NEW YORK — United States President Joe Biden is slated to announce that Chanan Weissman will serve as the White House liaison to the American Jewish community, a White House official confirmed to The Times of Israel on Thursday.
Weissman — whose appointment was first reported by The Washington Post — currently serves as director of technology and democracy on the White House National Security Council. The 37-year-old served as the Jewish liaison during former US president Barack Obama’s second term.
“We are thrilled to have Chanan Weissman serve as the White House’s liaison to the Jewish community,” the White House official said. “Chanan will provide strong leadership in the administration’s efforts to partner with Jewish leaders, organizations, and community members to combat antisemitism and hate; serve people in need; support the US-Israel relationship; and promote dignity, equality, and opportunity for all.”
The position went unfilled during Donald Trump’s four years in office, with the former president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz, leading White House outreach to the Jewish community. Both Kushner and Berkowitz have Modern Orthodox Jewish backgrounds.
In addition to liaising between the Biden administration and leaders of major Jewish organizations and community influencers, Weissman will be tasked with planning the annual White House Hanukkah party.
While the Biden administration had always intended to fill the post left vacant by Trump, calls to move along the process picked up in June when representatives of the Orthodox, Conservative and Reform religious denominations were not invited to a State Department call with American Jewish leaders.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt lauded the news. “Especially in light of the recent rise in antisemitic incidents, we’re pleased the White House has chosen Chanan Weissman to finally fill the position of liaison to the Jewish American community,”
“This will improve the Biden Administration’s ability to foster relationships with the Jewish community and work with stakeholders to address concerns such as antisemitism and extremism,” Greenblatt added in a statement.
Weissman, also a Modern Orthodox Jew from Baltimore, received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland and a masters from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Before serving as Jewish liaison during the Obama administration, he was the spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
He remained in government during the Trump administration, heading the Internet Freedom and Business & Human Rights office at the State Department.