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Mazel Tov, Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden!

The couple proves you don’t have to be Jewish to have a Jewish wedding

Rachel Shukert
January 08, 2015
Cameron Diaz. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
Cameron Diaz. (Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

We’re sorry to be a day late on this (urgent Disneyland-related family business was at hand), so by now it’s possible you’ve already heard the news that perennial Hollywood bachelorette Cameron Diaz, the free-spirited yin to Jennifer Aniston’s lonely single yang, has abruptly tied the knot with Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden, a grown man who goes by Benji and who has a twin brother named Joel. (I think they’re identical, but I’ve entered the stage in my dotage where I have face-blindness toward anyone who crosses a certain threshold of maximum tattoos.)

What’s more, the “low-key,” “star-studded” ceremony, which boasted celebrity besties like Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow, was a Jewish one, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that neither Diaz nor Madden is Jewish. Not even a little bit. Not even in a “oh-my-grandfather-on-my-mom’s-side-was-which-is-why-I-have-this-Hebrew-letter-tattoo-even-though-I’m-not-quite-sure-which-letter-it-is-and-also-Kabbalah-David-Beckham” kind-of-way.

And you know what? Mazel tov to them, although it would be nice to think that somebody at the ceremony—perhaps Gwyneth, over the rim of her organic kelp Martini glass—thought to mention Anne Hathaway for having predicted this trend (not to mention yours truly, who first observed it in this very magazine). I’ve always said that all other things being equal, Jewish weddings are by far the best. The chuppah is an aesthetically pleasing construction that pretty much everyone has in one form or other. Breaking the glass is the most satisfying way to conclude a ceremony since the invention of the Olympic torch. Being drunkenly hoisted on chairs while in cumbersome formalwear is an excellent early test of your fortitude as a couple, as is actually giving your guests enough to eat. I don’t blame Cameron and her little dog Benji for wanting to partake in all these comforting and celebratory rituals without having to deal with the pain in the ass of, you know, actually being Jewish. If we’re offended at having our traditions co-opted, just think how the Buddhists must feel every time they walk into a Pier 1.

I do propose one thing that would level the playing field for other gentile couples looking for the full Jewish marriage experience. You can have one—rabbi and ketubah and everything—under one condition: You have to plan your wedding with a real, live, certified Jewish mother. You want the chuppah? You have to go to the florist with her. You want Old Testament solemnity that makes the vows feel a little more meaningful and official than promising to always make someone their favorite cocoa in the morning? Fine, but Mrs. Mandelbaum has to approve your guest list first, and while she’s at it, she’d like to go over the seating arrangement with you, too. Just to add a couple of people that Daddy knows from work. It won’t take long. You can still have all your friends, or at least most of them. But come on, Cameron. Fair is fair.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.