Apologies for the infrequent attendance here in blogland. I was on a reporting trip in Florida last week, and am still catching up on things. Plus, I managed to get drafted (OK, I recklessly volunteered) to chair my temple’s Purim carnival, which, as you can imagine, consumes just a fair amount of time.
Speaking of Purim, I believe The Book of Esther is the only Bible story in which a) a Jewish woman intermarries and b) the intermarriage actually directly benefits the larger Jewish community, since Esther is able to use her standing with the king to rescue her people.
Can a ‘fun’-based Hebrew school run by a charismatic woman work magic for supplemental education?
Greenwich, Conn. — It’s a sunny, crisp Sunday morning in October, and inside the auditorium of the stately Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich building, about 50 kids, many wearing red hoodies and soccer shirts of various colors emblazoned with the words “Hebrew Wizards,” are sitting cross-legged on a large, brightly colored rug, singing “It is A Tree of Life,” a folk version of the song “Eitz Chaim.”
I have been greatly remiss in my blogging duties this week, due to writing four articles (and editing countless more) for an upcoming Jewish Week special section on education.
I do hope you all managed to find something to read in my absence — perhaps even a book or something radical like that! The demise of old-fashioned printed media is on my mind these days not just because I’m a journalist but also because I’m in the middle of the about-to-be-intermarried Gary Shteyngart’s fabulous “Super Sad True Love Story,” which, in addition to satirizing virtually every aspect of our tech-obsessed modern American lives, features a romance between a Russian-American Jew and a Korean-American Christian.
A ketubah behind them, the bride and groom stood under a chupah with a rabbi, listened to friends recite the Sheva Brachot — and at the end of the ceremony, the tallit-wearing groom stepped on a glass.
But Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky’s long-awaited wedding Saturday night was not your average Jewish ceremony.
That’s not just because the parents held aloft on chairs at the reception included a former U.S. president, the current U.S. secretary of state and two former members of Congress.
And it wasn’t only because the ceremony occurred before Shabbat’s end. It was also because Rabbi James Ponet (pronounced Po-NET), Hebrew Union College-ordained and the longtime director of Yale University’s Slifka Center for Jewish Life, co-officiated alongside Rev. William Shillady, a Methodist minister.
Even as the number of liberal rabbis willing to preside at weddings of Jews to gentiles appears to be growing, co-officiation with clergy of another faith, while hardly unheard of, remains taboo.