By Sharon Wisch-Ray
While campaigning in Texas last week, Doug Emhoff, the Jewish husband of United States Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, met with Dallas Jewish community leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The small gathering was held outdoors in the backyard of a North Dallas home.
Rabbi Nancy Kasten, chief relationship officer of Faith Commons, introduced Emhoff.
“Knowing that you’re going to be there, not only to be strength and support to the vice president, but also to represent us and our values as Jewish Americans, brings us hope and relief,” Kasten said.
Emhoff discussed many of the Biden-Harris talking points, including the pandemic, health care, the economy, the justice system, climate change, the supreme court vacancy and the importance of a large victory.
He spoke most in-depth about the connection the Biden-Harris campaign has to values that resonate with many Jewish people.
“Our community thrives and survives and endures no matter what comes our way through the common experiences of the generations. I’ve always felt that Jewish values transcend politics. I’ve seen that more and more as I’ve connected with our community all around the country and connected with rabbis all around the country. Wherever we are, whenever we are, however we are we value togetherness, we value family and we value our common history.”
He added that the Biden-Harris campaign is rooted in Jewish values.
Emhoff said that what the Biden Harris campaign stands for was clear during the presidential debate the week before and would be clear the next night during the vice presidential debate.
Emhoff stressed that President Donald Trump “didn’t condemn white supremacists in front of the entire world” during the debate, given many chances. Rather, he said, he gave a “clarion call to the Proud Boys and encouraged them to divide and hate.”
By contrast, Emhoff said, “Joe Biden spoke directly to the American people about who we are and what’s in our hearts.”
Emhoff emphasized that Biden was motivated to enter the ring after the Unite the White rally in Charlottesville in August 2017. After the rally, Trump said, “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”
Emhoff said Biden frequently speaks about his outrage over antisemitism.
“He talks about it all the time on the campaign trail… He didn’t have to do this [run for president]. This rise in antisemitism is dangerous. It’s not only dangerous for our American Jewish community, it’s dangerous for Americans, it’s dangerous for the world, it’s dangerous for everybody. It tears at our entire social fabric. The fundamental character of America is on the line.”
In connecting with Jews in the audience, Emhoff stressed: “This entire campaign is rooted in Jewish values and the ideals that we share: fairness, justice, rule of law, not just for us, but for everyone — for all Americans. Joe Biden is a mensch. He’s an incredible human being. We need a mensch in the White House.”