Businessman Jared Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump.
(photo credit: REPRODUCTION PHOTO: BENNY RON)
Prior to Ivanka Trump’s conversion to Judaism in 2010, she and her then-boyfriend Jared Kushner broke up briefly over their religious differences before marrying a year later, The New Yorker reported.
Kushner and Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, split in 2008, prompting a common friend, Wendi Deng Murdoch — the former wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch — to bring the two back together on a weekend yacht trip, according to the report Tuesday.
Ivanka Trump completed an Orthodox conversion to Judaism, Kushner’s faith by birth, and the couple’s three children are being brought up in the religion.
Friends of the couple told The New Yorker that the 2008 breakup between Trump and Kushner, who met in 2005, was connected to the fact that Kushner’s parents hoped their son would marry a Jewish woman. He was brought up in a modern Orthodox household.
“I know he loved Ivanka dearly,” Kushner’s friend Nitin Saigal told The New Yorker. “But the religious thing was important to him.”
Donald Trump is Presbyterian, and Ivanka Trump — who in the documentary “Born Rich” appears wearing a necklace with a silver cross — was not what Kushner’s parents had in mind. Ivanka Trump, for her part, was hurt that Kushner did not unequivocally take her side against his parents, leading to the breakup, according to The New Yorker.
She told Vogue of Kushner: “It was nice finding someone who is a genuinely good person. I don’t take that for granted. I feel really lucky to have met, like, a great New Jersey boy.”
Kushner attended Harvard, where he purchased properties to convert into condominiums. Throughout college he ate in the kosher dining hall and invited classmates to attend Shabbat dinners.
Kushner went on to helm the family business, revamping Kushner Companies to hold a stake in New York’s real estate market before he was part of a $2 billion deal to buy up prime properties from Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn Heights.
Last month, Donald Trump appeared to cite his daughter’s Jewishness in deflecting accusations that promotional content associated with his campaign had featured anti-Semitic motifs. The accusation followed the posting last month on Twitter of a picture of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton against a background of $100 bills; a six-pointed star branded her the “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” According to The New Yorker, it was posted by a member of Trump’s campaign staff.
Urged to react Kushner, the publisher of the New York Observer, published a statement in which he said Donald Trump was not anti-Semitic.
In the letter, his first public statement of the campaign, Kushner cited his background as the grandson of Holocaust survivors and said the tweet was an innocent mistake.