Jewish Democrat Josh Shapiro was sworn in on Tuesday as the 48th governor of Pennsylvania, taking the oath of office on a stack of three Hebrew Bibles.

The first was a family Bible; the second was provided by the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where a gunman killed 11 worshippers in 2018 in the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history; and the third was carried by Herman Hershman of Philadelphia on D-Day in 1944, according to the Associated Press.

Shapiro, who previously served as the state’s attorney general, won the November gubernatorial race against Republican opponent State Senator Doug Mastriano.

Shapiro on Tuesday described Pennsylvania as “a place where we believe in opportunity, a place where we believe in real freedom.”

He continued: “Now is the time to join together behind the unifying strength of three simple truths that have sustained our nation over the past two-and-a-half centuries: that above all else, beyond any momentary political differences, we value our freedom, we cherish our democracy and we love this country.”

The inauguration included a sold-out concert with performances by rappers Wiz Khalifa and Meek Mill, singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson and rock group Mt. Joy.

Pennsylvania is the fifth-most populous state in the United States, and a major battleground in presidential elections.


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