Daily Kickoff: Eric Cantor’s Loss Stuns – ‘Jewish Insiders’ React; J Street Donors to Host President Obama Today; Rising Jewish Star Raises Millions

By Jacob Kornbluh & JI Staff

SHOCKED! – The One Word To Describe How Everyone Felt Last Night When They Heard That House Majority Leader & Sole Jewish GOP Congressman, Eric Cantor, Lost His Primary Election – The First House Majority Leader to Lose Renomination Since The Office Was Created in 1899. Tea Party Challenger Dave Brat, an economics professor for the past 18 years at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va., defeated Cantor 55.5% to 44.5%.

Several Prominent ‘Jewish Insiders’ Sent Us Their Reactions… (more…)

Daily Kickoff – Dec. 10th

Driving the Day: Bipartisan Senate group nears deal on new Iran sanctions – “A bipartisan group of Senators is close to an agreement on tougher Iran sanctions in opposition to the White House, which is easing them as part of an interim accord Tehran struck with world powers aimed at curbing its nuclear ambitions, CNN has learned. A Senate deal would include a new round of sanctions to begin in six months and would not allow for the enrichment of uranium. But it would permit commercial nuclear power as long as it was monitored by the international community. The bipartisan group includes Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York; Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Republicans Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mark Kirk of Illinois.” [CNN] “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Time magazine in Tehran during the weekend that new sanctions – even if delayed – would kill the agreement reached in Geneva. “The entire deal (would be) dead,” Zarif said, adding that Iran’s parliament could also adopt legislation that would go into effect if talks fail. “But if we start doing that, I don’t think that we will be getting anywhere.” [Reuters]

Secretary of State John Kerry to Visit Israel, Again! – According to the State Department, John Kerry will travel to Jerusalem, Ramallah, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Tacloban, and Manila from Dec. 11-18, 2013. In Jerusalem, Kerry will meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss a range of issues including Iran and the ongoing final status negotiations with the Palestinians. In Ramallah, Kerry will meet with President Abbas, where he will also discuss the ongoing final status negotiations, among other issues. [StateDept]

Last Night: John Kerry and David Brooks addressed the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s Centennial Celebration Dinner in DC — Kerry: “We will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Not now. Not Ever.” “Spoke today with Netanyahu, after my 8th trip to Israel, back for dinner with Bibi on Thursday – this is a commute folks.” David Brooks: “When we do philanthropy, it’s not enough to give money. It’s important to communicate the soft and squishy things.” [JewishInsider] — (Also watch David Brook’s Keynote at Yeshiva University’s Hanukkah Convocation [YouTube]) (more…)

Scene at the UJA-Federation of New York Wall Street Dinner

Last night was the annual Wall Street Dinner to benefit the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of New York. A large (over 1,700) and generous crowd of bankers and hedge-fund managers gathered at the New York Hilton and raised more than $26 million, up from $23 million last year and the biggest sum in its history. Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd C. Blankfein was honored with the Gustave L. Levy award. “Lloyd, I’d like to welcome you to your second bar mitzvah,” David K. Wassong, the co-head of private equity at Soros Fund Management, said. “The only difference is that tonight the money goes to UJA.”

Addressing the attendees, Blankfein said the award was meaningful because he benefited from Jewish agencies growing up in a tough neighborhood. “The only person I knew who put on a suit every day was our rabbi,” Blankfein said. That rabbi “encouraged me to think about the world beyond East New York,” and found funding for him to attend after-school programs and summer camp. Those experiences shaped “what I could aspire to and what I could accomplish,” Blankfein said.

The keynote speaker, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, was presented with a shofar, the ritual ram’s horn used on Rosh Hashana. “I have been known to actually blow this and make noise come out of it,” Mr. Kelly said. “But I’m not going to try it here; this is a tough audience.” Mr. Blankfein saw an opening. “I was hoping for the shofar,” Mr. Blankfein said when it was his turn to stand behind the lectern. “Can you please tell the commissioner his chauffeur is waiting?” The audience roared at the wordplay.

Among those spotted in attendance were: Daniel S. Och; Alan Greenberg; Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan; John Paulson; David Soloman; Gary Cohn; Robert Kapito; Laura Blankfein; Josh Kushner; David Blitzer; Michael Karsch; Larry Robbins; Boaz Weinstein; Joshua Nash; Bruce Richards; Robert Soros; Antoine Chiche; Olivier Sarfati.

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