul on national security” by David M. Drucker: “After lunching with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill earlier this month, Republican super-donor Foster Freiss emailed the White House hopeful a personal note thanking him for his time and for hosting him in the Senate dining room, “my favorite D.C. place to be fed.” But Paul wasn’t the only senator on the other end of Friess’ correspondence, nor were the topics limited to the Senate bean soup. Freiss gently scolded Paul’s libertarian foreign policy, especially his reticence toward more active U.S. leadership in the Middle East. Freiss didn’t keep the criticism private, either, informing Paul that he had “BCC’d” four other Republican senators on the email. Among them: Ted Cruz of Texas, considered Paul’s chief rival for the anti-Establishment vote in the 2016 primary field.” [WashExaminer]

“Lindsey Graham, advisor reaching out to Granite Staters; visit in the works” by John DiStaso: “South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and a top adviser are reaching out to Granite State Republican activists in a big way this week, and plans are in the works for a likely visit by Graham to the first primary state within the next several weeks.” [NH Journal]

Mike Huckabee Op: “Why Israel Matters to America: I’m not a Jew. I didn’t even play one on TV. But you’ll be hard pressed to find a more full-throated defender and supporter of the Jewish state than me. My love for Israel is not a recently acquired taste, due to politics. It happened 42 years ago, when I first visited there as a 17-year-old.” [Medium]

DRIVING THE DAY: “Jeb Bush to lay out case for stronger U.S. role in world” by Steve Holland: “Bush’s speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs will be his first major foray into foreign policy since he announced in December that he is considering a run for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The former Florida governor is casting a wide net for advice on national security. An aide provided to Reuters a diverse list of 20 diplomatic and national security veterans who will be providing informal advice to Bush in the coming months. It includes James Baker, known for his pragmatism in key roles during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush presidencies, and former World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, a hawk as deputy defense secretary who was an architect of George W. Bush’s Iraq policy.” [ReutersPolitico] • Watch the speech live at 11:45am on C-SPAN or through the Chicago Council [Livestream]

“The confidence with which Bush is pursuing his strategy was evident last Wednesday in the Picasso-adorned Park Avenue home of private-equity titan Henry Kravis. It was Bush’s 62nd birthday, and he celebrated in Kravis’s 26-room penthouse with more than 40 of the richest people in New York. Among them were Bush’s cousin, George Walker IV, the chief executive of the investment management firm of Neuberger Berman and real estate mogul Jerry Speyer, along with Ken Mehlman and Alex Navab of Kravis’s firm of KKR. The admission price: a minimum of $100,000, also the going rate for other Bush fundraisers… The way that Bush set up the two committees – at the same time and with the same attorney, former Romney super PAC lawyer Charlie Spies – is “unique,” said elections law lawyer Kenneth Gross.” [Politico] • “Vin Weber signs on with Jeb” [WashPost]

FL SEN: “Debbie Wasserman Schultz considering 2016 Senate bid” by Marc Caputo: “Driving Wasserman Schultz’s interest: the increasing likelihood that Sen. Marco Rubio will run for the White House and that he ultimately won’t seek reelection in 2016, Democratic insiders familiar with her thinking say… “Of course she’s considering it: Open Senate seats are pretty rare,” said Andrew Weinstein… Weinstein stressed he wasn’t favoring any potential candidate and didn’t want to appear to slight Rep. Patrick Murphy, who represents Florida’s 18th Congressional District and is considered the most likely Democrat to seek a Senate seat in 2016.” [Politico]

HOLLYWOOD-MIDWEST: “Rahm Emanuel Chicago Race Draws Spielberg, Geffen, Katzenberg Dollars: Maybe he’s unusually fetching to top entertainment industry players and it has nothing whatsoever to do with brother Ari’s Hollywood ties, but Emanuel has received $50,000 from David Geffen, $25,000 from Steven Spielberg, $10,000 from Jeffrey Katzenberg; $5,000 from Jeff Shell and $100,000 from Cheryl Saban (the wife of Haim Saban) for a race he could win outright next Tuesday, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections.” [TheWrap] • “Re-election Bid Offers Test of Mayor’s Appeal to ‘Two Chicagos’” [NYTimes]

HAPPENING TODAY: Lee Zeldin’s Republican Jewish Coalition nationwide tour: Rep. Zeldin will be in Los Angeles today and Chicago tomorrow for multiple fundraisers… Rep. Ron DeSantis speaks at Congregation Etz Chaim in Jacksonville at event on “Israel and Azerbaijan, A Unique Partnership in a Strange World.”

ISRAELEX: “In Israeli elections, U.S. political consultants become an issue” by McClatchy’s Daniella Cheslow: “For decades American advisers have spoken into the ears of Israeli politicians of every persuasion, contributing skills in polling, focus groups, research and viral social media to their campaigns, and this year is no different, with a cadre of consultants bringing big data analysis and social media strategy to the Israeli campaign trail. But this time, their work has garnered more attention than usual because of strained U.S.-Israel relations, with Republicans seemingly firmly tied to Netanyahu while his rivals turn to the Obama camp for assistance.” [TheState] • “Netanyahu Campaign Ad Says Islamic State Will Prevail if Israelis Vote Left in Election” [ViceNews] • “Palestinian Rappers Are Furious With Benjamin Netanyahu For Stealing Their Songs” [Mic]

If You Only Read One Thing… “What ISIS Really Wants: The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.” by Graeme Wood [TheAtlantic]

Thomas Friedman Op: “Democracy Is in Recession: Davutoglu’s and Erdogan’s cheap, crude anti-Semitic tropes, which Erdogan now relies on regularly to energize his base, are disgusting. For the great nation of Turkey, though, they’re part of a wider tragedy. It is really hard to say anymore that Erdogan’s Turkey is a democracy. Even worse, it is necessary to say that Turkey’s drift away from democracy is part of a much larger global trend today: Democracy is in recession.” [NYTimes]

Peter Beinart Op: “The tragedy of Elie Wiesel” [Haaretz]

**Good Wednesday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Chetrit to ask record-shattering $150M for Sony Building penthouse” [RealDeal] • “Tisch buys San Francisco’s Mandarin” [Bloomberg] • “Kushner, LIVWRK in contract to buy luxury Williamsburg apartment warehouse for $275M” [NYPost] • “Rubenstein’s Empty Play in North Carolina Pays Off” [WSJ] • “92-year-old Norman Lear misses the 3-network era” [NYPost] • “George Soros pivots to Asia” [Bloomberg]

STARTUP NATION: “Check Point to buy Israeli cyber security firm for $80M” [Reuters] • “Report finds Gaza hackers attacked Israeli sites” [WSJ] • “Israel Next to Consider Making Arms in India as Ties Improve” [BloombergReuters]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “An Interview With Seth Berkowitz | How the Founder of Insomnia has Revolutionized The College Experience Armed Only With Cookies” [HuffPost]

“Sewn to Entrepreneurship: Interview with Zara Terez Tisch, wife of David Tisch: “Zara Terez now provides a full line of clothing made from designs they create themselves and all of which are made in New York. The success of the brand has allowed the founders to continue following their passion to allow others to display their unique style and creativity. Zara was recently named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in the retail category.” [AlleyWatch]

TALK OF OUR NATION: “Between the Holy Land and the Motherland” by Leslie Nguyen-Okwu: “The odd mishmash of cultures — Africa in the land of milk and honey — elucidates one of many unseen pockets of Israeli society: pockets where Jews don’t look exactly like what the rest of the world assumes. Since Israel’s founding in the mid-20th century, some 3 million Jews have flocked there from 90 countries, including Ethiopia, India, Venezuela and more, in a migration known as “Aliyah.” But a generation later, many of them are concerned: They love their new home, but what’s going to happen to the roots they tugged out of their native soil?” [Ozy]

B(D)S: “Stanford Senate reverses divestment vote, passes resolution” by Alexis Garduno: “The 16th Undergraduate Senate passed the resolution supporting divestment from corporations identified as complicit in human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine. The vote comes a week after the Senate did not pass the same resolution.” [StanfordDailyForward]

DESSERT: “‘Kosher’ meet: ‘Soul’ stars talk up new Lifetime series” [NYPost]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Congressman Eliot Engel turns 68…

That’s all folks; have a great day!
**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**