Sen. Ossoff sworn in as Georgia's first Jewish senator

Vice President Kamala Harris swore in the two newly elected senators from Georgia on Wednesday afternoon.

The swearing-in ceremony happened on the floor of the Senate just after the new vice president was sworn into her office. Jon Ossoff was accompanied by Sen. Corey Booker, D-New Jersey, who he looks up to as one of the most ardent champions for civil rights and criminal justice reform.

The election of Democrats to represent Georgia shifts the balance of power in the Senate, splitting the chamber 50-50 with Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

Ossoff is the youngest senator and the first to be born in the 1980s. He is the youngest Democratic senator since Joe Biden and the first Democrat to be sworn in to serve a full term representing Georgia in the Senate since 1996.

He is also the first Georgia senator to be Jewish. The senator was sworn in on a book of Hebrew scriptures once owned by Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, who led Atlanta’s historic synagogue The Temple from 1946 to 1973. The rabbi, who was an ally of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was himself an outspoken opponent to segregation, white supremacy, and Jim Crow, something that is believed to have led to the bombing of The Temple in 1958.

Ossoff has made his run for Senate a referendum on civil rights, equal social justice, and the basic rights of all human beings. The senator points to his 17-year mentorship by the late Rep. John Lewis as the source for his profound belief for equality in America.