Monday, August 2, 2010

What's the Big Deal?

This will be a very short post. I just want to know what's changed.

There was so much press about the wedding - no, the Wedding - this past weekend, and in particular among my colleagues about the nature of a wedding with a Jewish participant and a rabbinic co-officiant on a Shabbat afternoon, with huppah (bridal canopy) and a ketubah (marriage contract)... Mah pit'om? What's the deal all of a sudden?

Why are we suddenly so filled with opinion about the nature of intermarriage in this country? Are Marc and Chelsea the first couple to cross the religion line? Hardly. They're frankly not even the first celebrity couple to do so.

Think Caroline Kennedy and Arthur Schlossberg. Not a hiccup. Back in the 70s, Henry Kissinger chose to marry on a Saturday afternoon, and there was indeed a response in the Jewish community about his insensitivity, even though he was marrying a non-Jewish woman. Even Sandy Koufax, American Judaism's hero for not playing on Yom Kippur, married a non-Jewish woman.

So what's the big deal about Marc Mezvinsky?

And you know - that's not a rhetorical question. I don't understand why there's such an uproar, a struggle over "is this good for the Jews." This is not the first interfaith marriage to take place, not the first to have a rabbinic presence, not the first to have a huppah - no one mentioned whether he broke a glass. (For so many families, that's the essence of a marriage where a Jew is involved - you gotta break a glass.) Is this a trumpeting of our having Arrived - look at the celebrity family he's marrying into? Certainly this can't be about the threat of intermarriage - if this couple is the first glimmer of intermarriage you're reading about, what planet did you just arrive from?

So - somebody out there - please clue me in. What's the big deal?

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