Ossoff sworn in on Hebrew Bible from synagogue bombed by white supremacists in the 1950s

Greg Nash

Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) used a Hebrew Bible from a historic Atlanta synagogue active in the Civil Rights movement during his Senate swearing-in ceremony Wednesday afternoon, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The newly-seated senator told the newspaper that his use of a Hebrew Bible from the Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple was a nod to the southern Jewish community’s ties to the civil rights movement. The bible was once owned by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, who forged close ties with Black leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. during his time as leader of the synagogue. White supremacists bombed the Temple in 1958, though no one was injured.

Ossoff, who is Jewish, has pointed to his win as well as fellow Georgian Sen. Raphael Warnock’s (D) win in Georgia’s Senate runoff elections as evidence of Georgia’s progress on the issue of racial equality. The senator earned his Bar Mitzvah at the Temple, according to the Journal-Constitution.

“That book isn’t just about the synagogue and my Jewish background,” Ossoff told the newspaper before his swearing-in this week. “It’s also about the necessity of reanimating the spirit of the civil rights movement and building alliances to pass landmark civil rights legislation.”

“The alliance between Blacks and Jews in the civil rights movement is a model for what we can achieve when we continue to build the multi-racial and multi-generational coalition we’re building now,” he told the Journal-Constitution.

His swearing-in Wednesday, along with Warnock’s, threw the balance of the U.S. Senate into Democratic control and will provide President Biden with an avenue to enact at least some of his agenda before the 2022 midterms.

Tags Jon Ossoff Raphael Warnock

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