The First 100 Days of the Biden-Harris Administration As Seen Through a Jewish Lens with Rabbi David Saperstein
Monday, June 21, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. via Zoom.
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For 40 years, Rabbi Saperstein directed the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, representing the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to the U.S. Congress and Administration and currently serves as its Director Emeritus.
For over two years (2015-2017), Rabbi Saperstein served as the U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country’s chief diplomat on religious freedom issues.
He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Center for Jewish Civilization and as a Distinguished Fellow at the PM Glynn Center at the Australian Catholic University. Click here to register for the Zoom link.
The 100-days concept is believed to have its roots in France, where the concept of “Cent Jours” (Hundred Days) refers to the period of 1815 between Napoleon Bonaparte’s return to Paris from exile on the island of Elba and his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, after which King Louis XVIII regained the French throne.
When did the first 100 days become a key benchmark for a U.S. presidential administration?
In the United States, no one talked that much about the importance of a president’s first 100 days—until Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933. He took swift action to calm the nation’s crippling financial panic (cue the Emergency Banking Act and the “fireside chats” that became Roosevelt’s signature) and began rolling out the programs that made up his New Deal, including 15 major pieces of legislation in the first 100 days. FDR’s extraordinary productivity translated into enormous popularity, and he set a first 100-day standard against which all future U.S. presidents would (perhaps unfairly) be measured.
What are some of the most notable things that have occurred in past presidents’ first 100 days?
John F. Kennedy ordered the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion 87 days into his presidency. At a time when the U.S. and USSR were locked in the Cold War, JFK’s first 100 days also saw the Soviets launch the first human into space.
On Day 1, Ronald Reagan started off with a bang, announcing the release of U.S. diplomats being held hostage in Iran. Sixty-nine days into his administration, he survived an assassination attempt.
Barack Obama — who like FDR took office during a severe financial crisis—was able to get Congress to sign a $787 million stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, on his 29th day in office.
The first 100 days of the Biden-Harris administration is now history.