Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg Gets Interfaith Married to Priscilla Chan

In the run up to the big Facebook initial public offering this past week, the media went Facebook crazy and tried to get interviews from everyone who has ever been connected to Mark Zuckerberg. Of course that included the rabbi of his childhood congregation.

In an article on The Scarsdale Daily website, Rabbi David Holtz of Temple Beth Abraham was quoted about his memories of Mark Zuckerberg attending his Reform temple in Tarrytown, New York. Rabbi Holtz reminisced about Zuckerberg's family and recalled the Facebook founder's "Star Wars" themed bar mitzvah fifteen years ago. Rabbi Holtz also mentioned a congregational trip to Israel that the Zuckerberg family took when Mark Zuckerberg was fifteen-years-old. Rabbi Holtz called Zuckerberg a thoughtful and insightful teen. I don't know if Zuckerberg plans to donate any of his fortune to the synagogue of his youth, but hopefully, at the very least, he'll be willing to help the congregation improve its website.

As if this week wasn't already exciting enough for Zuckerberg with his billion dollar company going public, he also made a very important change to his Facebook profile's status tonight when he updated it to "Married". Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook Timeline now features the headline "Married Priscilla Chan" (with over 1 million likes). With that update, Zuckerberg is added to the list of famous Jews who have married outside of the faith.

Apparently the timing of the wedding had no connection to Facebook's IPO. Rather, the couple was waiting for Priscilla Chan to graduate from medical school at the University of California San Francisco. Zuckerberg's bride graduated on Monday from UCSF Medical School, which was coincidentally Zuckerberg's 28th birthday.

Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan were married earlier today in a small ceremony in the backyard of his Palo Alto home. There is no word yet on who officiated the ceremony. However, I know the family has a nice relationship with Rabbi Laura Baum of Congregation Beth Adam and (she's also my colleague through the CLAL Rabbi's Without Borders fellowship). Rabbi Baum officiated at the bris of Mark Zuckerberg's nephew Asher a year ago. It is possible that Rabbi Baum officiated at the wedding through her connection with Zuckerberg's sister and brother-in-law Randi Zuckerberg and Brent Tworetzky.

As an adult Mark Zuckerberg has claimed he is an atheist, so it is also possible that his wedding ceremony was not officiated by a rabbi, but was a completely secular ceremony conducted by a justice of the peace, or even a friend who became licensed in California for the occasion.

According to the AP, the wedding guests all thought they were coming to celebrate Priscilla Chan's graduation from medical school, but were told after they arrived that the event was in fact a wedding. From the wedding photo released by Facebook, it does not appear that Mark Zuckerberg was wearing a yarmulke as he did at his sister Randi's wedding to Tworetzky on a beach a few years ago.

I'm sure that more information will be released about Zuckerberg's wedding this coming week. Of course, the big question for the Jewish community will be whether Zuckerberg and Chan plan to raise their future children in the Jewish faith. In other words, will a future Zuckerberg heir also have a "Star Wars" themed bar mitzvah?


Julie Hilton Danan said...

Nice article and nice question at the end.

Anonymous said...

There's going to be a whole generation of Asian Jews growing up in 20 years. Every other Asian Ivy Leaguer I know seems married to a Jewish person of either sex. Hopefully they'll all be well accepted on both sides.

Testing said...

Congrats Mark and Chan

Adrian Cestone said...

This is such a lovely article with wonderful spiritual insight. Hopefully the couple can make this last under the pressure that they will surely come under.


Rabbi Jason Miller said...


rachelk said...

Although calling himself an atheist, Msrk Zuckrberg was placed no 1 in a Jerusalem Post International Edition's list of 50 most influential Jews, and rightly so. As far as the kind of Jewish life he and his bride will lead, as we say in Hebrew: Yamim yagidu- days will tell, perhaps years, both are quite young. However, except for a miracle, unless Mrs. Dr. Chan-Zuckerberg will convert to Judaism, I don't see any Star Wars or even Hunger Games themes for a future daughter or son's bat or bar mitzva.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful for them. Best wishes for a long and fruitful marriage.

Anonymous said...

Nebach. You realize their children won't be Jewish now???? iyh he does teshuvah and not let his money be all his reward in this world.

Jay B Terclinger said...

He and Facebook are enemies of Israel. He leaves up Farrakhan with his "synagogue of satan" chazerie, and he leaves up thousands of jihadi facebook groups that include the F word and Israel as their name.

When you post on facebook you might as well sharpen the knives of jihadistinians who say Jews.

Now AirBnB wont take listings from Jews in "the West Bank" but they take thousands of listings from muslims.

Dear fellow Jews: WAKE UP and stop patronizing our enemies.