Yale Rabbi Presides Over Clinton Wedding

Joseph Silka Center

When former first daughter Chelsea Clinton married investment banker Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, New York on Saturday, Rabbi James Ponet, a Jewish chaplain at Yale University, and a Methodist minister presided.

Ponet told the Yale Daily News that "a number of people" referred him to the famous couple.

"After meeting them I felt honored to help them create and implement a ceremony that gave expression to their deepest convictions," he told the Daily News.

The wedding plans were shrouded in mystery and there are reports of confidentiality agreements, but The New York Times reports that the wedding ceremony celebrated and honored both Jewish and Christian traditions.

Chelsea Clinton, like her mother, is Methodist; Mezvinsky is Jewish, so both religions were represented when Ponet and the Rev. William Shillady, executive director of the United Methodist City Society, conducted the ceremony.

Ponet is a 1968 Yale graduate and the first alumnus to serve as Yale’s Jewish Chaplain, according to his biography on the Joseph Silka Center Web site.

He told the Daily News that it was a "deep, beautiful wedding" and he and his wife were privileged to be there.

 "Marc and Chelsea are a very serious, thoughtful and committed couple,” he told the school newspaper.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that the couple was married under a chuppah.

Having a Yale connection should not be surprising since both Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton are 1973 graduates of Yale’s law school.

Ponet currently teaches a college seminar with Dr. Ruth Westheimer on “The Family in the Jewish Tradition.”

After the ceremony, Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton released a statement.

"Today, we watched with great pride and overwhelming emotion as Chelsea and Marc wed in a beautiful ceremony at Astor Courts, surrounded by family and their close friends," the statement said. "We could not have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate the beginning of their life together, and we are so happy to welcome Marc into our family. On behalf of the newlyweds, we want to give special thanks to the people of Rhinebeck for welcoming us and to everyone for their well-wishes on this special day."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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