The U.S. government announced on Tuesday the appointment of Mitchell A. Silk, an Orthodox Jew from New York, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury. Silk joined the Treasury Department in 2017 as a deputy assistant secretary for international affairs. Silk is a Hasidic Jew, meaning he is an adherent of a philosophy begun by the Baal Shem Tov (master of the good name), Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer in the 18th Century. Hasidic philosophy calls for extreme piety and a deeply spiritual approach to serving God. Silk is reported to be the first Hasidic Jew to hold a senior position in the U.S. government. Silk’s Hebrew name is Moshe (Moses) but he goes by “Moishe”, a Yiddish pronunciation of the Hebrew name. He is the father of eight and lives in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
He has been actively serving in the position since July when Heath P. Tarbert resigned after being appointed by the president to be Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
“My grandparents immigrated to this country from hardship and persecution in Eastern Europe. Their life experiences were chilling,” Silk said during his nomination hearing in November, according to the Vosizneias website. “My maternal grandfather, the guiding light of my life, grew up in abject poverty, witnessed Cossacks brutally murder his family members and struggled to cope with the extermination of his family in the Holocaust.
“For my family, this country represented freedom, security and immense opportunity. They worked hard as tradesmen and laborers.”
Silk is a lawyer and author and is an expert in Chinese law and finance. He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary from October 2017 to July 2019. Silk has a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Maryland School of Law, Certificate in Advanced Studies in Law from Beijing University, and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He also received education at National Taiwan Normal University and Middlebury College.
He is an expert in Chinese law and finance, speaks four Languages Cantonese Chinese, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Yiddish.
In 2006, Silk co-wrote an article in the Chicago Law School Journal in which he warned of Chinese “global ambitions.”
“Spearheading the campaign are a number of increasingly world-class domestic companies. These companies have long held select advantages to their foreign competitors, including access to cheap labor and benefits bestowed by the state, that have allowed them to grow competitive internationally. And over the last few years, Chinese government policy has actively encouraged the global ambitions of China’s corporations and banks. Chinese companies are dominating global exports and a number are starting to purchase significant stakes in foreign assets and reputable foreign companies.”
“The resolution of these issues will tell us not whether Chinese companies will take over the world, but when,” the article concluded.