Mexico’s first female president is also its first Jewish president

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By LatAm Reports Staff Writers

With nearly 100 million Catholics, Mexico receives its first president of Jewish descent.

Mexico, being a mostly Catholic country, has for the first time, a female president elected with Jewish descent. This has aroused interest from how he will manage his religion during his tenure, taking into account the positions he took while on the campaign trail.

Sheinbaum comes from a family of Jewish descent and origins in Bulgaria and Lithuania. However, the president-elect has indicated that during her childhood, she grew up inside a secular house, since her parents, both scientists, categorized themselves as atheists. During her political life, Sheinbaum has tried to keep her religious beliefs private, however, during an interview Sheinbaum explained that she does not profess the religion of her ancestors.

In 2020, Sheinbaum told The New York Times: “Of course I know where I come from, but my parents were always atheists. I never belonged to the Jewish community, and we grew up a little bit away from that. However, Arturo Cano, in charge of the biography of the new president-elect, revealed that she was still part of certain Jewish traditions – such as Yom Kippur – more not religiously, but culturally.

On the other hand, Sheinbaum has not involved Judaism in her married life, as she was never forced to marry a Jew. The president-elect said that the two marriages she has had have been with non-Jews, as she was never forced to continue with this lineage.

The role of religion during his campaign

Sheinbaum, although declared herself a non-religious woman, has used, during her campaign, symbols typical of the Catholic religion.

He was seen at one point wearing a skirt of Guadalupe’s virgin and carrying a rosary at some of his rallies. He also met last February with Pope Francis, a meeting he spread within his social networks.

This has attracted criticism for Sheinbaum, who has been accused of taking advantage of these religious figures, to get the favor of Catholic voters. Similarly, her opponents questioned the beliefs of the new president-elect, relying on the use that Sheinbaum has given to these figures that can become of the utmost importance to the Mexican population.

After the criticisms received, Sheinbaum declared “I am a woman of faith and I am a woman of science,” to stop all negative comments.

Will you affect religion during your tenure?

Despite Sheinbaum’s attempts to disassocate himself from the religion professed by his ancestors, his origins and beliefs are still in doubt.Among the people in doubt, is Vicente Fox, who was the president of the country during the period 2000 to 2006. Fox called Sheinbaum Bulgarian, a Bulgarian, as a way to devalue his Mexican citizenship.

On the other hand, the relationship that Andrés Manuel López Obrador had – current president of Mexico and predecessor of Sheinbaum and the church, is not at its best. This after, in 2022, some bishops criticized the levels of violence that increased during López Obrador’s term.

This raises doubts about how Sheinbaum will unfold with religious leaders. However, the current president-elect has accepted meetings with Catholics and agreed to sign a national commitment to peace.

“Respect for all religions, I believe that Mexico has to be united beyond everyone’s beliefs,” Sheinbaum emphasized after all these questions.

This article has been translated after first appearing in Prensa Libre