chelsea clinton 311.
(photo credit: Bloomberg)
WASHINGTON – The Shonda! Chelsea Clinton is marrying a Conservative.
not that kind of conservative.
The Jewish kind.
If Clinton, part
of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Democratic dynasty, were marrying a diehard
Republican, that might cause a few ripples as well.
But the waves being
made in the run-up to her nuptials to Marc Mezvinsky at the end of this
are decidedly of the religious kind.
Media – of the Jewish and non-Jewish
persuasion – have been running rampant with speculation about the
dimensions of the event. Will Clinton, the daughter of a Methodist
Southern Baptist father, convert? Will there at least be a rabbi
A huppa? A glass? Details of the wedding are under wraps – though press
have it taking place on July 31 at the Astor estate in Rhinebeck, NY
invitees ranging from US President Barack Obama to Steven Spielberg –
hasn’t dampened mass attention and Jewish consternation.
As Rob Eshman of
The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles put it in a letter to Clinton,
are probably wondering how people can take something so powerful and
the kind of love that leads to the lifelong commitment of marriage and
into a crisis, a cause for hand-wringing and breast-beating, a symptom
inexorable disappearance of an entire religion and culture off the face
earth, a kind of genocide-by-‘I do.’” In short, he continued, “Welcome,
to the Jews.”
But while there’s been angst in the Jewish community, it
hasn’t been reciprocated. The question on people’s minds has been
will convert to Judaism, not whether Mezvinsky will embrace
Whatever Clinton eventually decides, already her choice of
a Jewish mate and the ho-hum response from the masses indicates how
Jews have become in US society.
“In the mid-20th century, Jews were the
least prestigious white ethnic group in America,” according to Steven
expert on American Jewry. “Half a century later, they are among the most
prestigious, most desirable and most sought-after family members for
of all backgrounds.”
He pointed out that Clinton has been participating
in Jewish rituals such as Shabbat meals and at least one Yom Kippur
that whether she formally converts or not, she is already part of a
trend in American Jewish life.
“Many non-Jewish spouses are going through
sociological conversions rather than rabbinical conversions.
becoming in effect members of the Jewish community without official
instruction or authorization,” he noted. “Sociological conversions may
biggest denomination of converts today.”
Of course, with a combined four
parents at the weddings having held elected office, the couple could
choose to hold a civil ceremony with no need for religious officiates.
fact, former president Bill Clinton performed such a role himself this
weekend when he married New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Jew and a
Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton and a Muslim.
for sure, according to former Clinton White House staffer Steve
wedding won’t feature any interfaith awkwardness.
The Clintons are a
family well familiar with the hora, chair-hoisting and other Jewish
should they be included in the festivities.
“They probably know how to do
the sheva brachot,” he said.