Meeting Tuesday with 13 rabbis and Jewish educational administrators, President George Bush touted his support for school vouchers and other initiatives that aid parochial education. The conversation also touched on foreign policy and efforts to rebuild the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina.
"He certainly wasn't challenged, but he was asked questions that dealt with educational issues," one participant told JTA. The event came before the White House's annual Hanukkah party Tuesday night. In previous years, Bush has met with Jewish political leaders and rabbis, but this year he chose educators to promote his efforts for school choice, a White House official said.
At a candlelighting event after the meeting, Bush said, "As educators who dedicate themselves to teaching the faith and to teaching, they are fulfilling the true lesson of Hanukkah every day of the year. Just as the Maccabees reclaimed their holy temple, these teachers help ensure that Jewish traditions are passed from generation to generation."