Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

‘Time’ Names Bernanke ‘Person of the Year’

Fed Chairman is third Jew to win honor

Print Email

Princeton economics professor turned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke scored the famous year-end Time cover, it was revealed today. “There is irony here,” notes Time managing editor Richard Stengel in an interview with Bernanke, “that here’s this man who spends his life distinguishing himself studying economic history—and then one day you wake up and realize that you’re at the center of economic history in a really unusual chapter.”

The mild-mannered—let’s say “nerdy,” since everyone else does—yet super-powerful policymaker becomes the third Jew to receive Time’s designation, after Yitzhak Rabin and Henry Kissinger, both of whom shared the honor with others. Bernanke grew up in Dillon, South Carolina, in “an observant Jewish family in a tight-knit Christian community where social life revolved around church.” What distinguished the Bernankes most, though, was not their religion but their attitude toward blacks: “Once,” we learn, Bernanke’s “house was egged after he ate dinner with a black friend named Kenneth Manning at the local Shoney’s.” Finally, Bernanke plays down his pre-Fed leadership experience, which was basically confined to heading Princeton’s economics department, thusly: “he liked to joke that his major decisions involved what type of bagels to order for faculty meetings.”

Person of the Year 2009 [Time]

Earlier: ‘Foreign Policy Names Top Global Thinkers

Print Email
2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

‘Time’ Names Bernanke ‘Person of the Year’

Fed Chairman is third Jew to win honor

More on Tablet:

How Time’s Arrow and the Phrygian Half-Step Make Jewish Music Holy

By David P. Goldman — For centuries, Western classical music propelled listeners toward Christian salvation. Then Jewish music changed everything.