So Chelsea Clinton is marrying a Jewish fellow up the road in Rhinebeck this weekend.
There’s a lot of speculation in the Jewish world about whether she will convert.
The Jerusalem Post notes:
Whatever Clinton eventually decides, already her choice of a Jewish mate and the ho-hum response from the masses indicates how accepted Jews have become in US society.
“In the mid-20th century, Jews were the least prestigious white ethnic group in America,” according to Steven Cohen, an expert on American Jewry. “Half a century later, they are among the most prestigious, most desirable and most sought-after family members for Americans of all backgrounds.”
He pointed out that Clinton has been participating in Jewish rituals such as Shabbat meals and at least one Yom Kippur service, so that whether she formally converts or not, she is already part of a significant trend in American Jewish life.
“Many non-Jewish spouses are going through sociological conversions rather than rabbinical conversions.
They’re becoming in effect members of the Jewish community without official rabbinical instruction or authorization,” he noted. “Sociological conversions may be the biggest denomination of converts today.”
The Forward wrote up a nice introduction to the groom, Marc Mezvinsky, and his family.
It starts with this:
With her choice of a mate, Clinton, daughter of a former president and the current secretary of state, is marrying into a family that includes a former U.S. congressman convicted of fraud; another member of Congress who fell on her sword for a future in-law in a vote that ended her political career; no fewer than 10 brothers- and sisters-in-law, and a fervently anti-Zionist uncle.
Sounds like quite a family.
That’s where the wedding will take place, by the way: Astor Courts in Rhinebeck.
JewishJournal.com raises a bunch of questions about why Clinton should convert — if she’s even remotely interested.
Columnist Danielle Berrin writes:
We’re dealing with a Clinton here. Not a stupid woman, a dependent woman or a desperate woman. Clinton is well educated, comes from a good family, is independently successful and has ambition in the world. And we’re raising debate over her spiritual future by lobbing facts and figures about the declining Jewish populace and the fact that Conservative rabbis are forbidden from officiating at intermarriages? We’re going to have to come up with a more compelling argument than that. What we should be talking about is what Judaism might bring to her life, to her marriage, to her raising children, to her sense of purpose in the world.
(AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File)