A Chupah For Chelsea?


The July 31 nuptials of former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and her Jewish fiancé, Marc Mezvinsky, are fast approaching, and much about the event remains a closely guarded secret.

While most Americans are eager for details about the dress, the guest list and the location (which almost everyone agrees now is Astor Court in upstate Rhinebeck), for Jews the big question remains: will it be a Jewish wedding?

While WCBS-TV reported last weekend that “the menu will be kosher,” it cited no sources. And no word yet about whether there will be a rabbi, a chupah or any religious rituals, Christian or Jewish, at the ceremony.

The wedding begins at 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday, however, more than an hour before the end of Shabbat. The timing (along with the bride being gentile) narrows the pool of available rabbis, since many rabbis who officiate at interfaith weddings will not do so on the Sabbath.

As with many weddings, guests have been asked to make special special dietary requests known in advance. The report about kosher food came as a surprise to some because the invitation is said to have contained no Hebrew or any Jewish references.

Beyond the wedding, the long-term religious plans of the couple are also shrouded in mystery. The groom, who is the son of two former members of Congress, was raised in a Conservative Jewish family; Clinton is Methodist. They attended Yom Kippur services together last year at Manhattan’s Jewish Theological Seminary. No word yet on whether anyone plans to convert, in what faith (if any) they will raise future children; it is quite possible, in fact that the couple, like many other interfaith couples, remains undecided.

It’s not just Jews speculating about the religious details of the interfaith wedding of the century: articles have appeared in the Associated Press, Babble (a parenting Web site) and AOL’s Politics Daily blog (which included a quote from yours truly) using the wedding as a jumping-off point for larger discussions of intermarriage.