US/World News

Doug Emhoff: Being ‘second gentleman’ brought me closer to Judaism

(JTA) – Douglas Emhoff told a group that brings Jews and Muslims together that his history-making role as the second gentleman and as the first Jewish spouse of a president or vice president has brought him closer to Judaism. “I didn’t realize what a big deal it would be not only to the Jewish community and to faith communities but to myself,” Emhoff said Thursday at an iftar, or Ramadan break-fast, hosted by the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council. “It’s actually driven me closer to faith. It has opened my eyes to a lot of things.” Emhoff said he understood the significance of faith – and how unique it was for people of different faiths to work together – when he began traveling outside his Los Angeles bubble during his wife’s campaign and then as the second gentleman. “Coming from L.A. and working at an international law firm with Muslim partners and people of all different faiths, it’s something that was very natural to me,” he said. “Doesn’t everyone care about equal rights. … Doesn’t everybody care about democracy and the rule of law?” he added. “I realized that, you know, my own experiences that I’ve had may not be the same experiences that everyone else has had.” Emhoff said it became his mission “to advocate and to show people that this is how it is done, [that] our communities can work together.”

Emhoff has said a highlight of his role was placing the first mezuzah on the doorpost of the vice presidential residence.

Main Photo: Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, left, speaks with Rashad Hussain at a Muslim Jewish Advisory Council event at the U.S. Institute for Peace in Washington D.C., April 28 2022 (Ron Kampeas)

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