Obama Appoints Jewish Outreach Coordinator

Daniel B. Shapiro has advised the senator on Middle East policy and Jewish issues since 2007.

U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama announced on Tuesday the appointment of Daniel B. Shapiro as his campaign's senior policy adviser and Jewish outreach coordinator.

Shapiro has worked on the campaign since 2007, consulting Obama on Middle East policy and Jewish community issues. His appointment is part of an effort on Obama's part to attract Jewish voters and support.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, will deliver the invocation before a crwod of some 70,000 at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, August 28, the night that Sen. Obama is scheduled to formally accept the Democratic nomination.

"I am deeply honored to have been invited to offer a religious voice at this celebration of American democracy," Saperstein said. "The opportunity to do so at an evening of such historic significance to our nation is especially meaningful."

Saperstein is among four U.S. rabbis who will lead prayers and address next Sunday's opening ceremony of the Democratic Convention in Denver.

For the first time, the party has decided to open the upcoming convention with an interfaith service, which will include leaders from all religions in the U.S., including Catholics and Muslim.

The decision is "in keeping with Barack Obama's personal commitment and the commitment of the Democratic Party to put faith in action," a party press release said.

Mark Schneier, a highly-regarded Orthodox rabbi from New York and founding director of the Jewish-Muslim Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, will also take part in the opening ceremony, alongside Amy Schwartzman, a Reform rabbi from Virginia.

"The Democrats have always been, are, and will continue to be people of faith, and the convention will demonstrate that in an unprecedented way," Convention CEO Leah Daughtry said.