Former State Department official Joel Rubin is running for the Democratic Congressional nomination in Maryland’s 8th District. Here are a few little-known facts:

1) Far-flung roots: Rubin’s great-grandfather, who came to the United States in the 19th century from Romania immigrant, traveled to Israel after the Holocaust to search for his cousins. He found them. A copy of a photo showing him and his daughter (Rubin’s grandmother) meeting with David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, is on Rubin’s computer at home.

2) Teaching roots: As an undergraduate, Rubin became a certified elementary school teacher, along with degrees in politics and Near Eastern studies. His mother is a retired writing and literature professor at Penn State University, and his sister is an education professor at Rutgers University. Rubin teaches a graduate-level school class on international refugees at Carnegie Mellon University’s D.C. campus.

3) Modern family : Rubin’s wife is a Sri Lankan American. Their three daughters are in the Mandarin immersion program at Montgomery County’s Potomac Elementary School and attend Hebrew school on Sundays.

4) Brightfields: One of Rubin’s early government jobs was in the Energy Department, where he coordinated the “Brightfields” program, an effort to convert brownfields in urban areas to sites for alternative energy sources like solar panels.

5) Love across the aisle: Nilmini Gunaratne Rubin, Rubin’s wife, is a senior policy adviser to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She played a key role in passage of the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, which was signed by President Obama and aims to bring power to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.