Second Family Will Hold The First Known Passover Seder At Vice President’s Home

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Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff Friday will become the first known second family to host a Passover seder at the vice president’s residence, a White House official says, a continuation of their efforts to celebrate Emhoff’s Jewish faith.

Harris told Israeli President Isaac Herzog during their phone call Thursday, April 14, 2022, that she would personally conduct a Seder at the Naval Observatory, according to a White House official.

The official said Harris and Emhoff were being accompanied by Jewish associates and their families. On Thursday, the couple is expected to address the second virtual White House Seder.

Harris and Emhoff have had a variety of firsts in their historical roles. Emhoff is the first Jewish wife of a president or vice president, and Harris is the first woman and first woman of color to hold her title.

In November, they became the first couple to attach a mezuzah — which contains a small scroll containing the text of the Shema prayer and fulfills the Scriptural command to place the object on the doorpost of the home — to a senior home. And in March 2021, Emhoff led the first virtual Passover Seder for the Biden-Harris White House and said he hopes it will be the last to be held virtually.

“This is the second consecutive Passover we’re celebrating virtually and hopefully the last,” Emhoff said at the time. “The pandemic has forced us all to adjust or pause some of our favorite traditions and activities, but if we all continue to follow the guidelines that help keep us safe… we will win this battle against Covid and we will all be together in person next year.”

Since those pronouncements last March, the Biden administration and Congress have poured billions into a massive vaccination campaign to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and have faced repeated waves of infections and deaths skyrocketing and then have gone back.

Covid-19 cases are rising in more than half the states of the United States – including all but one state in Northeast, Delaware. The country is recording just over 38,000 new Covid-19 cases per day on average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, but the daily rate is still one of the lowest since mid-July.

Emhoff recently tested positive amid a spate of positive Covid cases among administration officials and those in orbit from Presidents Joe Biden and Harris.

Nonetheless, Emhoff has consistently said that Passover has always been one of his favorite holidays, and he recalled going to his grandma’s at Seders as a child.

On Wednesday, Emhoff began his personal celebrations early when he attended a Jewish day school in Washington to commemorate with elementary and middle school students.