The Shmooze

Chelsea Clinton Receives Interfaith Award from AJC

By Masha Leon

A poised in a black suit and white shirt Chelsea Clinton, recipient of the American Jewish Committee’s Interfaith Award at its Spring Luncheon, brought back the memory of the 16-year old First Family daughter when I first met her in August 1996 at President Bill Clinton’s 50th birthday-cum-Democratic Fund raiser trifecta.

At the ($1500 ticket) crush which took place at the New York Sheraton Hotel, a poised, smiling Chelsea in a black silk satin dress — next to mom (Hillary Clinton) in an all pink ensemble — made the first cut into the $14,000 vanilla 300 lb. (kosher by William Greenberg, Jr.) American-flag-shaped cake.

This was followed by a Radio City Hall star-studded extravaganza emceed by Whoopi Goldberg at which 6000 people ($300-$600 ticket) sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President!” and ended with a late night $15,000/plate private dinner. Teenage Chelsea was poised and never stopped smiling.

This time around, 350 guests at The Pierre looked on as a blonde Clinton and Prof. Linda Mills —co-founders of the Of Many Institute at New York University — received the AJCS’ Interfaith Leadership Award for their program which offers academic courses and dialogue events to “deepen understanding among different faiths on campus and in the NYC community in general.” The Institute was inspired by the “increasing cooperative relationship between Imam Khalid Latif and Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, NYU’s Muslim and Jewish chaplains.

Ellen Dubin Photography
Chelsea Clinton

During the 30-minute conversation with AJC Executive Director David Harris, Clinton — who serves on the boards of the School of American Ballet, Weill Cornell Medical College and “Common Sense Media,” (among others) and mommy-to-be, amplified: “I am deeply optimistic that this work will be taken up on other campuses and in other communities.”

Mills, Vice Chancellor for Global Programs and University Life at NYU, co-produced and co-directed the documentary film “Auf Wiedersehen: ‘Til We Meet Again,”exploring the intergenerational transmission of trauma from the Holocaust to 9-11. Mills is also directing (along with with Chelsea Clinton) a new documentary short called “Of Many,” about a friendship between an Orthodox Rabbi and Imam that unites a community around multi-faith dialogue and action.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, president of Merck Vaccines, was presented with the AJC’s Women’s Global Leadership Award by its president “Stanley Bergman.” A passionate advocate for sustainable solutions for global health, Dr. Gerberding served as Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2002-2009 and led the agency through more than 40 emergency responses to public health crises including anthrax bioterrorism, SARS, food-borne disease outbreaks and natural disasters. She was named to Forbes Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2005-2008 and to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2004.

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Chelsea Clinton Is Pregnant!

By Anne Cohen

Chelsea Clinton announced on Thursday she is pregnant with the first grandchild of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Mark and I are very excited that we have our first child arriving later this year,” Chelsea Clinton said referring to her husband Marc Mezvinsky. She spoke to the audience at a New York event while sitting on a stage with her mother.

The grandparents-to-be took to Twitter to kvell:

Sitting with her mother in side-by-side armchairs on a stage at a New York City event on empowering women, Clinton delivered the news with a broad smile.

The audience at “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” organized by the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, immediately broke into applause and cheers.

“I certainly feel all the better whether it’s a girl or a boy that she or he will grow up in a world full of so many strong young female leaders,” said Chelsea Clinton, who works for the family foundation and is a correspondent for NBC News.

“Thank you for inspiring me and thank you for inspiring future generations, including the one that we’ll be lucky enough to welcome into our family later this year,” she told the audience.

It was unclear how news of the first Clinton grandchild will affect the political ambitions of grandmother-to-be Hillary Clinton, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016.

Former president Clinton told reporters in Davos, Switzerland, in 2011: “I would like to have a happy wife, and she won’t be unless she’s a grandmother… It’s something she wants more than she wanted to be president.”

With Reuters

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Marc Mezvinsky's Apartment For Sale

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky

If you can’t keep up with the Clintons, you can at least try and live like them.

Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton’s banker hubby, is unloading his $4.5 million apartment at the Grand Madison, a 12-story, 191-unit building at 225 Fifth Avenue, the Real Deal reported. Mezvinsky, 35, had reportedly purchased the three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath condo for $4 million in 2008.

The couple, who had been living in the apartment since their wedding in 2010, have just closed on a $10 million 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom, 6 1/2- bath apartment at the nearby Whitman, across from Madison Square Park. The five-story luxury building has a key-locked elevator and one apartment per floor.

According to the New York Post, Clinton’s rep noted “Chelsea and Marc love the neighborhood and are excited to be staying close by.”

President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toured the apartment in March and gave their seal of approval, pausing to take pictures with some of the construction workers.

In the meantime, for a mere $4.5 million in spare pennies, you too can get a taste of the high life.

Check out the couple’s new pad below:

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Bill Clinton Wins Father Of The Year

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton and Bill Clinton

It’s not everyday that your achievements in fatherhood merit both recognition from the community and a TextFromHillary.

Former President Bill Clinton was honored by the National Father’s Day Committee at the 72nd Annual Father Of The Year Awards, during a lunch benefiting Save The Children on Tuesday. Presented with the award by daughter Chelsea, he joked:

“I [received] a text message from Hillary [Clinton] saying, ‘Congratulations. I think you deserve this.’ In our family, that’s a very big deal,” he said in his acceptance speech. The honor has been given out by the National Father’s Day Committee since 1942.

It’s unclear which was more significant (after all, quips from Hillary are rare gems.

Chelsea, whose presence at the ceremony was a surprise, gushed over her daddy.“Every day he’s my dad, and I don’t need an award to tell me he’s the best that I ever could have hoped for,” she said. “But I’m grateful he’s getting the recognition that I, of course, his unapologetically biased daughter, think he’s always deserved.”

The 33-year old added that hubby Marc Mezvinsky will have a hard act to follow. “Of all reasons that I’m proud of my father, I’m most proud that he’s my dad and that he’s always been there for me. And he’s set the bar very high for my husband, as Marc [Mezvinsky] and I think about having our own children,” she said. “He has always provided me a safe place to land and a hard place from which to launch.”

In his acceptance speech, Clinton added that despite his heavy load of responsibilities, first as Governor of Arkansas and then as President of the United States, his daughter has always been his first priority. According to Parade magazine, he concluded by recounting an episode from Chelsea’s birth, during which he had to fight with the hospital staff who wouldn’t let him be present for his wife’s Cesarean section “If you send her into that room without me, I think you’re making a big mistake … I want to see my daughter born,” he remembered saying. Eventually, the doctors gave in. “They let me go in and hold Hillary’s hand. I saw Chelsea come out, and it changed the hospital’s policy on letting fathers into the delivery room when surgery was required. And from that day to this, I have believed without the shadow of a doubt that it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”

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Chelsea Clinton Touts Israeli Coffee App

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton

Chelsea Clinton really loves coffee.

On Wednesday, she took to Facebook to gush about CUPS-Unlimited Coffee, the Israeli coffee app that allows users to enjoy unlimited coffee at 55 participating Tel Aviv coffee shops for $45 a month.

“Pretty incredible!” she wrote. “An Israeli startup created an all-you-can-drink coffee app for coffee addicts (like me!). I think we need something like this in America.”

We agree (as do the 664 people who “liked” her post).

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Jewish Stars Shine Bright At Met Gala

By Anne Cohen

Despite the reported confusion and last-minute panic caused by this year’s theme (the rich and famous apparently missed the boat on CBGB), the Met Gala red carpet was all glitz and glam for “Punk: Chaos to Couture.”

From Sarah Jessica Parker’s mohawk headdress, to Madonna’s (granted, not Jewish, but would like to be) ACDC-like schoolboy outfit, we’ve rounded up some of the best looks of the evening.

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#EarthDay Wisdom From The Stars

By Anne Cohen

Celebrities being the arbiters of good taste when it comes to good deeds and causes, they were out in hordes on the Twitter-sphere to remind us to reduce, recycle, and be better people on this 43rd annual Earth Day.

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Chelsea Clinton On Hillary, And Running For Office

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton at CGIU

In an intriguing interview on Monday’s “Today Show,” Chelsea Clinton said that she would be open to running for office someday.

“Right now I’m grateful to live in a city, in a state and a country where I strongly support my mayor, my governor, my president, my senators and my representative,” she said, adding that “If at some point that weren’t true and I thought I could make a meaningful and measurably greater impact, I’d have to ask and answer that question.”

As for whether or not her mother, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be running for president in 2016, anything is possible.

“I deeply respect and appreciate all of the admiration and respect and gratitude for my mother’s service,” Clinton said. “As a daughter, I very much want her to make the right choice for herself. I know that will be the right choice for our country, and I’ll support her in whatever she chooses to do.”

After years of shrinking from the spotlight, Chelsea Clinton has stepped up her game. She recently took a leading role at CGIU, the Clinton Global Initiative’s meeting for college students, where she appeared with daddy Bill and moderated panels and discussions, and appeared on the cover of Parade on Sunday.

Surprisingly, Chelsea doesn’t attribute her interest in public service to her parents, but rather to her grandmother, Hillary’s mother, who died in 2011. “She probably didn’t think of it as urging,” Chelsea told “Today,” “she definitely thought of it as, you know, grandmotherly nagging, and she exercised that prerogative often.”

Bubbe knows best.

Watch the whole interview here:

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Chelsea Clinton and Hubby Buy $10.5M Condo

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky

Hey NoMad, you have new neighbors!

Chelsea Clinton and hubby Marc Mezvinsky have signed a contract for a $10.5 million condo across the street from Madison Square Park, the New York Post reported Thursday.

The couple will be moving into 5000-square-feet on the fourth floor of 21 East 26th Street, including four bedrooms, six and a half baths, a media room, and views of the park (see pictures below). The gigantic master suite has two baths and two dressing rooms — essential for any couple who plans on staying married.

Condo fees are $4,342 a month, and the monthly real-estate taxes are $7,913, MSN Real Estate reported.

The aforementioned full-floor condo is located in a new Flatiron development called The Whitman, a residential building converted from a 1924 showroom owned by the plumber’s union. Tres chic.

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Photo Op: Chelsea Clinton Combats Islamophobia

By Eileen Reynolds

Nancy Adler
From left: Imam Shamsi Ali, Rabbi Marc Schneier and Chelsea Clinton

A year and a half after her wedding to investment banker Marc Mezvinsky, Chelsea Clinton is keeping busy. In addition to her work for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative, she’s also serving as a correspondent for NBC and pursuing her doctoral degree in public service.

And last night, Clinton headed to New York City’s Upper West Side to moderate a discussion between Rabbi Marc Schneier, founder and president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Imam Shamsi Ali, leader of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York.

The JCC in Manhattan event, framed as a conversation about Islamic relations, was titled “Combating Islamophobia.”

Click to enlarge the photo at right.

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Trouble in Paradise? Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky Living Apart

By Michael Kaminer

No sooner did the New York Post report that Mr. Chelsea Clinton — otherwise known as Marc Mezvinsky — had quit his hedge-fund job to become a “ski bum” than chatter about the couple’s marriage started burning up gossip sites. The investment banker “is forgoing work at New York-based hedge fund G3 Capital to hit the slopes for a few months in Jackson Hole, Wyo.,” the Post wrote. Only at the end of the item did the Post’s Page Six column note that “the happy couple lives — albeit separately while Marc hits the slopes — in an apartment on Fifth Avenue that Mezvinsky bought in 2008.”

For celeb site Hollywood Life, that sentence spelled possible doom for the young power couple. “This is definitely a bad sign,” a Beverly Hills psychologist named Dr. Carole Lieberman told the site. “He seems to be struggling under the pressure of being a husband, especially knowing that Chelsea wants a baby … The first year of marriage is supposed to continue the honeymoon as long as possible.”

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Israeli Newspaper Bashes Clinton Wedding

By Nathan Jeffay

Still kvelling about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, complete with keutba and tallit? Well the Israeli newspaper Yated Neeman wants you to stop.

The ever-earnest Yated Ne’eman never runs items on celebrities – it is one of the two rabbinically-endorsed newspapers of Israel’s Haredi community. But when it came to Chelsea, it made an exception.

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Chelsea's Ketubah (and Her Dress)

By Gabrielle Birkner

Check out Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky’s ketubah, the groom’s tallis — and, of course, the bride’s dress.

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Meet the Rabbi Who Officiated at Chelsea's Wedding

By Gabrielle Birkner
Rabbi James Ponet (click to enlarge)

The New York Times is reporting that Rabbi James Ponet officiated, alongside Reverend William Shillady, at the Saturday evening wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky.

Ponet is Yale’s Jewish chaplain and heads the university’s Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. Read his bio here. At Yale, he’s taught a seminar on “The Family in Jewish Tradition,” with sexpert and Bintel Brief guest columnist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

He has written about the Hanukkah story for Slate, and, back in 2003, the Forward reported that Ponet was among those who voiced concerns about controversial poet Amiri Baraka’s visit to Yale. During that visit, Baraka offered “evidence” that Israel was forewarned about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

A Reform rabbi, Ponet received ordinationin 1973 from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

The Clinton-Mezvinsky nuptials took place about two hours before the end of Shabbat.

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Clinton Wedding: Here Comes the Bride (Finally)

By Devra Ferst

This week the Forward has rounded up all the facts (read: rumors) on the nuptials of our favorite first daughter Chelsea Clinton to New York i-banker Marc Mezvinksy.

We’ve told you all about the guy, dished about how the MOTB really feels about the wedding, revealed the Yiddish past of Rhinebeck, NY, the supposed site of the blessed event, and even imagined a WikiLeaks from the wedding’s headquarters.

At this point, we have to ask, aren’t you sick of it? Thank goodness that Shabbos dinner for the Mezvinsky-Clinton clan will be the rehearsal dinner so we can all take a break, raise our kiddush cups and say “Mazel Tov to Marc and Chelsea.” (We’ll wait with bated breath for the real deets from the wedding on Sunday morning.)

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Clinton Wedding: WikiLeaks at the Wedding

By Dan Friedman

The Forward has learned that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is not in Melbourne, Australia, as has been widely reported. According to documents that Assange accidentally leaked to his own website, Assange has set up shop in Rhinecliff, NY, where he and anonymous volunteers are amassing top-secret information about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding to Marc Mezvinsky.

The Forward has managed to plant moles in the Assange team, who have been issuing a steady stream of revelations about America’s most highly classified nuptials. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Although President Obama has not been invited, he will attempt to crash the wedding posing as SNL cast member Fred Armisen, an old friend of the Clintons.
  • Al Gore will be attending and, after his recent separation, will be bringing the Internet as his date.
  • One of the ushers will be Usher.
  • The teams for post-dinner charades have already been decided, and the early money is on Oprah, Steven Spielberg and Doris Kearns Goodwin as the team to beat. According to X-rays of the game envelopes, the first answer appears to be “Saved By the Bell,” or “The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993.”
  • In honor of the wedding, the town of Clinton, NY, 15 miles from Rhinebeck, will change its name to I Give It Three Years, NY.

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Clinton Wedding: It's More Jewish Than You Think

By Lauren F. Friedman

As Jews across America wait with bated breath to find out whether Chelsea will join the tribe (next question: Bar Mitzvahs for the children?) and the interfaith pair prepares for their world-famous nuptials rumored to be in Rhinebeck, NY let’s take a moment to remember: Now is not the first time Jewish eyes have zeroed in on this scenic Hudson Valley hamlet.

Between 1923 and 1979, the Rhinebeck area was the site of Camp Boiberik, a Yiddish culture camp. In a 1998 article in the Forward, former camper Mara Sokolsky recalled “an East European, socialist, Yiddish cultural overlay that permeated everything we did.” There were normal summer camp activities, but there were also mostly-secular Shabbat services, a peacenik camp logo and an abundance of singing in Yiddish. (Certainly, this is all the evidence we need to prove that Bill Clinton is a Communist.)

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Clinton Wedding: So, Who's the Guy?

By Lauren F. Friedman

If you’ve been reading all of the Chelsea Clinton-Marc Mezvinsky wedding news and wondering, “Chelsea who?”, then happy fifth birthday. But for everyone else, the big question is: Who is this Marc fellow, and how did he win the heart of America’s least drunk first daughter?

1) Marc is the Jewish half of this interfaith union. He was raised Conservative — along with his 10 siblings — on Philadelphia’s tony Main Line. His Bar Mitzvah video has not been found on YouTube. Yet.

2) While no Mezvinsky has ever been leader of the free world or uttered the phrase “sexual relations” on national TV, Marc has grown up around politics and scandal, just like his bride. His parents (now divorced), Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and Edward Mezvinsky, both served in Congress and have been longtime allies of the Clintons. (You could say Marc’s mom is an excellent wingman: She cast the deciding vote in favor of Bill’s 1993 tax bill.) Edward Mezvinsky, meanwhile, was convicted of fraud in connection with various Nigerian email scams; he served a seven year prison term and was released in 2008.

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Clinton Wedding: No Comment, Shut Up, Go Away

By Lauren F. Friedman

With the (reportedly) $2 million wedding of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky just days away, the press is all over this historic affair, spending many hours getting all the deets — or at least trying to.

Every day this week, as the country’s best investigative reporters blanket the Hudson Valley, Shmooze will update its readers on the latest developments emerging around what New York Magazine has dubbed The Most Important Wedding in the World. If there are no notable developments on any given day, don’t worry: We’ll update you anyway. Why? Because we are The Press, and this is The Story.

To start, let’s review what we know so far:

1) The wedding will probably be this Saturday in Rhinebeck, a picturesque Hudson Valley town, although the Clintons have not officially confirmed this. The Wall Street Journal, for one, has an article called “Rhinebeck Conspiracy Theory” that quotes the town’s mayor saying it might be a “decoy location.” Truth-telling or smoke and mirrors? Nobody knows. Fear not: After a careful investigative analysis — The New York Times’ two reporters embedded in Rhinebeck wrote that “you can practically feel the shopkeepers biting their tongues” and described another local who was forbidden from disclosing details as “stricken-sounding.” If that’s not evidence, nothing is.

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Clintons: Surviving as MOTB, FOTB and Converting

By Ilana Arazie

“If you can survive being an MOTB, being the special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism seems like a relief,” Hillary Clinton quipped recently to fellow MOTB – Mother of the Bride – U.S. Special Envoy To Combat Antisemitism Hannah Rosenthal at an event honoring Rosenthal in Washington.

Clinton has been taking time from Middle East policy to help her daughter Chelsea with tastings and dress fittings for her upcoming wedding to Marc Mezvinsky on July 31. Specifics of the wedding have been kept so quiet that “details are harder to ferret out than the president’s Afghanistan strategy,” the New York Times Style Section declared this Sunday.

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