Kamala Harris – not Jewish, but still ‘Momala’

Vice presidential candidate’s family calls her by the Yiddish word for ‘little momma’.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Kamala Harris is not the first female candidate for vice president, but if she wins, her husband would become the first Jewish spouse at the highest level of American politics.

In 2014, Harris married Douglas Emhoff, who is Jewish and hails from New York. It was her first marriage, but Emhoff has two children whose stepmother is now the running mate of Joe Biden for this fall’s presidential election.

In an article she wrote about herself last year in the magazine Elle, Harris said that her step children, Cole and Ella, who are both in their 20s, were named for the famous musicians John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald.

“Cole, Ella, and I agreed that we didn’t like the term ‘stepmom.’ Instead they came up with the name ‘Momala,'” Harris wrote.

While some news outlets speculated that ‘momala’ might simply be a conjuction of “momma” and the end of her given name “Kamala, the term sounds very much like the Yiddish word “mamaleh,” which translates as “little mama.”

Harris’s mother hails from India and her father is Jamaican; neither is Jewish. She and Emhoff were married at the courthouse in Santa Barbara when Harris was serving as California’s attorney general. Her sister, Maya Harris, officiated, and the wedding was accompanied by little publicity, the Sacramento Bee reported at the time.

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The wife of the vice president is referred to as “the second lady of the United States,” which is sometimes abbreviated to the acronym “SLOTUS.” If Harris is elected, Ernhoff would become the first “second gentleman of the United States.”

Harris is the third woman to run for vice president, following Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008.