Joe Lieberman

official photo of Joe Lieberman

Birth Name: Joseph Isadore Lieberman

Date of Birth: February 24, 1942

Place of Birth: Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.

Date of Death: March 27, 2024

Place of Death: New York City, New York, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Joe Lieberman was an American politician and lawyer. He was a Member of the Connecticut State Senate, from January 1971 to January 1981, where he was Majority Leader; Attorney General of Connecticut, from January 5, 1983 to January 3, 1989, and a U.S. Senator from Connecticut, from January 3, 1989 and January 3, 2013. He was a member of the Democratic Party until 2006, then becoming an independent. In the U.S. senate, he championed legislation that led to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, and introduced and supported the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act.

He was the Democratic Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in 2000. He was also a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2004.

Joe was the son of Marcia (Manger) and Henry Lieberman, who ran a liquor store. His father was born in New York, to Polish Jewish/Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. His mother was born in Connecticut, also to immigrant parents, of Austrian Jewish and Hungarian Jewish background. Joe was an Orthodox Jew.

He was married to Hadassah Lieberman (born Hadassah Freilich), until his death. She was born in Prague, Czechoslovkia, to Holocaust survivor parents. Joe had two children, including politician Matt Lieberman, with his former wife Betty Haas; and a daughter with Hadassah. Joe was a first cousin, twice removed, of actor and musician Raviv Ullman. Joe’s maternal grandparents Yussef and Maly were also Raviv’s maternal great-great-grandparents.

Joe was the first Jewish person to have been nominated for Vice President of the United States on a major party ticket. Two people of Jewish heritage have been nominated for President of the United States by a major political party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the first (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian). John Kerry, nominated by the Democratic Party in 2004, was the second (Kerry’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, though Kerry’s father and Kerry himself were raised Catholic).

Joe’s paternal grandfather was Jacob Elie Lieberman/Liebermann (the son of Wolf Ben Pinkas Lieberman and Laje Nuss-Weiss). Jacob was born in Zagrody, Lublin, Poland. Wolf was the son of Pinkas ben Issachar Lieberman and Rozie.

Joe’s paternal grandmother was Rifka/Rivka/Rebecca Segalovich (the daughter of Efroim Isaac Halevi Segalowicz and Sara Dvora Feingold). Rifka was born in Poland.

Joe’s maternal grandfather was named Yusseff/Joseph Manger (the son of Menasha Manger and Freyda). Yussef was a Jewish emigrant from Putilla, Bukovina, Austria.

Joe’s maternal grandmother was Maly “Minnie” Sandhaus (the daughter of Benjain/Benyomin Tzvi Halevi Sandhaus and Frieda/Freyda Teller). Maly was a Jewish emigrant from Stansvsty, Austria, whose own parents were Hungarian Jews.

Five people of Jewish heritage have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*John Kerry (2004, the year he was nominated; Democratic; won 51 contests)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the Democratic nomination in 2016 and 2020; in 2016, he won 23 contests; in 2020, he won 9 contests)
*Michael Bloomberg (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; won 1 territory, American Samoa)

Of the five, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg are Jewish by religion, and Sanders is the first person of Jewish religion to have won a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).

Other people of significant Jewish heritage who have mounted or are mounting plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*John H. Cox (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)
*Marianne Williamson (who sought the 2020 and 2024 Democratic nominations)
*Michael Bennet (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination)
*Tom Steyer (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination)
*Dean Phillips (who sought the 2024 Democratic nomination)

Shapp, Agran, Specter, Karger, Williamson, and Phillips were/are all Jewish by religion. Bennet and Steyer were raised in mixed-faith households, Bennet with a Jewish mother and Steyer with a Jewish father. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Kirsten Gillibrand, a Catholic with a Jewish great-grandfather, also sought the 2020 Democratic nomination.

Sources: Genealogies of Joe Lieberman –

Joe’s maternal great-grandmother, Frieda/Freyda (Teller) Sandhaus, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.