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VP Harris and husband Doug Emhoff will light a menorah at the vice president’s residence

Douglas Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, marked the first night of Hanukkah at the annual lighting ceremony of the National Menorah on The Ellipse outside the White House on Sunday. Then he and Vice President Harris planned to light a hanukkiah in a window of their official residence.

“The story of Hanukkah is the history of a people who do not simply persevere in the face of tragedy, but ones who are committed to their faith, proud of their tradition, and grateful for the many miracles and blessings in our lives,” Emhoff said in brief remarks at the ceremony organized by Rabbi Levi Shemtov of American Friends of Lubavitch in Washington, D.C.

Douglas Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, marked the first night of Hanukkah at the annual lighting ceremony of the National Menorah on The Ellipse outside the White House on Sunday.

Douglas Emhoff, the Jewish husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, marked the first night of Hanukkah at the annual lighting ceremony of the National Menorah on The Ellipse outside the White House on Sunday. Image by Screenshot

“As we light this menorah on the lawn of the free, let us rededicate ourselves to doing everything we can to shine a light on hate, so we can put an end to hate,” Emhoff added.

The Second Gentleman, who recently affixed a mezuzah to the doorpost of the vice president’s residence, will also celebrate the Jewish holiday with his wife at their home, a few miles from the White House.

“Like so many of us gathered here today, my family members left Europe in search of safety and security,” Emhoff told the crowd at the menorah lighting ceremony.

“They came to the United States, among the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. They built a life here — raised children, opened businesses, worshipped at synagogues. And yet, we know, the freedom that my family members, that American Jews everywhere, have yearned for and championed, the freedom that our nation promises to all those who live and worship here, that freedom has, at times, been undermined by hate.”

Emhoff reiterated the vice president’s recent remarks on how the administration is “fully committed to fighting antisemitism” and “call it out wherever it exists.”

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

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