We know that intermarriage comes with a host of challenges that the couple and their families must navigate. But those challenges become even more complex when the backgrounds of the married couple are often seen as being at great odds. That is the case with Rep. Anthony Weiner, congressman of New York’s 9th district in Queens and Brooklyn, and Huma Abedin, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is Jewish, she is Muslim.
Things are off to a good start, though. Rep. Weiner’s mother, Fran, told the New York Daily News: “I think it’s wonderful. She’s lovely, what more can I say?” No decisions have yet been made on the how their wedding ceremony will “accommodate the pair’s different faiths,” but Fran seemed supportive of whatever they choose to do, saying she’ll be okay with “anything that makes them happy.” For parents whose adult children are involved in an interfaith relationship, this is often the first piece of advice we give – to warmly and graciously accept your child’s partner into your family. That initial reaction from parents can set the tone for future relationships with children and grandchildren, so it’s best to create a welcoming and amicable atmosphere.
Hopefully the positive attitudes already on display will continue throughout their engagement, marriage and life together. But this couple’s story can also serve another purpose. As very public figures on a local and national stage, Rep. Weiner and Abedin’s relationship can help to break down taboos surrounding Jewish/Muslim interfaith relationships. JOI has been advocating for a broader discussion of this topic, and we hope such a high profile example will bring this conversation to a new level.
We would like to congratulate Rep. Weiner and his bride-to-be Abedin. With over twenty years of experience working with interfaith families, we are ready to not only help guide them on their journey, but also partner with the couple in order to promote a more welcoming and inclusive North American Jewish community. Just give us a call so we can get started!