Uncategorized | 2:17 pm | August 1, 2010 | By Sam Greenberg

Slifka’s Ponet ’68 officiates Clinton wedding

Can you spot him? Rabbi James Ponet '68 is obscured by Chelsea Clinton, whose wedding he jointly officiated with a Methodist minister.
Can you spot him? Rabbi James Ponet '68 is obscured by Chelsea Clinton, whose wedding he jointly officiated with a Methodist minister. Photo by Genevieve deManio.

Updated, August 2, 2010: The Slifka Center’s own Rabbi James Ponet ’68 officiated at Chelsea Clinton’s uber-hyped wedding at an estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y., on Saturday, according to multiple news outlets.

The Clinton family tried to keep the details of the event secret from everyone but the hundreds of guests in attendance, who included Ponet, Yale’s Jewish chaplain and director of the Joseph Slifka Center. He was joined by Rev. William Shillady in leading the interfaith ceremony between Clinton, who is Methodist, and her Jewish husband, Marc Mezvinsky.

“It was a deep, beautiful wedding; Elana [Ponet] and I were privileged to be there,” Ponet told the News. “Marc and Chelsea are a very serious, thoughtful and committed couple.”

Asked why he was chosen to officiate, Ponet said he was referred to the couple by “a number of people.”

“After meeting them I felt honored to help them create and implement a ceremony that gave expression to their deepest convictions,” he added.

The New York Times reported that the wedding included both Methodist and Jewish traditions, such as exchanging vows and having family and friends read the Seven Blessings, which are recited at Jewish weddings. Ponet also married the couple under a chuppah, the traditional canopy under which Jewish couples are wed, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, an international Jewish news organization.

While former President Bill Clinton LAW ’73 and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton LAW ’73 met at Yale, the newlywed couple met while they were in high school in Washington, D.C., and both later attended Stanford University.

Ponet has been the Jewish chaplain at Yale since 1981. He was ordained by Hebrew Union College, the seminary of the Reform movement, in 1973.

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