Incoming US management has many of firsts, holding distinctions for earliest president and very first woman and also person of color VP. Right here are several of their landmarks for the Tribe


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Incoming vice president Kamala Harris send out a Hanukkah article with 2nd gentleman Doug Emhoff, December 10, 2020. (YouTube screenshot)

JTA — once Joe Biden and also Kamala Harris take office as united state president and vice president, they will certainly be making background in all sorts of ways — including Jewish history.

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Some of the historical firsts are obvious: Biden will be the oldest person ever before to accounting the White House, and also Harris will be the an initial woman, person of color, and person that South eastern descent ever before to serve as evil president.

Their Jewish bona fides are also notable: Biden’s three children who survived right into adulthood every married Jews, making that a grandfather to number of Jewish grandchildren. (Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were eliminated in a auto accident in 1972.)


Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, is Jewish, and the couple celebrate Jewish holidays together. Your 2014 wedding featured the timeless Jewish break of the glass, and also Emhoff’s two youngsters from his very first marriage describe Harris as “Momala” — a mashup of Kamala and also the Yiddishism “mamaleh.”

This past Hanukkah, Harris and Emhoff post a video clip on Twitter of the couple lighting the menorah.


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“I love Hanukkah because it yes, really is around the light, and also bringing light where there has actually been darkness,” Harris said, pronouncing Hanukkah v the guttural sound that the Hebrew letter “chet” fairly than the Americanized “h.” “And it is a solemn event of, always, tikkun olam , i m sorry is about fighting for justice and also fighting for the dignity of all people, and it’s around rededication.”

The combined Jewish households that will lead the brand-new US management are no an anomaly — they room emblematic of the story of American Jewry.


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Most American Jews marry outside the faith — 58% follow to the many recent national survey, carried out in 2013 by the Pew research study Center. However, fairly than abandoning Judaism, these interfaith couples increasingly are increasing their kids as Jews, or celebrate Jewish traditions alongside those of various other faiths. Some 45% the intermarried Jews are raising their children in the Jewish religion, according to Pew, up from 28% in 1990.

While fifty percent a century ago Jews that intermarried to be looked upon together a loss for the Jewish community, this particular day interfaith family members are part and parcel of the American Jewish community. In the reform movement, the largest US Jewish spiritual denomination, rabbis officiate in ~ interfaith weddings, many synagogues have non-Jews as members, and certain ritual roles throughout synagogue solutions are open to non-Jews.

The Reconstructionist movement, i beg your pardon is the smallest of America’s free Jewish denominations with around 100 affiliated synagogues, made background in 2015 as soon as it dropped a ban against accepting intermarried students come the movement’s rabbinical school.


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Douglas Emhoff, left, husband the Vice-president selected Kamala Harris, and also children Ella and also Cole, was standing on phase after Harris released her presidential project at a rally in her hometown the Oakland, California, January 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

In the Conservative movement, more than one-quarter that all homes include a non-Jewish household member, follow to the Pew survey. Even amongst many Orthodox Jews, it has actually become much more common to take it a welcoming technique toward interfaith couples in the hope that a non-Jewish spouse ultimately converts rather than to ostracize intermarried Jews.

By the very same token, the prevailing attitudes of Americans usually toward Jews have warmed end time. In the 1950s and also ’60s, huge swaths of american disdained Jews in one means or another: In 1958, just 62% that Americans claimed they’d be ready to poll for a well-qualified Jewish political candidate, contrasted to 91% in 2015, and also a 1964 survey found that 43% the Americans organized Jews responsible because that the death of Jesus, compared to 26% in 2004.

While 2019 experienced a 40-year high in anti-Semitic events in the united States, it’s usual for non-Jews with Jews in their family members to to express pride around their Jewish relatives. Biden, a Catholic, is one example.


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“I’m the only Irish Catholic you know who had actually his dream met because his daughter married a Jewish surgeon,” Biden quipped around his Jewish son-in-law, Howard Krein, at a political event in Ohio in 2016.


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Illustrative: Then-vice president Joe Biden, 2nd left, walks with his wife, Jill, second right, their daughter Ashley, left, and also their son-in-law Howard Krein during their visit to the national Orchid Garden in Singapore, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Lau Fook Kong, The Straits Times)

Krein, a doctor, married Biden’s youngest daughter, Ashley Biden, in an interfaith awareness in 2012 officiated by a roman Catholic priest and a reform rabbi, Joseph M. Forman.

“A ketubah to be signed. The pair got married under a beautiful huppah, do of herbal branches with a fabric covering,” Forman, rabbi at a new Jersey congregation, Or Chadash, called the Forward, referring to the classic marriage contract and also wedding canopy. “The wedding ceremony began with the traditional baruch haba and included the priestly blessing and also the sheva brachot. The groom stepped ~ above a glass in ~ the end.”

At the reception, Biden danced the hora.

Biden’s child Beau, who passed away of cancer in 2015, also married a Jew: Hallie Olivere, whose Jewish mom Biden had actually known because his very own childhood. At a 2015 event in Delaware, Biden joked the he had actually had a like on Olivere’s mommy as a kid.


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FILE: Hunter Biden, left, kisses his nephew Hunter, boy of Beau Biden, as they stand v Beau’s widow Hallie, third from left, Vice chairman Joe Biden and Beau’s daughter Natalie prior to his funeral, June 6, 2015, in ~ St. Anthony the Padua roman inn Catholic Church in Wilmington, Delaware. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“I to be the Catholic kid. She was the Jewish girl. Ns still tried. Ns didn’t get anywhere,” Biden said.

Biden’s 2nd son, Hunter, newly married for the second time — this time come Melissa Cohen, a Jewish documentary movie housing from south Africa. In ~ days of their meeting, Hunter Biden got a “Shalom” tattoo to complement one that Cohen had. The couple had their first child, a child born in Los Angeles, last March. That brought the number of Biden grandchildren with a Jewish parental to three, adding to Beau and Hallie’s two children.

Biden is not the an initial US president v a son married come a Jew — that difference belongs come Donald Trump, who daughter Ivanka underwent switch by an Orthodox rabbi prior to marrying her Jewish husband, Jared Kushner, in 2009. The pair are raising their three youngsters as Jews, consistently observe Shabbat, attend Orthodox synagogues and also send their children to Jewish job school.


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Chelsea Clinton, the only daughter of former US president bill Clinton and also Hillary Rodham Clinton, married a Jew, Marc Mezvinsky, in 2010, a te after she father left office. Their interfaith ceremony to be co-officiated by a rabbi and also a minister and also included a huppah and also the recitation of the sheva brachot, the seven marriage blessings. The couple has 3 children.


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Marc Mezvinsky, right, and wife Chelsea Clinton v newborn son, Aidan Clinton Mezvinsky leaving Lenox Hill Hospital ~ above June 20, 2016, in brand-new York. (Photo by Greg Allen/ Invision/ AP)

Chelsea Clinton identifies as a Methodist yet has become an outspoken critic of anti-Semitism. Responding 2 years ago to an online troll that wrote the she “isn’t also Jewish she’s simply ugly,” Clinton responded: “Hi Adam — you right, i am not Jewish. Due to the fact that you discover me ugly, feel complimentary to never look in ~ me. The ugly Jew is a vile century old anti-Semitic trope so next time, please simply go straight to ugly and also leave out the rest. Thank you.”

After Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, among three Muslims in Congress, asserted in February 2019 the AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying group, pays political leaders to assistance Israel, Clinton tweeted: “We have to expect all elected officials, regardless of party, and also all public figures to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”

President Barack Obama does no have any type of Jewish family ties, but so numerous of his White house advisers and close associates to be Jews the Obama finished up stop a exclusive Seder every Passover throughout his eight years in the White House.


President Barack Obama hosting a Passover Seder at the White home in 2012. (photo credit: Pete Souza/The White House)

Then, that course, there to be the near-misses: Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew, would have been vice president had Al Gore, who won fifty percent a million much more votes than George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election, hosted onto Florida in a disputed recount that at some point awarded the presidency to Bush. John Kerry, who lost the presidential choice to bush in 2004, had actually grandparents on his father’s side that were born Jews however converted come Catholicism. Kerry’s brother, Cameron Kerry, is a transform to Judaism.

When Harris is sworn in this week together vice president, it will note the first time a Jew will live in among the top two main US residences: the us Naval Observatory, official home of the evil president.

There’s one more American Jewish storyline that Harris and Emhoff embody: the interracial couple. A growing variety of American Jews space marrying outside their race — consisting of both whites and Jews the color, who consist of somewhere between 6% and also 15% of American Jews.

Of course, with Harris poised to come to be America’s first-ever female vice president, many of the attention bordering Emhoff won’t be around his being Jewish, however his being America’s first-ever “Second Gentleman” — the title he cleared up on as an different to the timeless designation, second Lady.

Lior Zaltzman contributed to this report.


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