‘Second Lord’ Doug Emhoff Speaks at Annual National Menorah Illumination
Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, spoke at the annual National Menorah illumination ceremony in Washington DC on Sunday.
Emhoff, 57, is the first Jewish wife of a US president or vice president and was chosen as a special guest to speak at this year’s illuminations, a tradition that began in 1979.
In his speech, he pointed to the importance of Jewish history in American culture and to ending anti-Semitism in the modern world.
Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, was chosen to be a guest speaker at this year’s National Menorah Illumination Ceremony in Washington DC
“Let us always remember that Jewish history is American history; our values, American values,” Emhoff said in his speech
This year’s ceremony, a tradition that began in 1979, was the first to feature a Jewish spouse of a US president or vice president.
“On this first Hanukkah night, Jews around the world are going to light their menorahs in the windows of their homes — just as the vice president and I will do later tonight at our home here in DC,” Emhoff said. in his speech.
“As we light this menorah on this lawn of freedom, let us rededicate ourselves to do all we can to shed light on hate so that we can end hate.”
“Let us always remember that Jewish history is American history; our values, American values,” he added.
Emhoff also spoke about the history of Hanukkah that happened in 165 BC. was created by a group of Jewish warriors known as the Maccabees.
The eight-night tradition was conceived after the victory over the Greco-Syrian army and commemorated the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
The menorah symbolizes the ‘miracle’ behind the origin of the holiday. It centers on the story of a jar of oil that was meant to last only one day, but ended up lighting the temple’s menorah for eight.
“On this first night of Hanukkah, we celebrate the history of a people who continue not only in the face of tragedy, but those who are committed 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 the senseless, the selfless can triumph.
“In the face of the mighty, the people can triumph. In the face of darkness the light can triumph.’
In his speech, Emhoff pointed to the importance of Jewish history in American culture and put an end to the presence of anti-Semitism in the modern world.
Louis Mayberg of the National Menorah Council (left), Rabbi Levi Shemtov (left center), Rabbi Abraham Shemtov (center), entrepreneur Brock Pierce (right center), and Rabbi Menachem Shemtov (right) light the National Menorah
Emhoff had also talked about the history of European Jews who immigrated to the US in search of a better life.
“As so many of us have gathered here today, my relatives have left Europe in search of safety and security,” he said.
“They came to the United States, among the huddled masses, eager to breathe freely. They built a life here: raised children, opened businesses, worshiped in synagogues. ‘
“And yet, we know, the freedom that my relatives, that American Jews everywhere have craved and defended… the freedom our nation promises to all who live and worship here… That freedom has sometimes been undermined by hatred.”
He used the rest of his platform to speak about the anti-Semitism still prevalent in both the US and the rest of the world.
Emhoff and Harris lit their menorahs Sunday night to celebrate Hanukkah and even installed a mezuzah at the Naval Observatory to honor the “second lord” Jewish faith
President Joe Biden previously spoke at the ceremony in 2014
“As the Vice President said a few weeks ago, we must fight anti-Semitism and hate of all kinds and cry out when we see it.
“We know this hatred is terrible, but not at all new, a fact the Vice President and I were reminded of a few years ago at Yad Vashem in Israel, and at the Shoah Memorial in France that I visited a few weeks ago.
“But we also know that the story of Hanukkah is the story of a people who endure not only in the face of tragedy, but those who are devoted to their faith, proud of their tradition and grateful for the many miracles and blessings in our lives. And that’s what we’re celebrating on this first Hanukkah night.’
In addition to lighting a menorah, Emhoff and Harris also installed a mezuzah, a piece of parchment filled with verses from the Torah in a glass case, at the Naval Observatory.
President Joe Biden had also previously spoken at the enlightenment ceremony in 2014.
“The truth is that Jewish heritage, Jewish culture and Jewish values are essential, such an essential part of who we are,” Biden said.
“It’s fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage. That’s us as a people.’