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Is Cameron Diaz, Benji Madden’s Jewish Wedding a Shanda?

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden seen out for a walk in Midtown Manhattan

For no stated reason, Cameron Diaz stood under the chuppah with punk rocker Benji Madden. That’s right, a chuppa. Benji even smashed the glass underfoot and guest said “mazal tov, ” as the couple retreated to the yichud room for some private moments after the ceremony, as is the tradition.

Cameron Diaz’s father is Cuban and her mother has Anglo-German ancestry. Madden could honestly say “my middle name is Levi, ” because it is, but he hasn’t said anything about Jewish ancestry, according to Gwyneth Paltrow, who was a guest at the wedding, if she decides to couple again after her “conscious uncoupling” from her ex, could understandably have a Jewish wedding ceremony, because the word is that she is at least contemplating conversion to Judaism.

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This could just be another thing that makes you go “hmm?” or you could go ballistic about it. Or somewhere in between. Among my Jewish Facebook contacts are people who accuse Diaz and Madden of “making light of” sacred Jewish rituals, and one even called it a “shanda.” Now I understand issues with Jewish law about using Hashem’s name, which it is forbidden to do without good reason, during the seven blessings around the chuppah. But seriously, is it so awful that celebrities are interested in Jewish rituals and concepts, whether it is Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore with Kabbalah or Diaz and Madden with their Jewish-themed wedding? Does their wedding somehow detract from the traditional Jewish ceremony of your family members? I’d revise the expression “Where’s the outrage, ” to “Why the outrage?”

Well, Rachel Shukert on Tablet has a theory when she writes of an “aspirational Jewishness, ” and points to rabbis giving an invocation to political conventions and the fact there is a seder at the White House. I’m not sure these, however, are aspirational as a desire for politicians to be inclusive; there may be Jewish White House staffers, for instance, who would enjoy having a seder at the White House. And I don’t think Cameron Diaz had a Jewish wedding just to impress and “fit in” with Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was a guest.

Who knows why they did it? Who cares. I wrote an entire article about it, but that doesn’t mean that I am thinking about it at all.



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