President Joe Biden appeared to have a moment of brain freeze on Thursday when telling an anecdote about his daughter’s wedding, and forgot the name of a song that was played.
His comments came during a virtual event to celebrate the start of the Jewish High Holidays, which focused on recent anti-Semitic attacks, Afghanistan and the hope for renewed collaboration between people of different faiths.
Biden, a Roman Catholic, ended his remarks by calling on more religious collaboration, and spoke about his daughter Ashley’s wedding to her Jewish doctor Howard Krein in 2012.
Pictured: Biden speaks during a virtual event on Thursday. President Joe Biden appeared to have a moment of brain freeze on Thursday when telling an anecdote about his daughter’s wedding, and forgot the name of a song that played
‘We wanted to have a co-confessional wedding,’ Biden said. ‘And we had a chuppah on the altar, and […] it was co-officiated. Now, some of you aren’t going to like this, but it was co-officiated by a Catholic priest as well as a Jewish rabbi.’
He then spoke about his favourite Catholic hymn, which Biden said he requested to be played at the wedding.
‘I only asked one thing,’ he said. ‘There’s a psalm-based, there’s a hymn, my favorite hymn in the Catholic Church based on a psalm, and it’s — it’s a psalm that talks about life. And so, I asked if that psalm — that hymn in the Catholic Church.’
‘And it says, “May He lift you up on Eagle’s wings and bear you on the breath of dawn, and let the light shine upon you,” et cetera, and — “and hold you in the palm of his hand.”‘
He went on to try to describe another song that was played, presumably when his daughter and her husband were lifted up onto chairs during the Hora dance – as is traditional during Jewish weddings.
Hava Nagila, a song, Jewish people have danced to for all joyous occasions since 1918
Hava Nagila, which means let’s rejoice in Hebrew, is a traditional Jewish folk song that can be heard at every bar mitzvah and wedding while party guests perform the hora, a circle dance.
The rhythmic humming, based on a verse from the Old Testament, builds to a crescendo and often the bride and groom, or bar mitzvah boy or girl, are placed on chairs and tossed in the air.
The song was composed in 1918 to celebrate the Balfour Declaration, Britain’s pledge to establish a national home for Jewish people in Palestine after its victory over the Ottomans in 1917.
Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, a professor at Hebrew University, and Moshe Nathanson, are credited with creating the song, though there are competing claims as to the true composer.
‘And they played and … I’m my mind i going blank now. What’s the song that is played where everybody is on the chair?’ Biden added. ‘I can’t remember it. Anyway. And that’s the song that was played.’
Biden was likely trying to name Hava Nagila, a traditional Jewish celebratory song sung and played at some weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.
During the same virtual event, Biden told Jewish leaders that he spent time at the Tree of Live synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The synagogue was the site of the October 2018 anti-Semitic massacre left 11 people dead – the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States.
‘I remember spending time at the, you know, going to the, you know, the Tree of Life synagogue, speaking with them,’ Biden said.
However, Barb Feige, executive director of the Tree of Life since July 2019, told the New York Post that Biden did not visit the synagogue in the years after the attack.
On the second anniversary of the attack, Biden released a statement saying: ‘When anti-Semitism is allowed to fester, it shreds the fabric of our communities and erodes our soul,’ according to the Post.
Questions have been raised about Biden’s mental faculty before, with Republicans in particular claiming that he is not up for the job as president.
America’s oldest president has previously stumbled in interviews, when asking questions from the press, and during debates during his election campaign, earning him the nickname ‘Sleepy Joe’, pedalled by former president Donald Trump.
Mr Biden has previously suffered two brain aneurysms and a heart condition which makes the muscle beat too fast, causing dizziness and confusion.
A top cardiologist told the MailOnline late last month that both conditions are linked to memory difficulties and confusion, as well as dementia.
Ashley Blazer Biden, left, married Dr. Howard Krein, right, in Wilmington, Delaware on Saturday, June 2, 2012. Biden has said the wedding was co-officiated
Pictured: President Joe Biden pauses as he speaks about the bombings at the Kabul airport that killed at least 12 U.S. service members, from the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, in Washington
Dr Aseem Malhotra, an National Health Service (NHS) consultant in the UK, and expert in evidence-based medicine, said: ‘Certainly there’s a link [between the conditions and cognitive decline].
‘But just as a doctor observing him, given his medical history and age, I’m worried about early onset dementia. I would be worried about anyone exhibiting issues with recall and memory at Joe Biden’s age.’
Dr Amit Bajaj, an associate professor in speech science Emerson University in Boston Massachusetts, agreed that the reasons behind Mr Biden’s increasing number of gaffes might be because of declining cognitive health in old age.
Just last week, the mother of a marine killed in the Kabul suicide blast that killed 13 U.S. military personnel, accused Biden of having dementia.
‘My son was one of the Marines that died yesterday,’ Kathy McCollum said in a radio interview on August 27 of her 20-year-old late son Rylee.
‘[He was] getting ready to come home from freaking Jordan to be with his wife to watch the birth of his son. And that feckless, dementia ridden piece of c**p just sent my son to die.’
Mr Biden is known for his blunders and even referred to himself as a ‘gaffe machine’ in 2018.
Just last month he forgot his reasons for running for president, and when he was newly elected he referred to his deputy as ‘President Kamala Harris’.
Biden has experienced accidents since becoming President, including falling three times on one occasion in March while climbing up the stairs of Air Force One.
And last November he suffered hairline fractures in his food when playing with one of his dogs and had to wear a protective boot for weeks.
He also introduced his granddaughter as his deceased son Beau, who passed away from brain cancer in 2015.
And he confused Libya and Syria when at the G7 summit in June.
In July, former White House physician Ronny Jackson said Democrats should demand that Biden take the same cognitive test that was passed by Trump, 75.
Biden’s comments on religion came as White House press secretary Jen Psaki snapped at a male Catholic TV reporter questioning how President Biden squares his abortion views with his faith, telling him: ‘I know you’ve never been pregnant.’
Pictured: Then-Vice President Joe Biden (2nd L) walks with his daughter Ashley Biden (L), his wife Jill Biden (2nd R) and son-in-law Howard Krien (R) in Singapore, 2013 (file photo)
‘Why does the President support abortion when his own catholic faith teaches it is morally wrong?’ Owen Jensen, reporter for Catholic television network EWTN, asked the press secretary on Thursday afternoon.
‘He believes it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body and it’s her choice. It’s up to a woman to make those decisions and a woman’s decision to make with her doctor.’
‘I know you have never faced those choices, nor have you ever been pregnant but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing the president believes that right should be respected.’
Psaki snapped after the Supreme Court refused to block one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, where terminating a pregnancy is illegal after 6 weeks’ gestation.
Psaki was asked if the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling came as a shock to the White House. ‘You can never predict rulings. We certainly know the make up of the court,’ she said.
The law, known as the ‘Texas Heartbeat Act’, bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is normally after six weeks and before many women even know they are pregnant.
Biden, the second Catholic president, meets with Pope Francis. Some have pressed the president to square his views on abortion with his Catholic faith
It makes no exceptions for rape or incest and allows Texans to report people, including Uber drivers, who help or take women to get abortions. The only exemption is if there is a danger to the woman’s health.
Biden vowed to directly challenge the Supreme Court, by ordering the agencies to apparently circumvent the ruling and ‘ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe.’
He asked the White House to look at ‘what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.’
Biden, the second Catholic president in US history, has been criticized by church officials in the past because his pro-choice stance goes directly against Catholic doctrine.
Biden will travel to Louisiana on Friday to get a first-hand look at the destruction wrought by Ida, which devastated the southern portion of the state and left 1 million people without power.
Hurricane Ida struck the Gulf coast last weekend and carved a northern path through the eastern United States, culminating with torrential rains and widespread flooding in New York, New Jersey and surrounding areas on Wednesday.