The Shmooze

Joe Biden's Daughter Marries Jewish Doctor

By Laura Goldman

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Official White House Photo- David Lienemann

Vice President Biden’s daughter Ashley married Dr. Howard Krein, a Jewish doctor from Philadelphia, on Saturday at the bucolic St. Joseph’s of the Brandywine in Wilmington, Delaware, which is the same church where she was baptized. In the official statement released by the vice president’s office, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden said, “We’re happy to welcome Howard into our family, and we wish them all the best in their new life together.”

The wedding ceremony, which was limited to 200 close family and friends of the bride and groom, was officiated by a Catholic priest, Father David Murphy, and a Reform Jewish Rabbi, Joseph M. Forman of Or Chadash synagogue in Flemington, N.J. Forman, a graduate of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Learning in Cincinnati, Ohio, assures the Forward that the ceremony contained the typical elements of the Jewish and Catholic wedding ceremonies.

“A Ketubah was signed. The couple got married under a beautiful chuppah, made of natural branches with a cloth covering,” he said. The wedding ceremony started with the traditional burach habim and included the priestly blessing and the shevai brachot. The groom stepped on a glass at the end.”

Biden and Krein did not just go through the motions for a Jewish ceremony. Forman revealed that he met with the couple several times for prenuptial counseling.

A congregant whose mother is a friend of the Bidens asked Forman if he would perform the wedding. He has regularly officiated at interfaith weddings, but this is the first time that he did so in a church. The rabbi shrugs off criticism about the location.

“I wish more of my colleagues, who were approached by interfaith couples seeking to include Jewish rituals in their lifecycle events, were more welcoming,” said the Rabbi, who is the son of a rabbi and has a sister that is also a rabbi and one that is a cantor. “The National Jewish Population Survey found that interfaith couples that had a Jewish clergyman at their wedding were more likely to belong to a Jewish organization than those where no Jewish clergyman was present.”

For those keeping track, this is the second prominent interfaith marriage in as many weeks. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, last week.

Since Biden often speaks of his Irish Catholic roots on the campaign trail, it would have almost been heresy if the wedding was not in a church. But it’s also not surprising that he or Jill reached out to find a rabbi so that his future son in law’s family would be comfortable at the wedding.

Dr. Krein, 45, is quite the catch. He is double board certified in otolaryngology and plastic surgery and has a PhD in cell and developmental biology. He is an assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University as well as maintaining a busy medical practice. Krein, who is a Cherry Hill, N.J. native, also serves as chief medical officer of Organized Wisdom, a company founded by his brother to provide digital solutions to medical professionals. Most importantly, he is a mensch. Despite being a busy, successful physician, his practice still treats Medicaid patients. He spends several weeks a year volunteering his services to underprivileged children around the world, soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and victims of domestic violence. As his patient, I can only use superlatives to describe his patient care.

Ashley, 31, shares his commitment to helping the unfortunate. She is a social worker for the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families.

His parents, Bunny and Stanley Krein, have long been active in the Cherry Hill Jewish community. Mrs. Krein’s Facebook is filled with pictures from her last trip to Israel. She “likes” an Israeli organization that decries the leftist bias of the media against Israel, Hosem.


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