Former New York City mayor Ed Koch writes a candid and often delightful regular column that he e-mails out and that is picked up by newspapers all over. Sometimes his choice of topics is a bit quirky. One of his most recent columns, a series of short takes on a number of important issues, concludes with a short take on short shorts, specifically those worn by the first lady.
This is not a gossip column, so forgive me for mentioning that Michelle Obama, who is not only intellectually brilliant, has become a true fashion trendsetter. First, bare arms and now, short shorts. So far as I can recall, no First Lady in our history has dared the shorts. Jackie Kennedy Onassis did the bare arms. Three cheers for Michelle Obama.
Rabbi Capers Funnye, Jr., a cousin of First Lady Michelle Obama, is calling on President Obama to make Middle East peace “a top priority” of his administration. Funnye appears with a handful of other rabbis in a five-minute video, created before the inauguration by the organization Brit Tzedek v’Shalom – Jewish Alliance for Justice & Peace — pleading with the new president to promote a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. “There is no time left to walk softly and hope for the best,” Funnye, who attended his in-law’s inauguration Tuesday, says in the video.
On behalf of Brit Tzedek, Funnye, adds: “As Jewish clergy, we pledge to mobilize our people behind your leadership for a mutually acceptable two-state solution. We pledge to support you through difficult, trying times and to celebrate with you when the job is done.”
Funnye is the spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago.
Other rabbis in the video ask President Obama to move quickly to appoint a high-level Middle East Envoy.
The woman behind the First Lady’s sartorial choices is said to be the Israeli-born Ikram Goldman, 41. She is the owner of the Chicago boutique Ikram, which sells designs by Toledo and Wu, among others (including Narciso Rodriguez, who designed the red-and-black dress that Mrs. Obama wore on election night).
The New York Daily News reports:
”Goldman does not hold an official title, but insiders predict she will be the person who’ll advise the fashion-forward First Lady on what to wear over the next four years.
The gold Isabel Toldeo dress-and-coat ensemble Obama wore yesterday was ‘special-ordered through Ikram,’ says Wendy Donahue, a fashion columnist at the Chicago Tribune. ‘That Obama trusted her guidance for the first day of her tenure as First Lady would lead me to believe that she will continue to shape Obama’s style, and thus the image that America has abroad, during the White House years.’”