Sisterhood Blog

For Chelsea Clinton, a Jewish Fiancé

By Sarah Seltzer

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Today we learned that Chelsea Clinton, seen at right, will be the latest celebrity to walk down the aisle with a Jewish partner — her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky. And thus, the most powerful liberal political dynasty in the country has firmly allied itself with the Chosen People.

It’s unclear whether, like Ivanka Trump did earlier this year, the Methodist-raised Clinton will convert before tying the knot — and perhaps signing a ketubah. Chances are she won’t convert, but we do know that she was reportedly spotted with Mezvinsky attending Yom Kippur services at Manhattan’s Jewish Theological Seminary.

Like sex symbol Jon Hamm’s devotion to his Jewish partner Jennifer Westfeldt did, a non-Jewish celebrity choosing a Jewish partner causes flutterings of pride in some, and anxiety about intermarriage among others. But in this case, it’s also symbol to many of how far we’ve come. As Sylvia Barack Fishman wrote when discussing, on the pages of the Forward, Ivanka Trump’s marriage to real estate scion Jared Kushner:

Marrying a Jew — even becoming a Jew, as Ivanka has done — no longer means removing oneself from high society. On the contrary, becoming a Jew may mean joining one of contemporary American society’s most enticing cultural streams.

It’s true. Jewish political figures like Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod surround President Obama — and even the Roosevelts have a Jewish great grandson, a rabbi no less. So the idea of a Clinton marrying into a Jewish family doesn’t seem so far-fetched. After all, her father raised himself up out of poverty to climb political ranks, but could never quite shake his image as an interloper — a slick, ambitious Southerner who didn’t fit in with the Capitol’s elite.

In that particular aspect, and the vitriolic savageness with which they have been attacked (although they are often their own worst enemies) the Clintons have a distinct familiarity to them — even, I daresay, a hint of Jewishness, given their insider-outsider status. And Mezvinsky’s parents, both former politicians who have seen their share of scandal, appear to have plenty in common with their future machatunim.

In other words, it looks like a good match. So let nine months of speculation over chupah selection, glass-breaking and officiants commence. And to Chelsea Clinton, mazel tov!

Shirley B. Rich Wed. Dec 2, 2009

I love the Clintons. They have worked for America and raised (as far as I know) a lovely daughter. I would like to know more about Marc Mezvinsky and his family. (How do I crash the wedding?) Just kidding.

Was the Forward, the Forvitz in years gone by? When I was a little girl, my uncle read that paper religiously.

Shirley B. Rich Wed. Dec 2, 2009

Incidentally, my family name is Seltzer. We have a family club in MD. called The Seltzer Tree. The family meets once a month for over 60 years. At Passover, we put out a family newspaper called The Boim. This last year, we called it the Oboima in honor of the President. My son Stuart L. Plotnick was Prswident of our club last year and there is a sort of a picture of him shaking hands with the President Obama.

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