Doug Emhoff, first Jewish spouse of an American president or vice president, speaks at the lighting of the National Menorah


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Second mister Doug emhoff, who is the first Jewish wife of a US president or vice president, spoke on Sunday during the annual lighting of the National Menorah to mark the first night of Hanukkah. “Let us always remember that Jewish history is American history,” he said.

Emhoff also echoed the recent sentiments of Vice President Kamala Harris, saying that “we have to fight anti-Semitism and hatred of all kinds, and call it out when we see it.”

“Like many of us gathered here today, my family members have left Europe in search of safety and security,” said Emhoff. They came to the United States, among the gathered masses, yearning to breathe freely. They built a life here – they raised children, they opened businesses, they worshiped in synagogues. And yet we know, the freedom to which my family members, that American Jews around the world aspire and defend … The freedom that our nation promises to all who live and worship here, that freedom has at times been undermined by the hatred. “

Emhoff also highlighted the history of the holiday, saying that “on this first night of Chanukah we celebrate” “the story of a people who not only continue in the face of tragedy, but those who are attached. to their faith, proud of their tradition, and grateful for the many miracles and blessings in our lives. “

“The ancient Maccabees teach us that in the face of fools, selfless people can prevail,” Emhoff said. “In the face of the powerful, the people can prevail. In the face of darkness, the light can prevail.”

Emhoff said he and Harris will be lighting a menorah in their home starting Sunday night. Earlier this month, Emhoff and Harris said they affixed a mezuzah to the Naval Observatory, the vice-presidential residence. It is the first time in history that there is a mezuzah in an executive residence.

Emhoff also posted on Instagram a few days ago that the tree had arrived at the Naval Observatory.

The American Friends of the Lubavitcher, who hosted Sunday’s White House event, also released an excerpt from President Biden’s speech. “The truth is, Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values ​​are an essential part of who we are,” Biden said. “It is fair to say that the Jewish heritage is the American heritage. It is who we are as a people. For me, it is part of the miracle.”

Gabrielle Ake contributed to this report.

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Kevin E. Boling