During the 2016 presidential election, Ivanka and Jared played key roles in US President Donald Trump’s campaign. However, they are both Jewish and observing the Sabbath meant they were completely uncontactable for 24 hours each week. From sunset on Friday until sunset on Saturday their faith dictates that they are not allowed to use mobile phones or any other kind of technology.
According to the 2019 book ‘Kushner Inc’, a campaign source told author Vicky Ward that their commitment to their faith was admirable, but nonetheless frustrating.
They reportedly said: “Every Friday night, people were calling Jared as the sun was going down… ‘What about this? What about that?’
“And Jared was very good about not being in contact during Sabbath, and it was frustrating for us, because if you didn’t get an answer by sundown, you were basically just in a holding pattern for 24 hours.”
Jared was brought up in an Orthodox Jewish family and Ivanka was brought up Presbyterian.
Initially, Jared’s parents Charlie and Seryl Kushner were “horrified” at the idea their son might marry outside of the faith.
The idea was particularly “offensive” to Seryl, who had raised the children, and her world was the traditional conservative Jewish culture.
In fact, Jared’s parents refused to even meet Ivanka and, partly due to this, they broke up for several months in 2008.
However, they rekindled their romance on a yachting holiday with Wendi Deng Murdoch.
Soon after, Ivanka converted to Judaism under the instruction of Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, then the rabbi of the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on New York’s Upper East Side.
Friends told Ms Ward that Jared’s father made the conversion “as challenging as possible”.
One family friend, Bob Sommer, said: “This wasn’t like, ‘Talk to a rabbi, read a couple of paragraphs.
“It was hard, and it was on Charlie’s terms.”
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However, Ivanka passed with flying colours and she married Jared on October 25, 2009.
Soon her in-laws were “effusive” about her, with Charlie telling people that Ivanka “really wanted to be a Kushner”.
However, Ivanka’s father Donald Trump is said to have been “discombolutated” and “baffled” by her conversion.
He reportedly said to his political aide Sam Nunberg: “Why should my daughter have to convert to marry anyone?”
What’s more, Ivanka’s wedding party was a “shock” to Mr Trump, because it was carried out in line with conservative Jewish tradition.
For example, Ivanka’s dress covered her shoulders, women were given shawls when they arrived and the sexes were asked to dance separately several times during the night.
The couple now have three children, who have all grown up in the Jewish faith: Arabella Rose, 8, Joseph Frederick, 6, and Theodore James, 4.
In the Trump administration, both Ivanka and Jared are senior advisers to the president ‒ Ivanka for womens’ issues and Jared for strategic planning.
Ivanka’s pet project has been her Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, aiming to empower 50 million women around the world by 2025.
Meanwhile, Jared has been working on the controversial Middle East Peace Plan, which aims to end the Israel-Palestine conflict.
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