It was 63 years ago almost to the day, on June 29, 1956, that Marilyn Monroe, a Jew by choice, and Arthur Miller, a Jew by birth, were married in a four-minute ceremony by Judge Seymour Rabinowitz at the Westchester County Courthouse in New York. Two days later they were married again in a religious ceremony performed in Connecticut by Rabbi Robert Goldburg of Congregation Mishkan Israel. Goldburg had guided Marilyn through conversion just before the marriage.
The nuptials between the Hollywood goddess and the Jewish genius of the Broadway stage was one of the unlikeliest marriages in the history of 20th century show business. It would end in divorce and tragedy. Their relationship is the subject of my upcoming series of classes for the Senior Sages program at The Temple.
Miller was just one of a number of Jewish men and women who played significant and sometimes crucial roles in Monroe’s life. Among them was Paula Strasberg, her acting coach who would later inherit her estate. But there were many others which, if taken together would make up a sizeable egalitarian minyan.
The five years of marriage between Miller and Monroe is a fascinating story of star-making and celebrity mischief in a world that was dominated by individuals who had little in common aside from their Jewish heritage and their relationship to these two towering personalities.
My Senior Sages program at The Temple will be on Wednesday mornings beginning July 10. For more information, consult The Temple’s events calendar, www.the-temple.org.