Battle of the Wannabe White House Jewish Son-in-Laws
(JTA) – Somebody better put up a mezuzah outside the Lincoln bedroom.
Whoever ends up winning the presidential election in November, one thing seems certain: For the first time in history, Jews will be in the president’s inner family circle.
Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have Jewish sons-in-law, and of course Bernie Sanders — in the unlikely event he makes it to the White House — is Jewish himself (though his daughter-in-law is not).
With the head-to-head contest between the two likely nominees heating up, we decided to take a closer look at Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump, and Marc Mezvinsky, who is married to Chelsea Clinton.
Age Kushner: 35
Occupation Kushner: CEO of family real estate firm Kushner Properties and owner-publisher of The New York Observer
Mezvinsky: Investment banker and co-founder of hedge fund Eaglevale Partners
Education Kushner: High school at Frisch, a modern Orthodox yeshiva in Paramus, New Jersey; B.A. from Harvard (sociology); J.D. and M.B.A. from New York University
Mezvinsky: High school at Friends Central in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood; B.A. from Stanford (religious studies and philosophy); M.A. in international relations from the University of Oxford, England
Family background Kushner: Grew up in Livingston, N.J; father, Charles Kushner, ran a real estate empire until his imprisonment and is involved in various Jewish philanthropic endeavors; mother, Seryl Kushner, is involved in the family’s business and philanthropy; three siblings
Mezvinsky: Grew up in Philadelphia; both parents served stints in Congress as Democrats; father, Edward Mezvinsky, served two terms from Iowa in the 1970s (and decades later went to prison); mother, Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, a former TV journalist, served a single term from Pennsylvania in the mid-‘90s; parents are now divorced; one full brother, four half-siblings and five adopted siblings.
Campaign role Kushner: Helped draft Donald Trump’s AIPAC speech, advises the presumptive Republican nominee for president on Israel issues and is involved in assembling his White House transition team; Kushner’s newspaper endorsed Trump for president
Mezvinsky: Appears at non-political events with the Clintons, but has no known involvement with Hillary’s campaign
Jewish practice Kushner: Belongs to an Orthodox synagogue, Manhattan’s Kehilath Jeshurun, observes Shabbat and kosher restrictions; raising children as Jews
Mezvinsky: Grew up in a Conservative synagogue, has been seen in shul on occasion with wife Chelsea Clinton; raising daughter with both Jewish and Christian traditions
Wife’s relationship to Judaism Kushner: Ivanka Trump underwent Orthodox conversion after studying with Orthodox Rabbi Haskel Lookstein; now observes Shabbat and keeps a kosher home; “We’re pretty observant,” she has said
Mezvinsky: Chelsea Clinton is still a practicing Methodist; the couple married in an interfaith ceremony featuring a huppah and co-officiated by Rabbi James Ponet of Yale University and Methodist Rev. William Shillady
Why Dad went to big house Kushner: Hired a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, secretly recorded the encounter and sent the tape to his sister as part of a blackmail scheme; served 16 months after guilty pleas to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations
Mezvinsky: Bilked friends, family and strangers out of some $10 million in bogus schemes disguised as investments in Africa and oil development; served five years after pleading guilty to 31 counts of felony fraud, including bank fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud
Crash Pad Kushner: Stylish 10-room apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side at – where else? – Trump Park Avenue
Mezvinsky: A sleek apartment in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, on 26th Street, that the couple bought in 2013 for $10.5 million
Children Kushner: Theodore James, 2 months; Joseph Frederick, 2; Arabella Rose, 4
Mezvinsky: Daughter Charlotte, 1, and one on the way
Look Kushner: “Baby-faced,” “sandy haired” and “handsome”
Mezvinsky: Bespectacled with a perennial 5 o’clock shadow