MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Phillip Ensler has made history.
On Wednesday morning, as a brisk breeze blew outside Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Ensler was sworn in as Alabama’s only Jewish lawmaker.
Ensler, a Montgomery attorney and former teacher, declared victory Tuesday night over incumbent Republican Charlotte Meadows in the race to serve in the Alabama House of Representatives. His victory was a rare win for Democrats in a deep red state and was made possible by demographic shifts caused by redistricting.
Ensler, the first Jew to serve in the Alabama Legislature in more than four decades and one of only a few individuals of Jewish heritage to ever serve in the lawmaking body, was sworn in on a Hebrew Study Bible, also known as a Tanakh, by Judge Monet Gaines. Ensler and Gaines were joined by Rabbi Scott Kramer of Agudath Israel Etz Ahayem in Montgomery, who held a Torah for the event.
Kramer said it was the first swearing-in he’s ever attended.
“I’m so proud,” he said. “I’ve never seen someone sworn in with a Torah.”
CBS 42 profiled Ensler before Tuesday’s election. You can read that profile here.