Our first reaction to the news of Rep. Anthony Weiner’s engagement to Hilary Clinton aide Huma Abedin was congratulatory. As a Jew and a Muslim, we said they could help break down the taboos surrounding similar interfaith relationships. But we also knew there would be some who didn’t share our sentiment. The (New York) Jewish Week went in depth to find out how different people are reacting to Weiner and Abedin’s relationship.
Some wondered if there would be any political repercussions, since Weiner serves a heavily Jewish district. Many, including New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, believe it won’t. One Orthodox Jewish businessman who has supported Weiner in both Congress and his bid for mayor of New York City said that he’ll support Weiner “if he runs for mayor again and also for his re-election to Congress. I’m not one who judges a person’s character on his personal choices.”
Religiously, the Week notes there has been plenty of pushback from some in the Jewish community. On the blog Yeshiva World News, the typical reaction was “Oy,” with one asking God to have mercy on the couple. Another compared their relationship to a biblical story in which an interfaith relationship brings a plague on the Jewish people.
Despite some of the negative comments, the person who might matter most in all of this – Weiner’s mother Fran – has already voiced her support. By coming out and saying she thinks it’s “wonderful,” Fran is creating the kind of welcoming atmosphere necessary if we are going to encourage more interfaith families to participate in the Jewish community.
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