Rahm Emanuel was sworn in as the first Jewish mayor of Chicago.
Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff, took the oath of office on Monday. He was elected mayor of the country’s third-largest city in February after sitting mayor Richard Daley declined to seek a seventh term in office.
Emanuel, 51, also worked in the Clinton White House and is a former congressman from Chicago’s North Side. A Hebrew speaker, Emanuel is the son of an Israeli doctor who moved to the United States in the 1950s.
Emanuel faced a residency challenge during the campaign because he did not live in Chicago for a full year before the election, but his candidacy was upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.
He now faces the formidable task of helping the city pull out of serious financial difficulties, including a 2011 budget deficit of more than $500 million.
Asked about her son’s status as the city’s first Jewish mayor, Emanuel’s mother, Marsha, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “It is awesome, my dear, unexplainable. This is an honor for the people; an honor for us; an honor for the whole culture.”