What’s Religion Got to Do With It?

By Lloyd Graff

Chelsea Clinton married Marc Mezvinsky Saturday night. Why should I care?

I care because Chelsea is American royalty. She just married a Jew, and not a plain clothes Jew or a hidden heritage Jew like John Kerry, but a practicing one. For better or worse, I grew up seeing everything through a Semitic lens.

Bernie Madoff was a colossal thief, but worst of all, he was a Jewish thief. I cared that Scott Feldman won 17 games for the Texas Rangers last season because he was Jewish. I voted for Al Gore in 2004 because Jewish Joe Lieberman was the vice presidential candidate.

For my generation of post World War II Jews, life is about proving Hitler did not win in his effort to exterminate us. The phenomenal success of Jews in America during the last 50 years in business, politics, science, the arts, academia etc. and the amazing ascendance of Israel despite being surrounded by militant enemies affords me great pride.

When Elena Kagan is confirmed for the Supreme Court she will be the third Jew on the Court. To most of America, she’s another New York liberal woman, if they care at all, but to me she is an MOT—a Member Of the Tribe, which makes her important. I keep score and I always will.

My acute sense of Jewish success in the U.S. scares me. I wonder when the next wave of jealousy and resentment will pop up like a mushroom. Personally, I am ashamed of my Jewish brethren at Goldman Sachs, whose cynicism and greed helped bring on the economic collapse of 2008. I am surprised that the resentment against Wall Street has not morphed into overt anti-Semitism and that the Tea Party movement has stayed away from “blaming the Jews,” which was common during the Great Depression.

When I heard the title of the new Steve Carell movie was “Dinner for Schmucks” I feared it was Hollywood turning on the Jews, but now I think I’m just ultra sensitive about the topic.

I have taken a chance to write about my Judaism and my Jewishness in this blog. It may be risky for business reasons, but to my surprise I have felt very little pushback for it.

This country has changed in my lifetime—for the better. Chelsea Clinton was married under a chuppah, the canopy traditionally used in Jewish weddings, by a rabbi and a reverend, and the traditional Jewish Seven Blessings were read. It wasn’t that big a deal in the press. The father of the groom was a congressman. He has been in jail and married a congresswoman. But who keeps score anymore?

Question: Do you pay attention to the religions of famous people?

Chelsea Clinton with Husband Marc Mezvinsky

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20 thoughts on “What’s Religion Got to Do With It?

  1. Shimmy

    Lloyd, not only is the groom Marc, NOT Jewish (only his father is Jewish and not his mother, and by Jewish law he is not Jewish) but the fact that they decided to embarrass the holy Jewish culture and try to mimic and copy a Jewish wedding and it’s traditions is an embarrassment for anyone who cares about their Jewish culture. Chelsea isn’t Jewish so any Rabbi worth anything would have never have officiated the wedding, and never on Shabbat. It was a sad day for Judaism….

  2. Ben Guthrie

    Yes, I do pay attention. I suggested to my wife, after seeing this news, that the couple, now one flesh, isn’t in real relationship with Jehovah God, given the “suspended animation” of the Jew still awaiting Messiah’s return, and the “life to the full” of the Christian animated by the risen Christ. As a child I loved my Jewish neighbor like my own grandma; kept her yard like our own, watched my mom and dad care for her like she was their mom; saw the number on her arm; and as an adult, named our second-born after her. I cling to the hope of the salvation of Isael, even now with tears. Thanks for your story, Lloyd.

  3. Lynn G. Schneider

    Lloyd, I for one do not consider them royalty. They are just people like you and me. Our country should never consider celebrities especially politicians and their progeny royalty.
    Oh and Bill Clinton though president wasn’t even a patriot because he trashed the United States of America’s constitution at every chance he had. I pity the children who have to live with the stain of their parent’s treason. With that said I wish them a happy marriage in anonymity.

  4. Deborah Rudy


    Yes, I take note of the religions of famous people. And I, too, am ashamed that Bernie Madoff is a Jew, and not only was he a Jewish thief, he stole from everyone, including other Jews and worst of all, Jewish charities. I part company on the Goldman-Sachs argument. Plenty of people contributed to the Wall Street debacle, Jew and non-Jew alike. But I can’t believe that you reference the Tea Party movement and express surprise that they haven’t “blamed the Jews”, as was common in the depression. To my understanding, the Tea Party movement is a movement of folks that are protesting the massive growth and intrusion of government into every aspect of American life they can get their hands on. How judgemental to tar them with the brush of bigotry–as Benjamin Netanyahu recently said about Israel after the IHH Turkish flotilla incident, is the Tea Party movement also “Guilty until proven guilty?”

    As far as Shimmy’s comment that Marc Medvinsky is not Jewish because only his father is Jewish, not his mother, well, that is the view of some, but not all of the streams of organized Judaism. Judaism is a living, changing thing, always being re-interpreted, and evolving. In biblical times, we had animal sacrifice and used stoning as a form of punishment. Rabbinic Judaism changed that. Matriarchal lineage used to be the only way to guarantee that a child was born of a Jewish parent. Early rabbinic interpretation could never have concieved of the concept of DNA identification. I can’t help but react when I see comments like that. I respect Shimmy’s point of view, but it is part of a view of the Jewish faith that is hierachical in nature: The more “observant” you are, the more of a Jew you are; and in turn the more liberal your views, you are somehow less of a Jew.

    But I digress. The mushroom cloud of anti-semitism that you fear I believe has begun to rear its ugly head. After our President disrespected Prime Minister Netanyahu during his March visit to Washington, I began to notice a marked increase in people’s willingness to publically make anti-semitic comments. It was after that when Helen Thomas unleashed herself, and also Oliver Stone. Countries that heretofore held their tongues on the topic of Israel also found their anti-Israel voices. Once Israel’s best friend, the U.S., found it permissible to dump on Israel, it became open season for latent and not so latent anti-semitism to surface. Let’s not kid ourselves: anti-Zionism and anti-semitism are not two separate things. I’m not sure all the “making up” during Netanyahu’s July visit can close the Pandora’s Box that has opened.

    Good for Chelsea Clinton and Marc Medvinsky. May they have a long and happy life together, and be blessed with what all of us strive for, Shalom Bayit, Peace in the Home.

  5. Duane Evans

    Amen to that, as a person who has discovered my mixed past is “converso” jewish
    on my mom’s side I totally understand your feelings and support your expressed
    thoughts and concerns.

    No oppressed minority has contributed so much to an often hostile world as the
    Jewish people worldwide.

    Duane Evans
    Wightman Engineering

  6. Dave Niels

    If you voted for Al Gore, you are participating in the great crime of abortion. If I remember correctly, Joe Lieberman was excommunicated from his synagogue for his pro-abortion stance. How could you say you remember what Hitler did, and don’t care about abortion? And I don’t think Clinton is a princess, she is just another liberal.

  7. Buelldog


    As a gentile, I feel your comments are racist in nature. I am not an anti-semite. Like many Americans, I too feel Israel has a right to exist, and I am proud that the United States has stood by her and provided support.
    Your comments tell me that someone like you, could never place the same value on someone like me, because I’m not Jewish. Racism? Ethnocentrism? What’s the difference?

    Kind Regards,


  8. Noah Graff


    I’m not going to speak for him, but what I believe Lloyd is saying that he takes great pride in seeing success of Jewish people. He doesn’t think that people who aren’t Jewish are inferior. And in this blog he mentions several Jews who he ashamed to share the same religion/ethnicity with.

    He just relishes when Jews do great things, that’s all he means. I think…

  9. Rodney Kirkpatrick


    If you voted for Al Gore in 2004, it is no wonder that John Kerry lost the election.

  10. N. Orberg

    The reason there is no “push back” against Jews, is no one cares. Not in a disrespectful way, but in a non consequential way. Most of society has moved on, and treat other human beings with equal respect. Thieves come in all colors, religion, and nationality, Modern day Americans judge people for who THEY are, not there color, what there great grandfather did or suffered through, what religion they practice, or what they choose to wear. I will condom any thief and congratulate anyone that does good, none more than others. I give my kid’s a high five when they hit a home run. I also, give the other children a high five when they hit a home run, even if they are on the opposing team.
    From your own writings, I can’t help but wonder if you would give a Jewish heritage individual a better deal, spend more time with them, be more patient with them, than individuals you decide are not Jewish in your business? I’m sorry you we brought up so racist. I suggest you seriously consider that the next wave of jealousy and resentment that will pop up like a mushroom against the Jews is in your own heart. I hope your children have joined most of the rest of us, and will judge people for who they are, and not by where there grandfathers came from or what religion they choose to practice.

  11. Lloyd

    To disavow tribal affiliation is a pity because the feeling of being a part of a group that transcends the individual gives meaning to life and accomplishment and striving. I am a member of several tribes, my extended family, ChicagoCubs fans Jews of the World, and Americans. I am also in the PMPA and MDNA TRIBES and ping pong players with detached retina tribe too.. I value my many group affiliations. They bring pleasure and meaning to my life.

    Part of the joy of being in a tribe is apartness. I love the story of the shipwrecked Jew on a Robinson Crusoe island. He is found after ten years and wants to show off his accomplishments to the people who find him. After showing his house and tennis court the points out the synagogue he built.

    Then the head of the search team asks about a building off in the distance
    “Oh,” he responds. ,”that’s the one I don’t go to.”

  12. Theron

    Lloyd, why pay attention to any faith? Character and morals did not crawl out of some primortal soup, Judism and Christianity have shaped the morals and character of the western world. The question might be…Why NOT pay attention to faith? Faith did not get us where we are at today, in this world crawling with secularism, violance and crud. It seems to me that the seculars are the ones who have abandon faith, morals and character. Look at where it has gotten us. An interesting thing, the 10 Commandments…the Commandments of God…prior to the law of Moses states; Thou Shall NOT commit Murder. Here is an interesting thought in all societies “Murder is Murder”. Where did that idea come from? Is man inheritanly good? Really? If we were inheritanly good, would we murder, lie or cheat. Is there something or someone higher? Why religion? Because there are a core of us in society that believes in God. And all that is good is from HIM..even the marriage of a lovely young Methodist Christian to a good looking Jewish guy.

  13. Jerry Johnson

    Mezvinsky works for Soros. This marriage is nothing more than further consolidation and concentration within the New World Order’s “family” of power and control !!!

    You’re right, LLoyd – “What’s Religion got to do with it”?

  14. Bill Hopcraft

    Good for you, Lloyd. There’s nothing wrong with feeling pride in the accomplishments of one’s group – be it a family, a team, a country, or anything else. Why should a race or religion be any different. If you happened to be of Norse lineage, for example, and blogged about the Norwegians who’ve made it big, my guess is that no one would have cared. Ditto if I were to list some of my fellow Presbyterians that have done great things. But somehow Jews are looked at differently in our society and I’m still amazed at how pervasive anti-Semitism is.

    Personally, I don’t give a damn if you’re a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or anything else for that matter – as long as you’re a part of some faith. Atheists scare me – they’ve got nothing to lose.

    As for the Clintons, Bill and Hillary are a far cry from royalty and I’ve got no respect for either. I do, however, wish all the best to Chelsea and Marc.

  15. Don

    Voting because of a candidates claimed theology instead of recognizing the beliefs that he acts upon and looking at his past has allowed our once great nation to stumble. It’s time that Americans actually put their country first instead of quibbling about race, religion or party affiliation.

  16. Arkady Rubinsteyn

    If anything, that is a proof of Marc leaving his Tribe, not Chelsea joining ours.
    Overall, we are all blessed in this country, Jews and Christians alike. When people complain
    about Anti-semitism they have no clue what they talking about. What if I tell you
    that your passport is required to have a special line, “A Jew”, would you believe it? That was my experience of the Soviet jew for almost 20 years. God bless Marc and Chelsea.
    I do not believe in voting your religious affiliation, we should vote for the man, not for his kipa.
    Great article.

  17. Mike Preston

    I have two points to make:
    One is American Royalty. It is difficult me to comprehend what that means. Royalty whether inherited or deserved alludes to descriptions like lineage, kingdoms and monarchs. I don’t see where this applies to Chelsea Clinton. To make a non-partisan statement, I would not apply this to the Bush Family either.
    The second is my roots are Polish Catholic and our bond with relatives in Poland is very strong into the 2nd generation. I, like you, are proud that either a Catholic or better yet a Catholic Pole brings welcomed notoriety whether in the Vatican, sports, politics, education, etc. However, I will not vote for a candidate, as you did with Joe Lieberman, because of his religion. The vote is based on emotion rather than reason. I did not think much of Joe Lieberman as the VP candidate, but when he ran as an independent, my opinion of him changed. He demonstrated that his views did not have to coincide with the party platform. I hold the same reasoning for Elena Kagan. Senator Leahy was ecstatic there is now a 3rd woman on the court. Until I read your article, I did not know she was Jewish. My problem with Senator Leahy’s and your view is the impulse to elect someone because of race, religion, color, gender etc not qualifications.
    In conclusion, this is a free country as the saying goes, but I think your reasoning contributes to the polarization of this country and impedes what makes America great. On the other hand, expressing your views are what makes this country great too even though our views do not coincide.

  18. John

    “Personally, I don’t give a damn if you’re a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or anything else for that matter – as long as you’re a part of some faith. Atheists scare me – they’ve got nothing to lose.”

    Really, I’m a non practicing atheists, but comment like the above published in TMW deserves a response. As an Atheists, my one and only religion is the United States of America, my one and only bible is the US Constitution. The ten commandments are the ten amendments.

    So, next time before you start bashing the Atheists please keep in mind that there are some of us who’s only faith is that you are free to practice your own faith.


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