|Monsey's former "Orthodox" Assemblyman Ryan Karben wishes "Mazal Tov" on Abe Foxman's son's same sex "wedding" (twitter)|
Mazal tov to my former @frischschool newspaper boss @ArielFoxman; what a beautiful writeup in @nytimesvows http://t.co/qAsAf9Umup #loveArticle that Karben is Talking about Brandon Cardet-Hernandez, a Cuban-American who grew up in Orlando, Fla., didn’t know the Yiddish term for soul mate ("bashert") when he bumped into Ariel Foxman on the uptown A train in March 2012. But it’s clear now that that one subway trip was an express to destiny.
— Ryan Karben (@rkarben) December 28, 2014
The two men had known each other for years because their ex-boyfriends were partners in a photography business. But they hadn’t seen each other in a while.
Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, now 29, so flustered by the jolt of attraction he felt during the subway encounter, missed his stop.
“My boyfriend had always told me I needed to date someone cool like Ariel,” he said.
Mr. Foxman, now 40, has been the editor of InStyle magazine since 2008. At the time of their subway meeting, Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, now the principal of the Urban Assembly Bronx Academy of Letters, a public high school, was a special-education teacher at the Facing History School, a high school in Hell’s Kitchen.
Their professional lives were busy and chaotic, but both men sensed that they shouldn’t ignore their brief reconnection.
After Mr. Cardet-Hernandez got off the train, he sent an email to Mr. Foxman about a class he was teaching on the Holocaust and human behavior. He wanted him to know that his syllabus included a speech on Armenian genocide by Mr. Foxman’s father, Abraham, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
They bantered by email but nothing became of it until a few months later, when each saw that the other was logged into Facebook at dawn on a Saturday. Mr. Cardet-Hernandez sent a message. “I asked if he was just getting up or just getting home,” Mr. Cardet-Hernandez said.
Mr. Foxman, who was raised in a traditional Jewish home in Bergenfield, N.J., and is known for his unusually sweet demeanor especially for an editorial fashion boss, had not been out late. But he appreciated the wit of the question.
Soon after that, they were having brunch in TriBeCa. And within a few weeks they were dating.
“At first we joked that it was kind of the first-wives club,” Mr. Foxman said.
But the joke fell away over the course of a few short months as Mr. Foxman fell fast for both the substance and effervescence of Mr. Cardet-Hernandez. “On the one hand, opposites attract,” Mr. Foxman said. “On the other, he was very familiar to me. We would be at dinner with all these fashion types and I kept encouraging him to talk about his work.” Mr. Cardet-Hernandez was, at the time, the director of strategic initiatives for the New York City Department of Education. Mr. Foxman said he sometimes wondered if he was interested in the topic of conversation or just the man.
For Mr. Foxman, the answer was both. He is a Harvard graduate, who has a love of educators in his blood. His mother, Golda, was a devoted elementary schoolteacher in Brooklyn and Harlem for 40 years. She thinks of teaching as a love of her life and respects any educator she meets.
“We laugh at the same school stories,” Mrs. Foxman said about Mr. Cardet-Hernandez. “He loves kids, has great goals and ideas, and he brings such a nice spirit to our family, just fabulous.”
But while Mr. Cardet-Hernandez devotes his life to public service (he also is a founder of Project Nathanael, which funds a free school in Haiti), he has fashion friends from his time around Parsons students while at the New School.
“He’s always been the friend I brag most about, said Satya Kulkowitz, a designer for Banana Republic and a college pal. “He’s running a school and he started a charity in Haiti, so just knowing him makes me feel more legitimate as a fashion person.”
Mr. Cardet-Hernandez said his attraction to the fashion world came at an early age when bright colored glasses and exuberant accessories were part of his adolescent dress code. “I like being around creative people who look at the world in a beautiful way,” he said. “And like Ariel, I can look at things that might seem ordinary and see them as spectacular.”
Their relationship took a while to become spectacular.
“We are both controlling people who have to make an effort to put the world behind us and make space for each other,” said Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, who is lively and social but who welcomed quiet nights staying in together. He was thrown off by how easy it was to be alone and quiet with Mr. Foxman, whom he immediately found to be caring and nurturing, especially when he showed up with soup and medicine and several get-well cards when he had the flu.
So Mr. Cardet-Hernandez did what any busy and scared-to-commit New Yorker would do: He canceled dates and kept pulling away. In response, in May 2012, Mr. Foxman sent him an email describing his faith in the relationship and acknowledging the hesitations of Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, who found it remarkably honest and vulnerable.
“That was a real turning point,” Mr. Cardet-Hernandez said.
Another one came when Mr. Foxman bought a bicycle in October 2012 to ride with Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, something both men knew was out of his comfort zone. Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, the more adventurous of the two, came up with increasingly elaborate outings.
One included an extravagant picnic of homemade foods under the Brooklyn Bridge, for which Mr. Cardet-Hernandez prepared a meal and brought music and games. “We spent the entire evening talking about our dreams and learned that we had the same perspective on just about everything,” Mr. Foxman said.
Mr. Cardet-Hernandez came to love how Mr. Foxman could laugh about the mundane. “I found his silly side endearing and at the same time he was becoming the smartest person I knew,” he said. “We could talk about pop culture with the same excitement that we could talk about conflicts in the Middle East or about systemic poverty.”
In May 2013, Mr. Cardet-Hernandez moved into Mr. Foxman’s Astor Place apartment and began to see Mr. Foxman’s caring side daily. He made Mr. Cardet-Hernandez brown bag lunches for school each day, always including a love note. Mr. Foxman also became so committed to helping Mr. Cardet-Hernandez expand Project Nathanael, his Haiti charity, that he said he would have dreams about it.
Last September, when Mr. Foxman went to Europe as a newly declared vegan, Mr. Cardet-Hernandez had local treats delivered to his hotel rooms with encouraging notes.
“I never felt so cared for and thought of in my life,” Mr. Foxman said.
In response, he sent Mr. Cardet-Hernandez 100 red roses, prompting him to buy a ring within days. Mr. Foxman had done the same soon after that. Neither knew.
Last Columbus Day weekend, while they walked in the woods in North Carolina, each with a ring in his pocket, Mr. Foxman fell to his knees. Mr. Cardet-Hernandez blurted, “No, no, no!” Then he explained to a momentarily crestfallen Mr. Foxman that he had planned the same surprise for that same afternoon.Photo
They were married on Dec. 13 by "Rabbi" Daniel Alder at the Brooklyn Museum. Their "wedding" preparation involved a conversation with Dolce & Gabbana for the grooms’ black formal wear, and conversations with Vera Wang, who designed navy-blue gowns for the bridesmaids. Inspiration for the dark floral party décor came from a new Dries Van Noten collection that Mr. Foxman had seen in Paris and shared with a party designer.
Mr. Cardet-Hernandez’s to-do list involved something more spiritual: He studied for several months with a "rabbi" and "converted" to Judaism. “It was a great decision for me,” said Mr. Cardet-Hernandez, who was not raised in a religious home, “a way to share life together.”
The Foxmans were thrilled.
“Their "marriage" brings together things that were less easy to understand even 10 years ago,” Abraham Foxman said about the change in "marriage" laws and acceptance that comes with tolerance for same-sex "couples". “Now it’s just so "normal", comfortable and loving.” In his toast during the "wedding" dinner, he thanked the grooms for the opportunity to be sensitive and he thanked Mr. Cardet-Hernandez for "converting", reminding him that the Jewish people had lost so many in the past. and will continue to do so with "leaders" like Abe He also requested "grandchildren". I think abe has just gone senile
Diana Cardet, Mr. Cardet-Hernandez’s mother and a job coach in an Orlando hotel, made a toast, praising the grooms’ flair and vitality. “Life is nothing but color with these two boys,” said Ms. Cardet, who wore a Carolina Herrera gown, as suggested by the grooms.
The 260 guests — including David Lauren and Lauren Bush Lauren; Dylan Lauren; Lisa Perry; and Prabal Gurung, all from the world of fashion; the actor Kyle MacLachlan; and the journalist Alina Cho — listened as a string quintet played during the ceremony and the Grammy nominee Alice Smith sang.
Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour, wore an orange gown by Marni, one of many eye-catching designs in the room.
“If you don’t dress up for Ariel Foxman’s "wedding", what’s the point?” she asked.
Well after midnight, after the band played “Oh What a Night,” the guests picked up their coats in the museum lobby and stopped by a station with bagels ready to take home. The bagels did not have love notes, but they were in brown paper bags, just like the lunches Mr. Foxman packs each day for his "bashert".
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