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Cronkite, Trump, and the Validity of Jewish Marriages

Ivanka Trump’s conversion/engagement to Jared Kushner may be interesting to most readers because of its wealthy-elite-hooking-up gossip factor, but their story is also quite relevant to the controversies that have been surrounding Orthodox conversion in recent years.

My unsolicited advice to the happy couple, who shall heretofore be known collectively as Jivanka: Don’t try to get married in Israel, and definitely don’t get divorced there (unless Trump decides she’s had enough of the whole being Jewish thing, in which case, gey gezunte heyt).

(If this latest news is a sign of things to come, though, I might reconsider my advice.)

But speaking of famous people and the validity of Jewish weddings, would you believe that Walter Cronkite, may he rest in peace, could be responsible for the birth of a mamzer? (No, not that kind of responsible.)

The possible bastard child in question is Beliefnet Editor-In-Chief Stephen Waldman, who reveals on his blog that Cronkite, who was not Jewish, served as a witness to Waldman’s parents’ wedding, a no-no by Jewish wedding standards.

Waldman explains:

It’s my understanding that even non-Orthodox Jewish weddings require those who sign the ketubah — the official Jewish marriage document — to be Jewish. So I’m guessing that while Cronkite may have signed Waldman’s parents’ marriage license, he didn’t sign the ketubah, if there was one.

But if Walter Cronkite did sign his parents’ ketubah, Waldman stands to make a mint off selling it on eBay.

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