The Shmooze

Biden Makes Sign of the Cross, Rabbis Giggle

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

Former TV journalist and newly minted politician Yair Lapid’s address to the Rabbinical Assembly’s National Convention in Atlanta yesterday got a lot of attention. In his remarks, he emphasized that he would work for equality for all religious movements in Israel — something that made the Conservative rabbis in the audience smile.

But another politician one-upped Lapid and made the more than 1,600 rabbis laugh. Vice President Joe Biden was on hand to address the plenary, and he got a good chuckle from the audience even before he stepped up to the microphone and said a single word.

Biden pulled this off by making the sign of the cross as the rabbi introducing him mentioned that the Vice President, before assuming his current office, had served with great distinction as a senator from Delaware for 36 years. On hearing mention of his lengthy term of service to the people of Delaware, he reflexively crossed himself as a gesture of gratitude. This, of course, makes perfect sense, given that the Catholic Biden is probably not familiar with the equivalent Jewish custom of declaring “Baruch Hashem” (Blessed be God).

When Biden began to speak, he started to try to explain why he had crossed himself, but as he and the audience just kept laughing about it, he basically gave up and moved on to his prepared speech.

What The Shmooze finds most amusing about this is that, in a room of thousands of Jews, it was the Catholic who was talking with his hands.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Yair Lapid, Joe Biden

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.