Over the weekend, two amazing Jewish women married each other — making for one of the best power couples around.
On Sunday, Randi Weingarten, 60, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, married Sharon Kleinbaum, 58, who is the rabbi at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, New York’s leading synagogue for LGBTQ Jews. Their wedding — at La Marina in New York — was featured in the Weddings section of The New York Times.
The couple have known each other since the mid-1990s. Weingarten told the Times how they just got along really well: “We were two lesbians in New York fighting for different things,” she said. “We liked each other. We had good banter. It wasn’t as if there were a lot of high-profile gay women who were active in leadership roles. I thought she was fun, witty, and smart.”
Back then, Kleinbaum was married with two daughters. She divorced in 2012, and the two women began dating when Weingarten sent an email asking Kleinbaum to lunch — and a few emails later, the request had turned into a date.
It was a difficult time for Kleinbaum: “My life had been turned upside down,” she said. “Here I was in my 50s with my dogs, and all I had was a mattress on the floor. But Randi never seemed uncomfortable. I thought, this is an incredibly kind person. I value kindness. Slowly I got furniture.”
And slowly their relationship grew, despite doing the long-distance thing: Weingarten commuted between New York and Washington.
“We’re not spring chickens,” Kleinbaum said, adding: “We’re both astounded we found each other and both astounded we’re making it work. If you live long enough, life is full of surprises.”
Mazel tov to the happy couple!