Kamala Harris’ selection as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s vice-presidential candidate is a first in more ways than one. She’s the first Black woman on the ticket; also, the first South Asian.
But … she’s the second VP pick to have Jewish in-laws, the first being Joe Lieberman, who ran as Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.
Yup, Harris is married to a Jewish dude, the adorable Doug Emhoff, who clearly adores her. Emhoff and his parents are pretty great Jewish things, so you’ll find more about them below — don’t worry, we’ll hit the serious stuff, like her stance on Israel. Spoiler alert: She’s more AIPAC than JStreet, but J Street endorsed her right after the campaign announced that she was the pick.
She believes in a two-state solution and opposes BDS. She co-sponsored a Senate resolution in early 2017 that essentially rebuked the Obama administration for allowing through a U.S. Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies.
The @RJC (Republican Jewish Coalition) response to Kamala Harris: “She does not stand with Israel and the Jewish community.” They also claim she did not stop anti-Semitic activities on college campuses. pic.twitter.com/5Y97xgM04Q— Johnny Kunza (@johnkunza) August 11, 2020
Of course, the Republican Jewish Coalition is not a fan. They say she didn’t do enough to fight anti-Semitism on college campuses in her state of California, and characterize her as part of the far left.
Emhoff has two children from a prior marriage and a sharp social media game that’s all about his love for Harris. Look at this Instagram post that memorializes a moment he happened to see her on television.
That time @KamalaHarris met her Jewish in-laws. “The first time I meet my mother-in-law, she looks at me, puts my face in her hand … she looks at me and she says, ‘Oh look at you. You’re prettier than you are on television. Mike, look at her!’” pic.twitter.com/P8qJwwzSP9— Johnny Kunza (@johnkunza) August 11, 2020
Harris enjoys a reputation as an attractive woman, but her in-laws had to be convinced of her good looks by an in-person meeting, she told the world while she was on book tour.
The Emhoffs are from Brooklyn, Harris said, before holding her hands up to her face and imitating the thick accent of a New York bubbe.
“The first time I meet my mother-in-law, she looks at me, puts my face in her hand … she looks at me and she says, ‘Oh look at you. You’re prettier than you are on television. Mike, look at her!’” Harris recalled. “I swear to you.”
Click here for that video.
Along those lines, Emhoff’s kids have given Harris a Yiddish nickname — Mamele, which means “little mama.” Rhymes with Kamala … get it? Thank you for that one, Kveller!
Helen Chernikoff is the Forward’s News Editor. She came to the Forward from The Jewish Week, where she served as the first web director and created both a blog dedicated to disability issues and a food and wine website. Before that, she covered the housing, lodging and logistics industries for Reuters, where she could sit at her desk and watch her stories move the stock market. Helen has a Master’s of Public Administration from Columbia University and a BA in History and French from Amherst College. She is also a rabbinical school dropout. Contact her at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter at @thesimplechild .