On July 16, the engagement of Ivanka Trump, 27, to New York Observer newspaper publisher Jared Kushner, 28, was announced. Kushner comes from a prominent New Jersey Orthodox family active in real estate. His father, Charles Kushner, is a major philanthropist whose projects include two Jewish day schools named after his late parents, both Holocaust survivors.
Ivanka, as most people know, is the daughter of real-estate mogul Donald Trump and his ex-wife, Ivana Trump (neither of whom are Jewish). Beautiful and smart, she is currently vice president of real estate development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization.
New York magazine released a recent interview with the couple right after the engagement was made public. Here’s an excerpt:
Ivanka: “Jared is my best friend for many reasons, largely because I’ve allowed him to see who I truly am and he still loves me … He’s so kind as a human being … We started dating pretty quickly after we met [thorough mutual friends]. It still felt like a slow process — a courtship, if you will.”
Jared’s Orthodox Jewish background presented a challenge to the relationship, but Ivanka has worked hard to show Jared’s parents that she embraces Judaism. Last week, she completed her conversion, after studying under Modern Orthodox Rabbi Hillel Lookstein of Manhattan. And this spring, she attended a benefit for a mikvah in Jared’s hometown with Jared’s mom, Seryl, and his two sisters.
On June 27, Zoe Winkler, 28, the daughter of actor Henry Winkler, 63, and his wife, Stacey, 61, married actor Robert Reinis, 35. The Jewish wedding was held at the Winklers’ Los Angeles home. Zoe is a nursery school teacher who was introduced to her new husband by the mother of one of her students. It was a long courtship with many ups and downs. Robert’s kindness to Zoe during her mother’s long battle with breast cancer helped bond the couple.
Wedding guests included Ron Howard, a great friend of Winkler’s since they co-starred on “Happy Days,” and comic actor Jonah Hill, 25, a lifelong close friend of the three Winkler children.
Judd Apatow (“Knocked Up”) co-wrote and directs “Funny People” starring Adam Sandler, 44. Both guys are best known for comedy, so the underlying serious theme of this film is something of a departure for them.
Sandler plays a famous comedian who is diagnosed with an incurable blood disease. He’s told he has about a year to live. He decides to use his time to mentor a struggling young stand-up comedian (Seth Rogen). Rogen’s character lives with two other young comics, played by Jonah Hill and Jason Schwartzman. The plot thickens when Sandler runs into his old girlfriend (Leslie Mann), who’s married to a macho Australian (Eric Bana). When Sandler’s disease goes into unexpected remission, he has critical life choices to make. (Opens Friday, July 31).
Opening the same day is ”Aliens in the Attic,” an adventure/comedy about a family on vacation. The four kids in the family become aware that their vacation home is under attack by space aliens, while the parents remain clueless. The two older kids are played by Ashley Tisdale, 24 (“High School Musical”) and Carter Jenkins, 17 (“Keeping Up with the Steins”). Playing their grandmother is Doris Roberts, 78, of “Everybody Loves Raymond” fame. (Jenkins may have a non-Jewish name, but he is indeed Jewish).
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at email@example.com.