A Fishy Union’s Untimely End

By Joshua Yaffa

Published June 23, 2006, issue of June 23, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Married life turned out to be rather anticlimactic for Sharon Tendler. Last week, after a long-distance courtship streching more than 15 years, her beloved groom passed away — a mere six months after the couple’s marriage in the southern Israeli port city of Eilat.

Workers at the Dolphin Reef aquatic park found the groom — a bottlenosed dolphin originally from the Black Sea — floating in its enclosure Sunday. The dolphin, a male who went by Cindy (short for Cinderella), was taken by boat for a burial at sea.

Tendler, a 41-year old English Jew often referred to as an “eccentric millionnaire,” first laid eyes on Cindy during a show at the dolphinarium in Eilat in 1990. In the years that followed, Tendler would travel to Israel several times a year to visit her cetacean sweetheart, and in December of last year the two were “married” in a decidedly unconventional ceremony. Tendler walked down the dock toward Cindy in a flowing white dress and fed the dolphin herring in exchange for kisses. The celebration ended with the two sharing a swim.

“I’m the happiest girl on earth,” Tendler told the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot after the wedding. “The peace and tranquility under water, and his love, would calm me down,” she said.

While the union carried no legal weight, Tendler remarked to the press after the wedding that she was a “one-dolphin woman,” albeit one who was open to “marrying human” at some stage. Tendler was unavailable for comment after Cindy’s death.

In the weeks after the wedding, conservative talk-show host Bill O’Reilly seized on the pair’s interspecies nuptials as an argument against gay marriage, suggesting that allowing homosexual unions could mean that “all other alternative marital visions will be allowed.”

Speaking in Israel this week, Maya Zilber, the late dolphin’s trainer, noted that the animal had been unhealthy for some time. “Cindy swam slowly, and he had problems eating. Sometimes he didn’t eat at all. He vomited and did not look good,” she said.

The Web site of the Dolphin Reef park describes Cindy as being “the Don Juan of the group,” known especially for his “sensual swimming alongside the females.” He is survived by several dolphin offspring in Israel.






Find us on Facebook!
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.