In his increasingly competitive re-election campaign, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman has faced tough criticism from within his own party for supporting the Iraq War. But even as pundits and pollsters debate the incumbent senator’s political ties to the neoconservative movement, the Shmooze has learned that the ties soon will become familial, as well. Lieberman’s daughter Rebecca is engaged to be married to Jacob Wisse, son of Harvard professor and fiery pro-Israel hardliner Ruth Wisse.
The nuptials will bring together two of the leading names in American Jewish life and letters. Ruth Wisse is one of the county’s foremost authorities on Jewish literature, while the older Lieberman is easily the country’s best-known Jewish politician. Both have hewed close to the Bush administration’s hard line on the Middle East.
Word of the union has triggered some buzz in media circles. According to one story making the rounds, Rebecca Lieberman, long accustomed to being asked by strangers if she is the senator’s daughter, was surprised to find, at a recent party for Commentary magazine — long a home for right-leaning Jewish thought — that it was her fiance who was the bigger attraction. “You’re Ruth Wisse’s son?” star-struck partygoers asked. And then there is the rumor that the wedding is to be officiated by Commentary editor Neal Kozodoy.
Jacob is a professor of art history at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women. Rebecca, a lawyer, had a visible role in her father’s failed 2004 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. As of press time, the couple could not be reached for comment.