Biden, Harris and their families are making Jewish history on Inauguration Day

Incoming US administration has plenty of firsts, holding distinctions for oldest president and first woman and person of color VP. Here are some of their milestones for the Tribe

20 January 2021

JTA — When Joe Biden and Kamala Harris take office as US president and vice president, they will be making history in all sorts of ways — including Jewish history.

Some of the historical firsts are obvious: Biden will be the oldest person ever to occupy the White House, and Harris will be the first woman, person of color, and person of South Asian descent ever to serve as vice president.

Their Jewish bona fides are also notable: Biden’s three children who survived into adulthood all married Jews, making him a grandfather to several Jewish grandchildren. (Biden’s first wife and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972.)

Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, is Jewish, and the couple celebrate Jewish holidays together. Their 2014 wedding featured the traditional Jewish breaking of the glass, and Emhoff’s two children from his first marriage refer to Harris as “Momala” — a mashup of Kamala and the Yiddishism “mamaleh.”

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

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