Photo: Israel Bardugo

No ordinary love

Rabbi Jonathan Levy, Protestant minister Catharine Schtorkel met on heritage search and fell in love. She was allowed to keep her position, he was forced to leave congregation

PARIS -  An unusual love story has swept the French off their feet: a Reform rabbi from the south of France recently married a Protestant minister, who had discovered her Jewish heritage, Yedioth Ahronoth published Sunday.


Catharine Schtorkel and Jonathan Levy, met a little over a year ago, when Schtorkel started looking into her Jewish heritage.


Schtorkel was born in Strasbourg, in France's northeast, where a large Jewish community resided before World War Two. "About a year ago, one of my friends told me that my maternal grandfather was Jewish and suggested I speak to Rabbi Levy in Montpellier (in the south of France)."


Paris-born Levy was glad to help her in her search for her roots and the two quickly found that Schtorkel's entire family, on her mother's side, were Jews, forced to hide their origin during the Nazi occupation.


Since that was the case, Schtorkel – according to halacha – is actually Jewish.


She began to study Judaism and the two grew closer, eventually falling in love. They decided to make their unusual romance official and were married in a Jerusalem six weeks ago.


'A symbolic union'

"When two people love each other they have two choices: they can either marry or continue their romance without marrying. We chose to marry," said Levy.


"This is a marriage of three, Jonathan, me and God," said Schtorkel. "I'm still a Protestant minister and I still believe in Jesus. We pray together every morning."


"I see our marriage as a symbolic union between the Old Testament and the new one," added Levy.


The establishment, however, was not as happy for the two: while Schtorkel was allowed to retain her position as minister of her small town, Levy was ordered to leave his congregation.


"I'm sad about that. I wish my movement was as tolerant as it preaches others to be," said Levy. "All they could see was a rabbi marrying a minister. They couldn't see it as just Jonathan marrying Catharine."


The two are planning to move to Israel within the next two years.


פרסום ראשון: 08.27.07, 17:10
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