Jewish and black girls have been mocked for their hair, their bodies and their other-ness. But they might be about to get a heroine at Buckingham Palace.
It’s a real-life fairy tale for everyone who has been feeling like a pre-ball Cinderella in the Trump era: Prince Harry, the international playboy and longtime sex-symbol who is fifth in line for the British throne, is on the brink of marriage with Meghan Markle, an American actress.
Markle is known for her work in the American TV show “Suits”. Her mother is black and her father is white. And though many publications have reported that Markle’s father is Jewish, a publicist denied that she herself is a member of the tribe.
“Just to clarify…she is not Jewish,” said Chantal Artur, the publicist, in an April email, without elaborating.
Markle, who told Elle that she answers the question “What are you” every single week of her life, has not spoken to the media about her religious background or that of her father.
But she has given some serious Queen Esther vibes. Here are 4 kind of, sort of Jewish things about her:
Her real name is Rachel. While have all met 90-100 wonderful Megans, Meagans, and Meghans at Jewish summer camp, ‘Rachel’ is straight out of Genesis and totally the kind of name your dad would give you if he was trying to subtly imbue your identity with your religious heritage. Plus, changing your name (or in this case, taking your middle name as a stage name) is a classic rite of passage for Jewish performers. Just ask Natalie Hershlag and Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.
Markle’s first marriage was to film producer Trevor Engelson, a Jewish man from Great Neck, New York. Their wedding involved what The Sun tersely referred to as a “traditional Jewish chair dance”.
She has said that she is sometimes labeled “Sephardic” at auditions. Think about it—35-year old actresses and lifestyle gurus don’t throw around the word Sephardic unless they are Sephardic. She might as well change her name to “Kitniyot Markle”.
Disney has had a frog prince, a Lion king, and a royal mermaid, and all we’ve had is the Crusades followed by the Inquisition. A Jewish princess just seems fair.
If it were only the name Rachel, dayeinu. If it were just the “Jewish chair dance”, dayeinu. But the greatest evidence in this biur chametz-like hunt for crumbs of Markle’s Jewish identity is that a spokesman for Westminster Abbey confirmed on behalf of the Church of England that, if they choose, Markle and Prince Harry will be able to marry within the church in an “interfaith” marriage, regardless of Markle’s “Jewish background”.
This brings us to the next booshah-turned-equality-milestone, which is that Markle has been married and divorced. And according to the Church of England, if that’s good enough for Henry the 8th it should be good enough for his fellow ginger ladykiller (so to speak,) Prince Harry.
So if our hypothesis is correct and Markle and Harry marry, Markle will be the first black, Jewish, divorcee, American princess in English history. It’s worth noting that Markle is also two years older than the Prince, making their marriage a triumph for several pie slices in the chart of disadvantaged identity groups.
This may also be the first time an actress famous for a movie called “Horrible Bosses” gets to meet the Queen of England.
It’s a shehechianu moment to beat all shehechianu moments.
The cherry on top of the sufganiyot-Kwanzaa-cake hybrid? Markle is a noted feminist. She serves as a UN Women advocate and an ambassador for World Vision.
As they say in another story of unlikely royalty, “The Prince of Egypt”, “There can be miracles when you believe”.
Happy birthday Magna Carta! The iconic document was signed 800 years ago today — on June 15, 1215, — when the nobles forced King John of England to guarantee human and economic rights. Three clauses out of the historic document’s total 63 pertained to Jews. By this time, Jews had been settled in England for more than a hundred years. In honor of the big day, here are 8 Jewish facts about the Magna Carta:
1) Jews were legally treated as chattel by the monarchy. The king could tax the Jews without permission from Parliament. He could even mortgage them.
2) When Jews died, much if not all of their estate went to the crown.
3) Jews were forbidden to own or work land, so many turned to money lending and banking.
4) Clause 10: If anyone who has borrowed from the Jews any amount, large or small, dies before the debt is repaid, it shall not carry interest as long as the heir is under age, of whomsoever he holds; and if that debt falls into our hands, we will take nothing except the principal sum specified in the bond.
5) Clause 11: And if a man dies owning a debt to the Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if he leaves children under age, their needs shall be met in a manner in keeping with the holding of the deceased, and the debt shall be paid out of the residue, saving the service due to the lords. Debts owing to other than Jews shall be dealt with likewise.
6 ) Another clause tried to stop the king from gaining more land through the Jews by forbidding any debts to be paid through land, and instead through liquid assets.
7) Later versions of the Magna Carta (from 1216, 1217, and 1225), omit the Jewish clauses.
8) Edward I expelled the 2,500 Jews living in England in 1290. The majority left for France.
A new documentary on the life of late British singer Amy Winehouse shows the six-time Grammy-Award winner in her younger days discussing her misgivings about fame, a preview of the trailer showed on Thursday.
Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning nearly four years ago at her London home at the age of 27 after struggling with drinking and drug problems throughout much of her career.
“I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous, I don’t think I could handle it. I would probably go mad,” Winehouse says in the first glimpse of “AMY,” due for release on July 3 and using previously unseen footage and unheard tracks.
Directed by Asif Kapadia, who won a BAFTA for his documentary “Senna” on the late Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, AMY features footage of a young Winehouse singing and smiling to camera and talking about her career while a version of her hit “Back to Black” plays in the background.
Seen as one of the most talented musicians of her generation, Winehouse’s albums - with songs such as “Valerie,” “You Know I’m No Good” and “Rehab” - sold in their millions.
“I never thought … I would end up being a singer. I just thought I’m lucky that it is something I can always do if I want to,” she says in another clip.
As Americans were watching Starbucks unveil its short-lived “Race Together” campaign — a push to talk about race in classic coffee klatch tradition — Brits were watching Trevor Phillips, the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Head of the Commission for Racial Equality under Prime Minister Tony Blair, also talking about race, from the rather loftier platform of a Channel 4 television show, “Things We Won’t Say about Race That Are True.”
Phillips, a black Londoner who spent much of his career battling discrimination, seemed to be using the TV forum to reverse his life’s work. The show, in fact, suggested discrimination was key to British living. Phillips argued that blacks (and presumably other racial and ethnic groups) were once silenced, and that now it’s whites’ turn. But if Phillips wanted to move from silence to conversation, it was not clear how declaring racial and ethnic stereotypes “true” was going to do that.
Phillips began with a softball destined to offend the fewest number of viewers: “Jews are rich and powerful.” I was watching alongside my 9-year-old son, who looked up from constructing his paper Minecraft Creeper and asked me, eyes wide, “Mama, are we rich and powerful?” “No, sweetheart,” I said, “Sorry.” Luckily, he immediately decided the show was stupid and boring and wandered off.
(JTA) – When I first saw the headline — “Jack the Ripper identified through DNA traces: sleuth” — I joked to myself: Don’t let it be a Jew.
Well, joke’s on me. Courtesy of AFP:
But after extracting DNA from a shawl recovered from the scene of one of the killings, which matched relatives of both the victim and one of the suspects, Jack the Ripper sleuth Russell Edwards claims the identity of the murderer is now beyond doubt. He says the infamous killer is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish emigre from Poland, who worked as a barber.
What a shande!
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