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The Schmooze

Will Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner Set Up a Private Synagogue in Washington?

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may have their sights set on Kesher Israel as their new Washington synagogue, but there’s a chance they might opt for a more intimate option.

The couple, who plan to relocate to D.C., often frequented services at a private synagogue in New York City, hosted by investor Ronald Perelman. The two brought their children to the one-room brick building located on the Upper East Side, which, The Observer reported, author Herman Wouk once referred to as a “who’s who of world Jewry.”

Big-name attendees included the late Elie Wiesel and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

If Trump and Kushner can’t find a private synagogue in D.C. to their liking, the couple can also take a leap and build one of their own.

In-house worship spaces are a hot commodity for the observant wealthy. This year, on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” housewife Erika Girardi revealed the chapel she had built in her Pasadena home, and, Tablet reported, a Florida mansion touting a hefty price tag of $6,600,000 went on the market with its own personal synagogue.

Private worshipping might just be the ticket for the couple, who could face mixed reactions from Kesher Israel’s many left-leaning attendees.

One congregant told Politico that the couple joining their synagogue would be a “disaster,” while others wondered about possible awkward interactions with fellow congregants who have written scathing articles about the president-elect.

Norman Eisen, former United States ambassador to the Czech Republic and frequent critic of Donald Trump, took the opposite approach.

“We have a concept in traditional Judaism of muktseh,” Eisen told Politico. “Money is muktseh, something forbidden on the Sabbath. Before Shabbat, you take your money, your cellphone, you put it aside. Politics is muktseh. I would welcome them exactly the same as I would any other family that wanted to join our community.”

Thea Glassman is an associate editor at the Forward. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @theakglassman

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