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Senators Hatch and Reid: Mormons With Mezuzahs

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch isn’t the only Mormon legislator with a soft spot for Jewish traditions.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s wife, Landra (née Gould), was raised Jewish, and the Reid family has a mezuzah on the doorpost of their Searchlight, Nev. home in honor of that heritage, a spokeswoman for Senator Reid confirmed. (Senator Hatch wears a mezuzah around his neck, as this Tablet music video shows.)

Both Senator Reid and his wife are converts to Mormonism; Hatch was born into the Mormon faith.

According to this New Yorker profile of the current Senate Majority Leader, Reid’s eventually close relationship with Landra’s parents got off to a rough start. Mr. Gould apparently tried to break up the couple because the Goulds “wanted their daughter to marry a Jewish boy,” according to Reid.

Her father, Landra Reid told me, “would tear up Harry’s letters, hang up the phone on him. They had a fight in the front yard.” Reid has said that the fight ended when he knocked his future father-in-law, a chiropractor, to the ground. Landra says, “I remember a lot of yelling and pushing.” In 1959, when Harry was twenty and Landra was nineteen, they eloped. After a honeymoon dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Las Vegas, Landra called home to report the news; within days, she got a letter from her parents saying that, despite their misgivings, their daughter’s happiness came first. Reid now wears his father-in-law’s ring.

Until both of her Landra’s parents died, the Reids celebrated the Jewish holidays, the senior senator from Nevada told the New Yorker, adding: “My two oldest children have great affection for things Jewish, and my three younger children are aware of their mother’s lineage, and all of them are very proud of the fact that they are eligible for Israeli citizenship.”

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