The Intermarriage Secret
On June 4th actress Drew Barrymore marked her third marriage at a service in Montecito along the California coast. The groom, Will Kopelman is the son of supporters for the State of Israel. Pop culture observers reported that Barrymore’s dress was designed by Chanel—an irony since the groom’s father was the former CEO of that company. The wedding was officiated by the Kopelman family rabbi, even though Barrymore is not Jewish.
That same weekend Ashley Biden, daughter of the Vice President, married Dr. Howard Krein, a 45-year-old medical scientist (MD/PhD). Reporters noted their mutual interest in social causes and commitment to public service. They were married at St. Joseph’s of Brandywyne, the Vice Presidential family’s Roman Catholic Church in Delaware. Public relations reports noted that a “rabbi was in attendance. According to published reports, Dr. Krein’s Jewish family also attended the church service.
The May 19 marriage of Facebook’s Jewish founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and his long-time girlfriend, Priscilla Chan, was like a popping party-favor wrapped in secrets. Though Zuckerberg and Chan had been together since meeting as undergrads at Harvard and living together since 2010, none of the guests knew that they were arriving to attend a wedding. In fact, they were told it was a celebration of the bride’s med school graduation. Some also knew that it was the groom’s birthday and were aware that it followed the initial public offering of his company on Wall Street.
Hollywood reporters gushed about “her dress” and “his blue suit.” Zuckerberg updated his Facebook profile with “Married Priscilla Chan” and within 24 hours had 850,000 “Likes.”
This was big news. It was the intermarriage of a Jewish culture icon and the brilliant granddaughter of Chinese immigrants. Setting all the cultural observations aside, very little information was available about any religious foundation for their wedding. In fact, if there were any religious beliefs or elements in the ceremony, they were well-kept secrets.
The ceremony was held in the Palo Alto backyard of their home. Zuckerberg wrote their vows. There is no indication whether his words reflected wisdom from the Jewish sages or the poetic hope that they will be sustained by “the wind beneath their wings.”
The fact that more than 52% of all Jewish marriages now partner with Gentiles is not news. That has been the case since 1985. However, some 75% of those Jewish-Gentile marriages suffer dissatisfaction or end in disillusion. We want to provide encouragement for Jewish-Gentile couples.
That cause for hope is not based on some esoteric secret knowledge. We believe the Scriptures teach that a man and a woman will find in the Lord God reconciliation, intimacy and spiritual harmony, even if they are married as a Jew and a Gentile, when they seek to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That hope is available in the path that the Lord lays out for everyone – Jews and Gentiles. There is no great secret involved.
Contact us if you would welcome resources and assistance to pursue that path to spiritual harmony. God has spoken plainly through His prophet Isaiah, “Approach me and listen to this. From the beginning I had not spoken in secret; from the time anything existed, I was there. And now the Lord God has sent me and His Spirit” (Isaiah 48:16 HCSB).
A few questions to think about…
- What do you think about the fact that, out of the five Jewish celebrity marriages in June, four were Jewish-Gentile couples?
- Can you identify the only Jewish celebrity marriage that involved two Jews?
- Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied
- Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
- Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig
- Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller
- Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald
(Answer: Rogen and Miller)
- Why do you think celebrity couples don’t last very long, especially marriages between famous Jewish-Gentile partners? (i.e. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore)
- What do you think is a solid foundation for a healthy marriage? What role does religious faith play in that?