Editor’s note: This piece was originally published on Valentine’s day, 2022. Tonight marks the beginning of Tu B’av, the Jewish day of love so we decided to republish this piece and celebrate some sweet, sweet Jewish love.
Happy Valentine’s Day! OK, so this isn’t a Jewish holiday at all, but many rabbis have no problem with celebrating the day of love, which has both Christian and pagan roots. Also, if you’ve heard that St. Valentine was antisemitic or killed Jews, that’s a lie — we don’t actually know much about who St. Valentine was.
But what we do know is that the modern holiday has little to do with celebrating Christian saints and everything to do with celebrating love (and eating candy, also very important). So let’s use this opportunity to celebrate some love — some Jewish love. If any of you are having trouble believing in love today, or just feeling a little sad, these Jewish couples will give you joy. And, most importantly, they’re undeniable proof that love is real.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Marty Ginsburg
Jewish Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of blessed memory and her husband, tax lawyer Martin “Marty” Ginsburg, are arguably the most iconic American Jewish couple of all time. The two met at Cornell in the 1950s and RBG often said that Marty was unusual because “he was the only boy I ever knew… who cared that I had a brain.”
Ruth and Marty were partners in every way, and Marty actively helped support his wife’s career: He gave her a tax case which became her first big sex discrimination case, was an advocate for her, and co-parenting their two kids.
— Philly Snowflake (@phillysnowflake) September 4, 2018
At her Supreme Court hearing, RBG kvelled about Marty: “I have had the great good fortune to share life with a partner truly extraordinary for his generation, a man who believed at age 18 when we met, and who believes today, that a woman’s work, whether at home or on the job, is as important as a man’s,” she said.
Before passing away from cancer in 2010, Marty wrote Ruth one final letter. In it, he wrote, “My dearest Ruth, you are the only person I have loved in my life — setting aside a bit, parents and kids and their kids — and I have admired and loved you almost since the day we first met at Cornell.”
Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody
The joy that Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody have given me since they started sharing the minutiae of their daily lives and love on social media is incalculable. One of the first videos the couple’s son, Gideon, posted of the two of them on social media, during Covid isolation in upstate NY, was of Patinkin and Grody talking about their wedding anniversary.
“It began lovely, and turned into an absolute fight,” Patinkin says. “Both of us lost.” “I apologized and that made dad cry,” Grody says. “We’ve always connected through weeping.”
Snack Dog Walk Matza Trade pic.twitter.com/EarwCLq0hW
— Mandy Patinkin (@PatinkinMandy) January 9, 2021
The two actors got married in 1980, two years after their first date, in which Patinkin told Grody, “I’m going to marry you,” and she responded with, “You’re going to get hurt, because I’m not going to marry anyone.”
“I went online back in 1978 and I typed in matzah-loving woman,” Patinkin joked in one video in which Grody is shown making him matzah brei. As you know, the couple that matzahs together stays together.
Jared Polis and Marlon Reis
Jared Polis made history in 2018 when he became the first gay, and the first Jewish, governor of the state of Colorado. He brought with him an amazing Jewish first family: his partner Marlon Reis, a writer and animal rights activist, and their two kids.
Well, last year, Polis and Reis made their love official when they got married under a chuppah wearing matching bright blue kippot — on the morning before Yom Kippur.
The greatest lesson we have learned over the past 18 months is that life as we know it can change in an instant. We are thankful for the opportunity to celebrate our life together as a married couple.
After 18 years together, we couldn't be happier to be married at last. pic.twitter.com/psBhfEoEny
— Governor Jared Polis (@GovofCO) September 15, 2021
“Mawage. Mawage is what brings us together today,” is how Polis opened his social media posts about the ceremony, adorably quoting “The Princess Bride.” They actually got married following a fraught time when both of them got sick with Covid. As Reis was about to go to the hospital, Polis proposed:
“I’d been thinking about it for a while,” Polis told CPR news. “I’d ordered the rings, with an inscription from Isaiah, and had them hidden and ready to go. And he was going off to the hospital with Covid. I mean, I knew he’d probably get better, but obviously, you never know. I thought, now’s a good time to give them something to remember here as we leave the house to take him to the hospital.”
“You never go to the hospital with an upbeat spirit, but [Marlon] probably had an extra, extra beat in his step as he walked into the hospital,” Polis added. He also shared that his kids knew about the proposal. So darling!
Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer
One could argue that no Jewish couple has changed the course of history like Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who helped make gay marriage legal in the U.S. The couple was together for 40 years before Spyer died in 2009, two years after they got married in Canada (though Spyer originally proposed to Windsor all the way back in 1967 — with a brooch rather than a ring).
“It was a love affair that just kept on and on and on,” Windsor recounted. “It really was. Something like three weeks before Thea died, she said: ‘Jesus we’re still in love, aren’t we’.”
After Spyer’s death, Windsor got hit with a $363,000 estate tax because their marriage was not legally recognized. And so Windsor sued, and it was her case that helped repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
“I think she’d be so proud and happy and just so pleased at how far we have come. It’s a culmination of an engagement that happened between us in 1967 when we didn’t dream that we’d be able to marry,” Windsor said when asked what Spyer would think about how their wedding made history.
What an amazing testament to their love.
Ina Garten and Jeffrey Garten
Ina and Jeffrey are the real deal. We love Jefferey for his flowers and his smile, and Ina for writing an entire book called “Cooking for Jeffrey,” and also for sharing their love on “Barefoot Contessa” throughout the years.
The Jewish couple met at Dartmouth in 1964, when Jeffrey saw 16-year-old Ina from his dorm room. They got married in 1968. Jefferey is an economist and academic, and the dean emeritus at Yale School of Management.
“Jeffrey and I don’t always live in the same place, because he’s at Yale in New Haven and I’m in East Hampton working on my books,” Garten once told Today. “And one thing we always do is we always connect with each other during the day. And the thing is, even though he’s away, he’s like this anchor in the middle of my life. Instead of making me feel kind of lost at sea, it’s this big anchor in the middle of my life and it gives me enormous freedom, which is wonderful.”
“Happy Birthday to the love of my life!” Ina wrote on Jeffrey’s birthday last year. “I’ve loved you for more than 50 years and I’m just getting started.” We’re obsessed.
Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher
The Jewish comedian and the Australian actor have been together for 20 years and their love is so funny and so beautiful! The couple first started going out in 2001, and after they got engaged in 2004, Fisher told the Evening Standard: “I will definitely have a Jewish wedding just to be with Sacha. I would do anything — move into any religion — to be united in marriage with him.”
Anyway, let’s take a moment to admire tiny baby Sacha and Isla:
The two got married in Paris in a secret Jewish ceremony in 2004.
“We had a secret wedding in Paris. And the ruse was that it was my father’s 70th birthday and that he was a famous chef in England. That was how we avoided having photographers at the wedding. I trained him up to be in character. He said that his favorite dish that he created was L’oeuf Scrambled,” Cohen recounted.
Cohen and Fisher not only have a beautiful relationship, but they’re also all about spreading the love with some quality matchmaking. They helped set up Larry David and his wife Ashley Underwood at a birthday: “Together, we have set up three weddings,” Cohen told the New York Times.
Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick
SJP and Matthew Broderick have been together for a long long time. The “Sex and the City” and “And Just Like That…” star, who was raised by a Jewish father and identifies as Jewish, and Broderick, who was raised by a Jewish mother, met on Broadway in 1991. It took Broderick months to ask Parker out; he finally did it by leaving her a voicemail.
In an interview with the two in their apartment titled “Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick: Too Cute for Words?” (the answer to that question is YES!), Parker recalled: “He left a very charming, very self-effacing message on the machine. You know, ‘Hi, it’s Matthew Broderick.’ You had to use your last name,” she told the New York Times.
The two got married at Angel Orensanz Synagogue in New York’s Lower East Side in 1997. It was a surprise wedding; the guests didn’t know they were about to attend a marriage ceremony. Parker wore a black dress and Broderick’s sister, a minister, officiated the wedding. Here’s an adorable photo from the event:
Broderick and Parker are currently starring together in the Plaza Suite, more than 20 years after they first got on stage together, in 1995’s revival of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”
“He’s probably the funniest fellow I’ve met in my whole life. He’s so bright, so handsome. I think he’s the most handsome man I’ve seen in my life. And he inspires me. I’m mad for him, totally,” she told the LA Times back then.
Three kids and almost a quarter-century later, their love is still going strong: “Relationships are hard,” she told Sophia Amoruso on her Girlboss podcast in 2016. “I always felt that I wanted to invest more. I love him, and I think he’s brilliant. I’m sure I annoy him. He annoys me sometimes. I’m enormously proud of the person he is. I think the longer you can last, the more invested you just are.”
Sarit Haddad and Tamar Yahalomi
Augh, listen, there is just something about being a Mizrahi music icon for over 20 years and coming out with a love song whose video ends with a shot of you and your partner snuggling on a bench in front of a seaside sunset called “A Love Like Ours.”
Sarit Hadad has been an absolute musical star in Israel since 1995, representing the country in the Eurovision Song Contest and releasing hit song after hit song. But she has kept mum about her private life for most of the time, aside from sharing news about the births of her two daughters in 2017 and 2020.
That changed this year when Hadad finally decided to speak her love for Tamar Yahalomi, a fellow singer and songwriter, sharing their love in an unforgettable music video. This love story will always part of Israeli music lore!
Paul Rudd and Julie Yaeger
How do you deal with being married to the sexiest man alive? Well, with humor and humility, if you’re Julie Yaeger, Paul Rudd’s wife.
“She was stupefied,” Rudd said about his wife’s reaction to the news “But, you know, she was very sweet about it. After some giggling and shock, she said, ‘Oh, they got it right.’ And that was very sweet. She was probably not telling the truth, but what’s she going to say?”
Rudd and Yaeger met in 1998, when director Amy Heckerling urged him to find a publicist, which was Yaeger’s job at the time. “She was the first person I met in New York,” he told Marie Claire in 2018. “We started talking and there was a maturity with her — she had experienced some tragedy in her life, I had too, and the impression I got was, wow, this is a woman. This isn’t a girl. I was really taken with who she was and how she had overcome, and was in the process of overcoming, adversities in her life. There was a perspective that she had and still has on the world that you don’t come to easily — it’s earned, and most people don’t have it at such a young age.”
The two got married in 2013 and have two kids, a daughter and a son.
“I don’t think I’m going to sell a lot of tabloids. My wife and I have been together for 16 years. My parents were married my whole life until my father passed away a few years ago,” Rudd told People.
We love us a boring, loving Jewish marriage.
Gal Gadot and Jaron Varsano
If there’s one thing that Gal Gadot loves doing on social media, it’s sharing her love with her hubby and the father of their three children, Jaron Varsano.
I mean, she is relentless about it, and honestly, we can’t complain, because they are very, very cute together.
Varsano and Gadot have been married for 13 years (that’s right, their wedding has had a bar mitzvah). They’re not only partners in life, but they also founded Pilot Wave, a production company, which means they’re collaborating together on making movies and TV shows about badass women, like Jewish inventor Hedy Lamarr and Holocaust hero Irena Sendler.
Rashida Jones and Ezra Koenig
OK, Rashida Jones and Ezra Koenig’s love and family are mostly kept private — so private that back in 2018, they had a whole secret baby that they never publicly talked about! (They gave him a very Jewish name, Isaiah.) Still, every picture of the two of them together gives us joy.
The beloved Jewish actress and daughter of Peggy Lipton and the Jewish Vampire Weekend lead singer have been together since about 2015.
Can we just pause and admire what an adorable couple they are? We’re obsessed.
Ben Platt and Noah Galvin
Two talented Jews! Two Evan Hansens! Too much cuteness! Seriously, this couple has an “almost too much for my heart, feel like I might die from sweetness overload every time I look at their social media accounts” kind of cuteness. But also, keep sharing it with and making us believe in love, Noah and Ben.
The two Broadway and TV stars (they both starred as the titular role in “Dear Evan Hansen”) have been together since 2020, making them the only post-Covid romance on our list — and honestly, while one can’t be grateful for a global pandemic, we’re a little grateful that the coronavirus gave us this one good thing.
Leslie Odom Jr. & Nicolette Robinson
OK, fine, so Leslie Odom Jr. is not Jewish, but this couple of absolutely beastly singing and acting talents got married under a chuppah and recorded a Hanukkah song together. Seriously, their gorgeous jazzy version of “Maoz Tzur” is absolute perfection. So yes, they belong on this list.
Plus, their love is so, so beautiful. The two Broadway stars got married in 2012 under a chuppah, with Robinson’s father officiating: “He has long since been the unofficial family rabbi and we all look to him for guidance and advice.” They share two beautiful children and we want them to keep making beautiful (literal) music together forever.