Feldsuk, Jeannie Suk, Jews, Law Professors, Noah Feldman, Religion

Feldsuk, Disrespected? Oy Vey!

Noah Feldman Noah R Feldman Jeannie Suk Jeannie C Suk Above the Law.JPGWe’re probably about to open a big ol’ can of worms. We’ve been procrastinating on writing this up for a while. But what the heck — opening up cans of worms is our job.
This past Sunday, the New York Times Magazine had a very interesting essay by celebrity law professor Noah Feldman. Here at ATL, he and his wife, fellow Harvard Law School prof Jeannie Suk, have reached a level of Brangelina celebrity that has entitled them to their own mono-moniker: Feldsuk (which you voted on, so you’re estopped from complaining).
Here’s the lede of Professor Feldman’s piece:

A number of years ago, I went to my 10th high-school reunion, in the backyard of the one classmate whose parents had a pool. Lots of my classmates were there. Almost all were married, and many already had kids. This was not as unusual as it might seem, since I went to a yeshiva day school, and nearly everyone remained Orthodox. I brought my girlfriend. At the end, we all crowded into a big group photo, shot by the school photographer, who had taken our pictures from first grade through graduation. When the alumni newsletter came around a few months later, I happened to notice the photo. I looked, then looked again. My girlfriend and I were nowhere to be found.

I didn’t want to seem paranoid, especially in front of my girlfriend, to whom I was by that time engaged. So I called my oldest school friend, who appeared in the photo, and asked for her explanation. “You’re kidding, right?” she said. My fiancée was Korean-American. Her presence implied the prospect of something that from the standpoint of Orthodox Jewish law could not be recognized: marriage to someone who was not Jewish. That hint was reason enough to keep us out.

Not long after, I bumped into the photographer, in synagogue, on Yom Kippur. When I walked over to him, his pained expression told me what I already knew. “It wasn’t me,” he said. I believed him.

Since then I have occasionally been in contact with the school’s alumni director, who has known me since I was a child. I say “in contact,” but that implies mutuality where none exists. What I really mean is that in the nine years since the reunion I have sent him several updates about my life, for inclusion in the “Mazal Tov” section of the newsletter. I sent him news of my marriage. When our son was born, I asked him to report that happy event. The most recent news was the birth of our daughter this winter. Nothing doing. None of my reports made it into print.

Many readers emailed us about this piece. The reactions of three of them appear after the jump.

Reader #1:

[Had] you noticed Noah Feldman’s lengthy NYT Magazine piece from this past weekend? It does include some discuss[ion] of the orthodox jewish high school he attended editing he and his wife out of the alumni photo because she’s not Jewish and stuff.

Interestingly, Maimonides High School is hardly a right-wing institution in the orthodox world… It’s somewhat controversial for being co-ed, and most graduates pursue professional careers (like the law, surprisingly).

Reader #2:

I don’t know if you have seen this yet, but check out the Noah Feldman article in the NY Times about his experiences with his high school, Maimonides School in Brookline. Among other things, he complains of being cut out of a picture at a reunion because of his obviously non-jewish spouse.

This is big news! Feld-suk cut out of a reunion photo! How dare they!

Reader #3:

There’s an article from the first half of FeldSuk in this week’s NY Times magazine (but you probably already knew that). He basically whines and bitches about how his very ortho (not very modern ortho, from the way he describes it) won’t have a picture of him and his wife (then fiancee) from his 10-year high school reunion.

Yes, I’m completely shocked that a f***ing yeshiva isn’t keen on pointing out how an alumnus has kids with a non-Jewish, non-converting mother (and he didn’t mention if he’s even raising them Jewish). That would be a WONDERFUL way to get alumni donations and people to send their kids there.

Also, he represents certain things as tenets of Orthodox Judaism that are minority views or particular idiosyncrasies of his yeshiva… not that he has an ax to grind, or anything., I’m sure you’ll be getting a TON of mail and comments on this one.

Please note that the three readers whose reactions are quoted above are Jewish. Thanks.
Update: Please keep the discussion in the comments civil. Thank you.
Orthodox Paradox [New York Times Magazine]
Earlier: Prior ATL coverage of Feldsuk (scroll down)

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