Let’s make clear that Jewdar has much love for The Forward. But when they screw up, they screw up. In this week’s issue, there was have a rundown of the Forward 50. That’s the Forward’s list of Jews to watch out for (in the Sergey Brin way, not the Bernie Madoff way)—sort of like an underachieving Heeb 100. Anyway, most of them are meritorious enough, or at least influential in some way, but clocking in as a very special guest-starring #51 was Marc Mezvinsky and his wife. In case you were unaware, Mezvinsky is an investment banker, and the son of two former members of the US House of Representatives (whom the Forward, for some reason, describes as “Jewish immigrants” when they were born in Iowa and Pennsylvania, respectively). All in all, he seems to be doing okay for himself. So why is he mentioned in this prestigious company? He married a shiksa.
Now, according to the Forward, the wedding “reinvigorated the intermarriage conversation for a new generation of Jews,”
“telegraphed to the world that Judaism has nothing to hide,” and ” “captivated the American imagination.” Like a good wedding smorgasbord, this is the kind of drivel that leaves Jewdar at once slavering but unsure about where to start. This is the thing that telegraphs that Judaism has nothing to hide? In a world where Jews and Jewishness are omnipresent, is there anybody outside of the white supremacy movement that believes Judaism is hiding anything? As for “captivating the American imagination,” we think that, even as omnipresent as Jewishness is, “the American imagination” is still not synonymous with “Jewish obsessiveness.” And finally, since when does the “conversation” around intermarriage require reinvigorating? The Jewdars have a perfectly vigorous conversation about it every Sunday morning, over the NY Times wedding section. It goes a little like this:
“Oh, [insert name], you really let down the home team.”
“You’re going to abandon 3,000 years of tradition for that?” [Jewdar Note–You know that when Arthur Miller was marrying Marilyn Monroe, his dad probably took him aside and said “Arthur, your mother is very upset, but between you and me? Niiiiiiiiiice.”]
“If you’re going to marry someone who looks like that Jewish, you might as well marry a Jew.”
And so on. No reinvigorating necessary.
Now, we sincerely wish Mr. and Mrs. Mezvinsky nothing but the best. It’s the 21st century, and intermarriage is hardly something to get worked up over. And that’s the point. We certainly don’t expect The Forward to condemn an intermarriage. But also don’t expect them to praise one either, particularly in such effusive terms. Say what you will about the Heeb 100—maybe some of the people we’ve tapped haven’t exactly been Sammy Davis Jr., but at least they were recognized for doing something. All Mr. Mezvinsky did was something that people do every day of the week, except that the bride in question is Chelsea Clinton. That leads us to the observation made by Jewdar’s mother that this is a real betrayal of the Forward’s origins, not because it’s celebrating an intermarriage, but because it’s pandering to the rich and famous.
Ultimately, whatever your feelings about intermarriage, this kvelling over Mezvinsky is like the TMZ of wedding announcements. “Look, something is happening that is completely mundane and uninteresting–but it’s being done by someone famous!” For our money, the only trip under the chupah from 5770 that deserves public adulation is the Kushner-Trump affair, which showed that a nice, rich Jewish boy can fall in love with a hot shiksa, marry her, and still end up with a pious daughter of Israel (and did we mention she’s loaded?)