Sisterhood Blog

The Jewish Republican Rep. You've Never Heard Of

By Gabrielle Birkner

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, left, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, right, yesterday unveiled a portrait of Florence Kahn (1866–1948), who in 1925 became the first Jewish woman to serve in the U.S. Congress.

The Utah-born, California-reared Kahn, a Republican, was also among the first women to graduate from the University of California, Berkeley. Her education served her well: When her congressman-husband, Julius, died, she won his seat — and went on to represent San Francisco for the next 12 years.

The House’s Office of History and Preservation has an enlightening multimedia presentation about Kahn’s life and work. It can be seen here.

Kahn’s portrait, unveiled as part of Jewish American Heritage Month, will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol.


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