Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

Meghan Markle is not Jewish. Big deal.

While we are busy wishing Prince Harry and his fiancé, Meghan Markle, fond words of congratulations, should we also be wishing them mazal tov?

Which is to ask:

  • Will the Windsors and the Markles dance the hora at the royal wedding, which will happen in 2018?
  • Will the band play “Sunrise, Sunset”?
  • Will Prince Charles dance the mazinka, the traditional dance that marks the occasion of your last child’s wedding?

In a word, no.

This, despite the fact that the Jerusalem Post reported on the rumor. This, despite the fact that an article in Tablet identified her as being Jewish.

This, despite the fact that USA Today referred to Meghan as a “biracial Jewish-American actress. This, despite the fact that Israeli President Reuven Rivlin invited the royal couple to spend their honeymoon in Israel.

Which is an excellent idea. At the very least, the couple could visit the grave of Harry’s great-grandmother, Prince Alice of Battenberg.

Princess Alice was a bona fide recognized-by-Yad Vashem righteous gentile who saved Jewish lives in Greece. She is buried in a crypt at the Convent of Saint Mary Magdalene in Gethsemane on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives.

But, no. There is nothing Jewish about Meghan Markle — other than the fact that her first marriage was to a Jewish man.

Her mother, Doria Radlan, has a masters degree in social work; she is African-American. Her father, Emmy-award winning lighting director Thomas W. Markle, is of Dutch, English, Irish, and Scottish descent.

Meghan Markle is actually a descendant of King John, and a distant relative of Prince Harry. That’s a totally royal family thing — though, come to think of it, most Ashkenazic Jews are also distantly related, as well.

So, in the game of “spot the Jew,” this one is a non-starter.

Where did people get the idea that Meghan was Jewish? Is it that Markle “sounds” “Jewish?” Because it almost sort of kind of rhymes with “farfel?”

Frankly, I don’t get it — this incessant desire, on the part of some Jews, to locate celebrities and to “out” them as Jewish.

I am thinking of “Let Us Now Claim Famous Men” by Ralph Schoenstein, in which the main character spills much sweat in finding famous people and either discovering, or imagining, that they are Jewish.

Remember our glee when we discovered that Bob Dylan was Jewish.

Remember our disappointment when the rumors of Jewishness for Mick Jagger, Ringo Starr, and Pat Benatar turned out to be false.

I would have thought that this tendency would have died, right around the same time as disco. It is a form of fetishization that should be utterly foreign to this generation, for whom ethnic ties are, woefully, attenuated.

If I were going to trace a recent cultural trend, it would not be Jews claiming gentiles.

It would be gentiles claiming Judaism.

I am thinking of a friend, who is a “cradle Episcopalian.” He can trace his ancestry back to William Tyndale, who was the source of the King James Bible. That is as old as it gets in the Western world.

And yet, he recently discovered that his grandfather was Jewish – an Austrian Jew who hid his identity.

“So, that makes me kind of Jewish?” he asked shyly.

“Why not?” I answered him. “Join the club. You are now a Jew-by-surprise.”

Consider the last two decades — people who have discovered that they are Jewish, or sort of Jewish, or almost Jewish, or had a Jewish grandparent, or a Jewish great-grandparent.

That list would include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton, whose grandmother married a Jewish man; and former Secretary of State John Kerry. That is just a short list. It has been estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of potential Jews in the United States — people with Jewish ancestry, who could easily claim or reclaim their Jewish identity.

But, perhaps the real news is simply this: the royal family had heard those rumors of Meghan’s member of the tribe thing — and they appeared to be totally cool with it.

Or, at the very least, that stiff British upper lip.

Mazal tov, anyway! May we all dance at the wedding!







About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.


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  • b’h I love this article.



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  • …. hundreds of thousands of potential Jews in the United States — people with Jewish ancestry, who could easily claim or reclaim their Jewish identity” If you practice Judaism youre a Jew. But few of these people will ever re-claim so much as ‘Jewish idenity’. In 20 years they’ll be half as many in the USA people claiming anything Jewish.

  • A lot of the western press tried to state that she was Roman Catholic because she attended parochial school. However, it was revealed yesterday that she identifies as Protestant and will be baptized & confirmed in the Church of England (Anglican/Epsicopalian) at some point prior to their wedding.

  • She has to be jewish to be married with her former jewish husband . Converted ? What You write about ackenazi jews is bullshit. Learn Your history and dont write just What You wish. All ackenazi jews are Khasars. From the older country khasari. This people are not etnik jews, bit They did Take the religion AS the religion for the country, Cause They did not have any. Today ackenazi jews are the most powerfull etnisity in the world. Controlling all from media , finanses, american goverment, UN , EU , NATO. Soon the goal is reched, the new world order. Kissinger , Bush jr, Bush sr, Trump , Rothschilds , Rockefeller, Soros . Macron , aipac . Where Its money They are. In iq They also Get top score average 105 , Ariens 100, east Asia 100, afro americans 85, arabs 85, africans in africa 70 . So If You like to Get dump children Get it with a colored person . Like prins Harry .

  • For every famous Jew, there is a famous Jewish scroudrel. Hence, Madoff, Weinstein, and plenty more.

  • Chomsky is a Jewish Kardashian. What has he actually contributed to society? Whatever he’s done, you can’t put him in the same criminal league as the above.

  • 1. I never read anything about Ms. Markle being a fan of Chomsky.
    2. Noam Chomsky was, is, and always will be a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist communist which is what is important about him and not his Jewish name or antecedents.

  • What has Chomsky done? You’ve got to be kidding ne. Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes described as “the father of modern linguistics,” is also one of the founders of the field of cognitive science. Most college students honor him and there are many awards and grants in his name.

  • Another illiterate racist who thinks like a Nazi. “Dump children”? Most of those children can spell better than you, can write better than you, and have a life philosophy that lay over yours like a dollar over a dime. And she did not have to convert to Judaism to marry her ex. And she didn’t. She has always been Episcopalian and neither parent are Jewish.

  • He supported the whole language movement in education with Ken and Yetta Goodman, which claimed that children don’t need phonics instruction to learn to read. They claimed that kids just ‘absorb’ it naturally if you let them choose what books to read.

  • If he’s illiterate, it’s thanks to Noam Chomsky and his ridiculous theories.

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