The Talmud states that this is the first question the beit din – the group of rabbi sitting in judgment – should ask of a person seeking to convert to Judaism:
"Why should you wish to convert – do not know that the people of Israel at the present time are persecuted and oppressed, despised, harassed, and overcome by afflictions? ”
One wonders what was said when Karlie Kloss, the supermodel and philanthropist, was converted to Judaism last year before marrying Jewish investor and real estate scion Joshua Kushner
Kushner's brother Jared – with his position as presidential advisor and role in America's first family – has contributed to some calling the Trump administration the best historically or Jews, and others comparing it to the days in Germany before the Holocaust. Into that morass steps Kloss, the 26-year-old midwestern girl, who detailed her conversion to Judaism and its connection to the Kushner family in the pages of this month's Vogue.
A teaser of the interview Kloss did with media powerhouse Elaine Welteroth for the cover of British Vogue, perhaps unintentionally, courts controversy in its description of Kloss' conversion.
"Recent marriage to 34-year-old venture capitalist Josh Kushner weighs heavily in her life's joy category – as well as the pillars of the Jewish faith, which she converted to for Kushner, ”reads the article. The assumption that was newly converted changed "for" his or her spouse is highly contentious – in November 2018, when in the New York Times claimed that Kloss's now-sister-in-law Ivanka Trump converted to Judaism "for" Jared Kushner, Rabbi Diana Fersko wrote in the Forward, "It is typical of the media who are converting to Judaism – and it's stripping them of their agency in a terribly misogynistic way." But Kloss, in Vogue, is open about the fact that her conversion was in part, for Kushner – and that found a way to meet her partner's was a powerful gift to both her husband and herself.
“Changing part of who you are for someone else can be seen as weak, ”she told Welteroth. “But you know what? Actually, if you've been through what you've experienced, it requires you to be anything but weak. It requires me to be stronger and self-loving and resilient. I really did not take this lightly. ”
, "She said. “This is my life and I am an independent, strong woman. It was only after many years of studying and talking with my family and friends and soul searching that I made the decision to fully embrace Judaism in my life and start planning for a future with the man I chose to marry. ”
Kloss is said to have studied extensively and prayed at Manhattan Minyans for years before converting to Judaism. She visited Israel with Kushner prior to conversion and has since been celebrating Jewish holidays and even eating with Jewish royalty, like Britain's Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.
She customs Vogue that celebrates Shabbat has been among the Jewish practices that have increased meaning in her life. "I think we all have a tendency to just keep going," she said. “Some people find grounding through meditation. Some find it through exercise. And to their own, but for me, Shabbat has brought so much meaning into my life. It helps me reconnect to the actual world. ”
He is a six-foot-two supermodel and highly trained computer coder, thus not easily confused with the great rabbi and scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel. He said, “We are wrestling with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul… Six days a week we seek to dominate the world, on the seventh day we try to dominate the self. ”
Similar, is it not? ] Mazal on your continuing Jewish journey, Karlie Kloss! T-five days to Shabbat.
Jenny Singer is the deputy life / features editor for the Forward. You can reach here at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny
This story "Karlie Kloss: Why I Converted To Judaism Before Wedding" was written by Jenny Singer.