Searching for a Real Jewish Princess By Rabbi Judy Chessin
The Jewish world kvelled for one brief shining moment when Prince Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and fifth in line for the British throne, announced his engagement to the American actress Meghan Markle. It was reported that Markle, known for her work on the TV show “Suits,” has a Jewish father and a black mother! “A real Jewish Princess” we all sighed, knowing all along that such a creature existed!
Following the engagement announcement Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis tweeted: “I am delighted to hear of the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. I wish them a lifetime of health, happiness and continued blessings together. Mazel tov – the Chief Rabbi #RoyalWedding.” And Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin tweeted: “Mazal Tov to HRH Prince Harry and fiancée @MeghanMarkle. Sending our warmest regards to Her Majesty the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, all the Royal Family and the British people, from Nechama and me and all the Israeli people. We invite them to enjoy their honeymoon in Israel!”
Indeed if the couple did honeymoon in Israel they could visit the grave of Harry’s great grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who is buried in Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
But alas, our dream was quickly dashed. It turns out that Markle’s father is actually a member of the Episcopal Church of the United States, and that Meghan herself denies any affiliation with Judaism.
Nonetheless the relentless blog at The Forward claimed Markle as Jewish-ish since the actress’ character’s name is Rachel, her first marriage was to a Jewish man (and they did the Jewish chair dance at her first wedding), and she looks “Sephardic.”
This may not be enough for us to celebrate, however we can take some joy in the fact that here is an American, bi-racial, feminist, working, divorcee who is nonetheless being welcomed into the Royal Family! So who knows, maybe the first real Jewish American Princess is still out there somewhere, biding her time at some JCC pre-school awaiting an introduction to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 4 year old son, Prince George of Cambridge. Halevai – (Hebrew for, “we can only hope!)
Rabbi Judy Chessin