What’s A Well-Lived life?

The Year in Quiet Quitting

A new generation discovers that it’s hard to balance work with a well-lived life.


Illustration of a woman doing yoga while in a Zoom meeting.

Illustration by Liam Eisenberg

The whirlwind surrounding “quiet quitting” first stirred in July when Zaid Khan, a twentysomething engineer, posted a TikTok of himself talking over a montage of urban scenes: waiting for the subway, looking up at leaves on a tree-lined street. “I recently learned about this term called quiet quitting, where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” Khan says. “You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be your life. The reality is it’s not. And your worth as a person is not defined by your labor.” The #quietquitting hashtag quickly caught fire, with countless other TikTokers offering their own elaborations and responses.

Traditional media outlets noticed the trend. Less than two weeks after the original video, the Guardian published an explainer: “Quiet Quitting: Why Doing the Bare Minimum at Work Has Gone Global.” A few days later, the Wall Street Journal followed with its own take, and the traditional financial media piled on. “If you’re a quiet quitter, you’re a loser,” the CNBC contributor Kevin O’Leary declared, before adding, “This is like a virus. This is worse than covid.” Quiet-quitting supporters fought back, mostly with sarcasm. Soon after O’Leary’s appearance, a popular TikTok user named Hunter Ka’imi posted a video, recorded in the passenger seat of a car, in which he responds to the “older gentlemen” whom he had seen dismissing quiet quitting. “I’m not going to put in a sixty-hour workweek and pull myself up by my bootstraps for a job that does not care about me as a person,” he declares.

As we approach the sixth month of debate over this topic, what’s interesting to me is not the details of quiet quitting, or even the question of how widespread the phenomenon actually is, but our collective reaction to its provocations: we’re simultaneously baffled and enthusiastic. To understand this complicated reality, it helps to adopt a generational lens. Though quiet quitting has gathered diverse adherents, its core energy comes from knowledge workers who are members of Generation Z (born between 1997 and 2012). This is reflected in the movement’s emergence on TikTok, and in the survey data. A recent Gallup poll found that the largest group of workers reporting being “not engaged” are those born after 1989. Today’s young employees, however, are far from the first population to go through a period of sudden disillusionment about the role of work in their lives. Indeed, a look backward reveals that knowledge workers in every previous generation seem to have experienced a similar pattern of work crisis followed by reconceptualization.

The baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) entered a newly emergent knowledge-work sector that had been formed by a postwar migration to the suburbs. Their parents found a substitute for civic engagement in an Organization Man-ethos centered on loyalty to corporations that could offer lifetime employment in return. This subordination of the individual to the greater cause fit with the ethos of a generation that had banded together to fight fascism in the nineteen-forties, but to their children, surrounded by the social disruptions of the nineteen-sixties and seventies, the sentiment began to seem stiflingly conformist. The boomers responded with a countercultural movement that recast work as an obstacle to self-actualization. The rise of back-to-land, voluntary-simplicity, and communal-living experiments were all, in part, attempts to find meaning outside the structure of employment.

By the time the boomers began having kids of their own, in the nineteen-eighties, their countercultural dreams had long since crumbled. They had to figure out what new message about the meaning of work to pass on to their children, the so-called millennials (born between 1981 and 1996). In looking for a compromise between corporate conformity, which they still distrusted, and their own failed attempts to reject work altogether, the boomers came up with a clever solution: telling the millennial to seek work that they loved. This advice might sound timeless, but its arrival can be connected to this specific period. As I document in my 2012 book, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” it’s hard to find references to the phrase “follow your passion” in the context of career advice until the nineteen-nineties, at which point the adage explodes into common usage. This passion-centric perspective attempted to thread the needle between the extremes that the boomers had experienced: get a job, they told their kids, but make it one you love. Seek self-actualization, but also care about making your mortgage payments.

It’s hard to overstate the degree to which millennials—the generation to which I belong—were bombarded with this message during our childhood. This passion culture shaped our initial understanding of work and meaning, but, as with our parents, world events eventually disrupted its influence. The destabilizing impact of the 9/11 and the financial crises that followed cast doubt on the idea that our jobs should be our ultimate source of fulfillment. Employment had become too precarious to leverage in such a self-indulgent manner. When I finished graduate school, in the fall of 2009, American unemployment was near ten per cent. Millennials my age who had nurtured dreams of becoming journalists, or lawyers, or entrepreneurs retreated during this period into whatever fallback jobs they could find. Just a few years earlier, an author named Elina Furman had been making the TV rounds talking about her book “Boomerang Nation,” which documented the rising trend of young adults moving back in with their parents. Many in my generation responded by adopting a new and more pragmatic ethos of “hacking” work to serve a vision of the good life that expanded beyond the details of a particular job.

This was the decade of the blog-fuelled minimalism movement, which argued that if you simplify your life, you can simplify your career, leaving more time for other meaningful pursuits. It was also the decade in which a formerly burned-out entrepreneur turned life-style guru named Tim Ferriss dominated the best-seller lists with his surprise hit, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which advanced a vision of using automated online businesses to support “mini-retirements” that included exotic travel and adventurous hobbies. In the early twenty-tens, the millennial philosophy of work as a means to an end was further boosted by the arrival of newer, slicker social-media platforms that made it easier to show off curated scenes of aspirational living.

Gen Z entered the workforce with a mind-set that was notably distinct from the millennials who preceded them. As the first group to fully come of age with smartphones and social media, Gen Z formed an understanding of the world in which the boundaries between the digital and real were blurred. Every experience was a potential cyber-palimpsest of self-documentation, and reaction, and reaction to the reactions. Whereas millennials, who had gained access to these tools later in life, used social media to keep track of the adventures and accomplishments of acquaintances and celebrities, this new generation embraced a voyeuristic digital vérité, characterized by the short video of a subject talking straight to camera about both everything and nothing at all. This new style of lo-fi influencer shifted the center of gravity of youth culture and began, for a small core of highly visible examples, to generate substantial financial rewards. “Every waking moment has become pertinent to our making a living,” the artist and writer Jenny Odell explained in a 2017 speech that, appropriately enough, went viral and which eventually turned into a book. For this generation, the personal had become intertwined with the economic.

Then the pandemic arrived. Though this disruption negatively affected knowledge workers of all ages, for Gen Z it delivered an extra sting. The depredations of pandemic-induced remote work—the crush of constant Zoom meetings, the sudden uptick of e-mail and chat, the loss of the redeeming social aspects of gathering in offices—stripped the last vestiges of joy from these jobs. For older employees, these conditions created a professional crisis. For Gen Z, which had so thoroughly mixed work and self, this suffocating grimness hit at a more personal level. It became clear to many that they needed to separate their personhood from their jobs. It is this transition that generates much of the angst exhibited in quiet-quitting videos. “Your worth as a person is not defined by your labor,” a defiant Zaid Khan concludes in the original quiet-quitting TikTok. To a millennial, with our work-as-a-means-to-an-end ethos, this statement sounds obvious and histrionic—like something you’d pronounce in a sophomore-year seminar. But, to Gen Z, declaring a distinction between the economic and the personal is a more radical act.

This is why so many older people are confused by quiet quitting: it’s not meant for us. It’s instead the first step of a younger generation taking their turn in developing a more nuanced understanding of the role of work in their lives. Before we heap disdain on their travails, we should remember that we were all once in this same position. For me and my fellow-millennials, it wasn’t that long ago that our own parents shook their heads at our confident plans to run an automated business from a laptop in Tulum. Our initial struggle to break free from the impossible demands of passion culture may have seemed excessive at the time, but it has, over the years, evolved into a more practical relationship between work and our sense of self.

Quiet quitting is not a life philosophy or policy proposal that needs logical scrutiny. It’s also not a political weapon to be wielded to prove how much more woke or conservative you are than everyone else. It’s both more incoherent and essential than all of that. Figuring out how work fits into a life well lived is hard, but it’s an evolution that has to happen. Quiet quitting is the messy starting gun of a new generation embarking on this challenge. The specifics of what a young engineer says in his TikTok video might annoy or confuse many of us, but it shouldn’t. The content here isn’t that important. What matters is that Generation Z is waking up to the fact that the unnatural melding of self and work induced by an adolescence lived within online spaces isn’t sustainable. They’re finally—thankfully—ready to ask what should come next. ♦

Celebrities Over 90 Years Old, Then & Now

See photos of Tippi Hedren, William Daniels, Rita Moreno, Dick Van Dyke and other nonagenarian stars from the beginning of their careers and now

Tippi Hedren 

Tippi Hedren

The Alfred Hitchcock muse (and star of The Birds) has had an incredibly interesting life, and her Hollywood legacy is strong: She’s mother to Melanie Griffith and grandmother to Dakota Johnson. She celebrated her 90th birthday in January 2020.

02of 26

James Earl Jones 

James Earl Jones

The esteemed actor turned 90 on Jan. 17, 2021.

“I’ll make an exception and enjoy a slice of strawberry shortcake, my favorite!” he told USA Today via email of the low-key festivities for his 90th birthday at his home in upstate New York. Jones, who said that he plans to continue acting “for as long as I can,” added at the time that he was “feeling fantastic and grateful.”

“Looking back at my life and extensive career, I am so proud of my work and accomplishments. I love growing older and wiser with time,” he said.

While Jones intends to continue acting, in September 2022 he announced that he would step back from performing the voice of one of his most iconic characters, Darth Vader. Moving forward, the franchise will use cutting-edge A.I. to voice the character by utilizing archival recordings of Jones’ previous performances.

Joel Grey

Joel Grey photographed in April 1964

The Oscar and Tony Award-winning Cabaret star told PEOPLE on April 11, 2022, that he would be celebrating his 90th birthday “with good friends.”

But even after he entered his 10th decade, Grey has remained a busy actor, including making a cameo in Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s Tick, Tick… Boom! and appearing in three episodes of the 2022 FX thriller The Old Man, starring Jeff Bridges.

When asked if he ever imagined becoming such a prolific actor as a young boy growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, he told PEOPLE, “No! I didn’t. I’ve never thought about it, actually, and I never thought [about] this number that I’d be associated with: 9-0.”

William Daniels 

William Daniels

Daniels, who starred on the drama series St. Elsewhere and voiced the iconic KITT automobile in the action series Knight Rider, is perhaps best known as Boy Meets World‘s beloved Mr. Feeny.

Daniels still occasionally hangs with his former Boy Meets World castmates, joining them for a hilarious photo op at the Boston Comic-Con Fan Expo in August 2019.

Daniels, who turned 90 in March 2017, is also known for his longtime marriage to fellow actor Bonnie Bartlett. The pair celebrated their 70th anniversary on June 30, 2021.

Robert Wagner 

Robert Wagner

The actor had been working in film for nearly 20 years before hitting it big in the late ’60s and ’70s with roles on TV’s It Takes a Thief, Switch and Hart to Hart. 

In his later career, Wagner (who turned 90 in February 2020) played Number Two in the Austin Powers movies and had recurring roles on Two and a Half Men and NCIS

Rita Moreno 

Actress Rita Moreno premiere of "West Side Story."

One of the few stars to earn an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award)Moreno turned 90 on Dec. 11, 2021, with decades of iconic, groundbreaking work to her name.

She’s pictured here on the left attending the 1961 premiere of the original West Side Story, for which she won an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita, and on the right at the 2021 premiere of the Steven Spielberg version, in which she plays a new character, Valentina.

In addition to the West Side Story remake, Moreno has remained very active, including appearing in the 2023 films 80 for Brady and Fast X.

Barbara Eden 

Barbara Eden

“I feel young,” the I Dream of Jeannie star told Page Six shortly after her 90th birthday in August 2021.

In addition to maintaining an “active” social life, she credits regular workouts (she still has a trainer!) for her longevity.

Bob Newhart 

Bob Newhart

The esteemed actor turned 90 on Sept. 5, 2019 — and celebrated in Las Vegas! Days later he surfaced at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, playing a part in a bit about comedy legends that figured life-like statues of George Burns and Lucille Ball. When Ben Stiller, who did the segment, got to Newhart, the actor wryly reminded him, “I’m still alive.”

“You put me with George and Lucy and it’s weird,” Newhart said. “Like I was in some weird museum of comedy.”

“It’s more like legends of comedy,” Stiller insisted, riffing. “Alive, dead … all different types of comedy!”

But Newhart wasn’t buying it. “This legend is going to kick your ass, that way you’ll know I’m alive,” he said. “You thought I was dead!”

Though best known for starring in the sitcoms The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart, he has continued to occasionally appear on television in shows like The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

Iris Apfel 

Iris Apfel

The beloved, bespectacled designer turned 100 on Aug. 29, 2021. “Everything about turning 100 is fantastic, but I really do believe that I’m still the world’s oldest teenager,” she joked to InStyleahead of the big milestone.

And she’s still working. In 2022, Apfel released new collaborations with both H&M and Ciaté London.

William Shatner 

William Shatner

The Star Trek actor with the iconic voicecelebrated entering his 90s in March 2021 by joking on Twitter: “Well! I must say that the reaction to a 90th birthday is overwhelming. Don’t you people have better things to do?”

In October 2021, Shatner made history when he traveled on Jeff Bezos‘ Blue Origin space shuttle, becoming the oldest living person to go into space.

Harry Belafonte 

Harry Belafonte

The actor-musician-activist, who turned 90 in March 2017, came out of retirement after a 2015 seizure to shoot a stirring scene for Spike Lee’s Oscar-nominated 2018 film BlacKkKlansman. “He walked onto the set, and we were all shook,” Lee told Deadline. “He shot the scene three times, shook hands and posed for pictures with everyone, gave me a hug and he was out of there.”

In 2022, Belafonte was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the Early Influence category. He became the oldest living person to have received the honor.

Gene Hackman 

Gene Hackman

The actor, known for roles in The French Connection, Hoosiers and The Royal Tenenbaums, retired from acting in 2004.

“I miss the actual acting part of it, as it’s what I did for almost 60 years, and I really loved that. But the business for me is very stressful,” he told Reuters in 2008. “It had gotten to a point where I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do it anymore.”

Hackman channels his creative energy into writing (his fifth book, Pursuit, came out in 2013) — but his fans are as ardent as ever, coming out en masse online to celebrate his 90th in January 2020.

Dick Van Dyke 


A beloved actor and comedian, Van Dyke charmed audiences across the decades with his television series The Dick Van Dyke Show and films like Mary PoppinsChitty Chitty Bang Bangand Night at the Museum.

In his cameo in the 2018 film Mary Poppins Returns, Van Dyke showed that he hardly aged a day since he starred in the 1964 original. (This was also evident in the flash mob thrown for his 90th, in December 2015.)

Clint Eastwood 


The prolific actor/director joined the club on May 31, 2020, when he turned 90.

In a December 2019 chat with Ellen DeGeneres, he got candid about aging, saying, “I don’t think about it,” adding with a laugh, “I sometimes think, when I was a little kid and I used to hang out with my grandfather who was in his 90s, and I thought, ‘Jesus, who the h—- would want to live this long!'”

Eastwood continues to direct and occasionally star in films, including 2019’s Richard Jewell and 2021’s Cry Macho.

Eva Marie Saint 


The On the Waterfront and North by Northweststar is a true living legend. Saint is the oldest living winner of an Academy Award

In 2014 — the year she turned 90 — Saint lent her voice to Katara in the Avatar: The Last Airbender television spin-off The Legend of Korraand appeared in the film Winter’s Tale.

Bob Barker 

Bob Barker

Though he left The Price Is Right in 2007 after doing more than 6,000 episodes of the beloved game show, the TV star has stayed busy behind the scenes, especially when it comes to his animal activismHe turned 99 in December 2022.

Norman Lear 

Norman Lear,

As the mind behind All in the FamilyMaudeSanford and SonThe Jeffersons and many other television hits, Lear has an unmatched resume in the history of television production.

Though he celebrated his 100th birthday in July 2022, he is still busy writing and producing. Incredibly, Lear told PEOPLE at the time that he had 23 projects in the works!

Gena Rowlands 

Gena Rowlands

The actress, who turned 90 in 2020, hadbeen working since 1955 — but gained a whole new generation of fans with her memorable role as Allie in 2004’s The Notebook, which was directed by her son, Nick Cassavetes. Rowlandsretired from acting after the release of her 2014 film Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, and she received an Honorary Oscar in 2016.


19of 26

Mel Brooks 

Mel Brooks

The iconic funnyman, who has had blockbuster success on TV, films and Broadway, has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down since his 90th birthday in 2016 — in fact, he released a memoir, All About Me!, in 2021 and wrote and executive produced a sequel to his hit A History of the World, Part I for Hulu.

David Attenborough

David Frederick Attenborough

A comrade of Queen Elizabeth II, beloved television host and natural historian, Attenborough won a Primetime Emmy Award for narrating the 2017 documentary series Blue Planet II. And he remains incredibly popular — in 2020, Attenborough (who turned 90 in 2016) became the fastest Instagram user to gain 1 million followers, achieving the feat in just four hours and 44 minutes.

Tony Bennett 

Tony Bennett

Despite an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, which his family revealed at the beginning of 2021 (and which has caused him to retire), Bennett still finds joy in singing. In the “One Last Time” Radio City Music Hall performances with Lady Gaga, the legendary crooner (who turned 90 in 2016) effortlessly recalls all the words to his greatest hits.

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy

The founder of Motown Records, responsible for launching the careers of The Supremes, the Jackson Five and Stevie Wonder, among many others, turned 90 in November 2019, but still keeps busy: In the early 2010s, Gordy oversaw a musical about his life and successes that premiered on Broadway in 2013.

In 2023, Gordy was honored alongside longtime collaborator Smokey Robinson as the 2023 MusiCares Persons of the Year Honorees.

June Squibb 

June Squibb

The actress received an Oscar nomination at age 84 for her role in Nebraska and hasn’t slowed down since — you’ve seen her in Palm Springs, Godmothered, Life & Beth and Little America, all of which came out after her 90th birthday in 2019.

Johnny Gilbert 

Johnny Gilbert

Gilbert, whose career in entertainment has spanned nearly 70 years (and even included two albums), has been the voice you’ve heard introducing Alex Trebek on every episode of Jeopardy from the host’s first turn in 1984 to his last, filmed in 2020 before he passed away from pancreatic cancer — and beyond. The announcer turned 90 in 2018.

Dr. Ruth Westheimer 

Dr. Ruth

A German Jewish refugee whose parents died in Auschwitz during the Holocaust, Dr. Ruthimmigrated to the United States in 1956 and began to pursue her post-doctoral studies in human sexuality. In 1980, she launched her radio career, eventually hosting the call-in show Sexually Speaking and becoming a phenomenon that changed the way Americans spoke about sex. In 2019, a documentary about her life debuted and as of her 94th birthday in 2022, she was still dishing out spicy life advice.

Buzz Aldrin 

Buzz Aldrin

The astronaut became the second human to set foot on the moon in July 1969, when his Apollo 11 mission landed on the lunar surface. Aldrinhas since earned a Presidential Medal of Freedom, written books and continues to promote space exploration. He turned 90 in 2020.

Pamela Anderson Says Her Relationship with Tommy Lee “May Have Been the Only Time I Was Ever Truly in Love”


The Baywatch star revealed, “We just wanted to have babies and be together forever.”

While their relationship was unquestionably tempestuous, Pamela Anderson is the first to admit that her ex-husband Tommy Lee may have been the great love of her life.

At the end of the month, the Baywatch star will release both a new memoir, titled Love, Pamela, as well as a Netflix documentary, Pamela, a love story, in which she speaks frankly about the many phases of her life and the men who were part of them. In an excerpt of the book, obtained exclusively by People, Anderson writes, “My relationship with Tommy may have been the only time I was ever truly in love.” The pair wed in 1995 on a beach in Cancun wearing a bikini and board shorts, respectively. While the good times could get a little too wild at momemnts, she added, “We had fun and our rule was no rules.” The animal rights activist confessed, “We just wanted to have babies and be together forever.” The couple would go on to welcome two sons together, 26-year-old Brandon and 25-year-old Dylan.

However, when their personal home videos were stolen from a safe in their garage and repackaged into a “sex tape” that was sold and distributed, their relationship was put under a new pressure and level of public scrutiny. “It ruined lives, starting with our relationship—and it’s unforgivable that people, still to this day, think they can profit from such a terrible experience, let alone a crime,” she writes, noting that she has never watched the stolen tape. From then on, the stress became too great for their marriage to withstand and she revealed that one night in 1998 Lee twisted her arm as she was holding her then seven month old son Dylan. “Tommy ripped Brandon off me and threw me and Dylan into a wall,” she said, prompting her to call 911 in a panic. Tommy was arrested and served six months in jai and so, she said, “Our hell began.”


Anderson filed for separation shortly after and she explains, “The divorce from Tommy was the hardest, lowest, most difficult point of my life. I was crushed. I still couldn’t believe that the person I loved the most was capable of what had happened that night. We were both devastated, but I had to protect my babies.” But now, over two decades later, the Playboy star says, “Tommy is the father of my kids and I’m forever grateful,” adding that even though their two kids are now adults, they still “check in, every once in a while.”

The actor went on to get married four more times, once to Kid Rock, twice to Rick Salomon (although one of their marriages was annulled), and most recently to Dan Hayhurst, although their marriage ended in 2021 after less than a year together. Theses days, she’s totally single and living with her five dogs in her grandparents’s former farmhouse on Vancouver Island, but she writes, “I live a more romantic life now that I’m alone than I did in relationships. l light my candles, have my music playing. I have my piano, I’m sure it would be lovely if someone else was in my life and wanted the same thing, but I’ve just never met them. It’s usually about catering to them, and there has to be a balance.” Anderson concluded, “I don’t need someone to bring me roses. I’ve just planted a hundred rose bushes. I can get them any time I want—and they’re my favorite roses.”


Fountainhead Arts took us on a guided tour yesterday of Didier William’s work at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in North Miami. This is largest solo exhibition of his career. Didier is a mixed-media painter originally from Port-au-Prince, Haiti but he grew up in Miami. His work incorporates traditions in oil painting, acrylic, collage and printmaking to comment on intersections of identity and culture.


The Faena Jazz Series, Frost Science Museum Gift Shop, Culture Crawl, Rum Convention

By Lois Whitman Hess, Miami Life Editor

If you are a jazz lover, then you are going to be thrilled with what Miami has to offer. The Faena Jazz Series is back. If you’re looking for unusual gift items, checkout the Frost Science Museum gift store, which is not just science. Every third Thursday of the month, Miami Beach comes alive with culture. Did you know that Miami-Dade is the largest rum consumer market in the USA? No wonder we’ve been chosen as the site of the Rum Convention

Faena Jazz Series Is Back

The Faena Jazz Series is just as good, if not better than the Jazz at NYC’s Lincoln Center (Dizzy Club). That’s a big statement but I have full confidence in Alan Faena, the founder and owner of the Faena Hotel. Everything is first class under his watchful eye. Designed by Alan Faena, the 150-seat venue is in one of Miami Beach’s most beautiful hotels. 


Frost Science Museum Gift Store — The Most Unusual Items Ever

Every time we have to purchase a gift for someone, I am always scratching my head as to what to buy. Then one day I walked into the gift shop at the Miami Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science and felt like I finally found a plethora of items that were perfect for presents, both young and old. 


Miami Beach Culture Crawl

Every third Thursday of the month, Miami Beach comes alive with culture as various institutions and buildings open their doors to give you just a taste of what they have to offer. Most of the programming is accessible by foot, and by bike, but dedicated free trolleys drop you off, and pick you up, at dedicated Culture Crawl stops.


Feb. 10-12. A Rum Convention

I love rum. I used to drink rum and coke all the time as a teenager in growing up in New York City. I never thought that I would be living in an area, Miami-Dade, that would be the largest rum consumer market in the USA. It represents over 2.4M cases of rums sold per year. I guess that’s why Miami is one of the cities around the country that was picked by TheRumLab.com to celebrate the 4th Miami Rum Congress.  


Schools Shouldn’t Ban Access to ChatGPT

I would like to hear your opinion. Thank you Joanne and Rebecca for this piece.


When the artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT was released in late November, I was one of many educators who jumped on it, introducing it in the seminar I teach at Yale on the media and democracy. With its ability to communicate in plain-English prose, it was undeniably fun for the students to play with, composing everything from silly poems to job application letters.

But it was also deeply troubling. When I prompted it to spread misinformation, it generated a news article falsely asserting the “U.S. Electoral Commission” had found “rampant voter fraud” in the 2020 election. It was also alarmingly quick to complete the term paper assignment that my students had been working on for weeks. It instantly spit out six excellent topic ideas (written as country-western lyrics, as requested)—and then generated a paper on gender in the newsroom that, while not up to college standards, was credible enough to show how ChatGPT could soon morph into the ultimate cheating machine.

So it’s understandable why New York City’s Department of Education announced last week that it will ban access to ChatGPT on school devices. That decision, by the nation’s largest school district, was quickly followed by similar moves in Los Angeles and Baltimore, with others likely to join them.

Yet blocking access to ChatGPT is a mistake. There is a better way forward.

Students need now, more than ever, to understand how to navigate a world in which artificial intelligence is increasingly woven into everyday life. It’s a world that they, ultimately, will shape.

We hail from two professional fields that have an outsize interest in this debate.

Joanne is a veteran journalist and editor deeply concerned about the potential for plagiarism and misinformation. Rebecca is a public health expert focused on artificial intelligence, who champions equitable adoption of new technologies.

We are also mother and daughter. Our dinner-table conversations have become a microcosm of the argument around ChatGPT, weighing its very real dangers against its equally real promise. Yet we both firmly believe that a blanket ban is a missed opportunity.

The New York City department’s justification for blocking ChatGPT illustrates why a ban is shortsighted. “While the tool may be able to provide quick and easy answers to questions, it does not build critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential for academic and lifelong success,” a department spokesperson explained (emphasis added).

Yet attempting to teach “critical thinking and problem-solving” skills – while ignoring the real world in which students will deploy those skills—is a fool’s errand. These students are growing up in an era when technology increasingly is driving human behavior and decision making. Their generation needs to understand how best to utilize it, what are its perils and shortcomings, how to interrogate it and how to use it in an ethical way.

What’s more, on a practical basis, a ban simply won’t work. Students will still have access to ChatGPT outside of school. Microsoft is reportedly in talks to invest in OpenAI, the company that created it, which would expand access further. And previous prohibitions have failed. Early researchers warned against using Google in schools because it would “harm students’ information literacy skills.” Wikipedia was banned early on in both colleges and school districts. Not surprisingly, students have always found creative ways to circumvent such bans.

Nor have fears that those technologies would trigger an educational Armageddon been realized. Today Google is an essential research tool. Wikipedia is ubiquitous, though it isn’t considered a reliable source for research purposes. ChatGPT is a far more powerful and disruptive tool, which only underscores how important it is for students to learn how to safely engage with it.

For example, educators can deploy the platform to teach those crucial critical thinking and problem-solving skills. They might ask students to analyze a ChatGPT-generated report on a historical event, to track down its sources, and to assess its validity—or lack thereof. They could teach rhetoric by having students challenge ChatGPT’s reasoning in its answers. Computer science students could analyze ChatGPT-generated code for flaws. The technology itself provides a framework to discuss the ethical considerations about benefits and harms of artificial intelligence.

This isn’t to minimize the risks surrounding ChatGPT. Some educators are setting up guardrails to prevent cheating, requiring essays to be written by hand or during class. Students themselves are getting involved, like the college senior who created an app to detect whether text is written by ChatGPT. OpenAI has said it is looking at ways to “mitigate” the dangers, including by potentially watermarking answers.

These are important steps. But they don’t let us off the hook when it comes to teaching all students how to understand and responsibly use not just ChatGPT, but also other new technologies to come.

This isn’t simply an academic exercise. In her work at the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, Rebecca sees firsthand how AI is being implemented in healthcare around the world, even as challenges with bias and inequity remain. From arts to the environment, emerging technology is only becoming more intertwined with every aspect of our lives. Today’s students will soon be tomorrow’s leaders, tasked with ensuring that technology is designed and implemented in responsible and ethical ways.

Their education needs to start now. We’re reminded of when Google was founded in 1998, when Rebecca was in grade school in the New York City public school system. At first, she wasn’t allowed to use a computer for research. When it was finally allowed, she mistakenly used it to find articles to share with her class—not, as expected, to write a report. She was mortified.

But rather than discipline her, Rebecca’s teacher explained how the computer was intended to be a resource for learning, not a substitute. Her lesson was clear: technology should be a tool to expand students’ own thinking—not a crutch to limit it.

That lesson is even more important today. To ensure future generations are responsible stewards of technology, we need to create opportunities for them to participate in its design and use—beginning in the classroom.

The Business Of Marriage

There are several duplicate posts. Sorry. They are stuck.

The Powerful Women Behind The Rich & Famous

Is there a richter scale for happiness? I wonder how much money has to do with it? —-LWH

Astrid Menks

Latvia born Astrid Menks, the second wife to the well-known investor and philanthropist Warren Buffet has quite a story with the wealthy businessman. The two met while Menks worked as a waitress at a nearby cafe. Buffet frequented the cafe with his former wife Susie, who would often perform there as a singer.

Menks and Buffet then began a 40-year relationship to the full knowledge of Buffett’s wife Susie, who would even be seen out with Menks herself on various occasions.  Menks and Buffet tied the knot in 2006, two years after Susie’s passing.

Malia Andelin

As Viacom jets flight attendant, it’s believed Malia Andelin caught the eye of Sumner Redstone while on the job. Other than private jets (that’s plural, mind you), Redstone is a prolific businessman who happens to own the National Amusements group. It is the parent company to most major television networks, including Viacom, MTV Networks, BET, CBS Corporation, and Paramount Pictures.

Andelin was in her twenties when the two met, while her husband, Sumner, was 89. Their relationship came to an unfortunate end in August 2020 when Redstone passed away at 97 years old. She now manages his philanthropic fortune.

Erica Baxter PackerErica Baxter Packer is the second wife of one of the wealthiest men in Australia — businessman and investor James Packer. This fellow Aussie is a model and singer, releasing her first single (“Dreams”) in 2001.

Getty Images Photo by Gaye Gerard

2001 was also the year when year she started dating the billionaire. The two married in 2007 and have three children together. Unfortunately, Erica and James went their separate ways after being married for just six years. She has since started dating Cuban artist Enrique Martinez Celaya, and the two are now happily engaged.

Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs was once married to the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs. They met in 1989 when he came to speak at Stanford Business School and didn’t leave each other’s side until his unfortunate death in 2011. He was unarguably one of the greatest technological minds from the last century, but certainly not the only successful person in the marriage.

Getty Images Photo by Alexandra Wyman

Laurene founded Emerson Collective, a company that clamors for immigration, education, and environmental reforms. She is also involved with foundations that assist students without access to the funds or financial aid to attend college.

Dasha Alexandrovna Zhukova

Russian socialite and fashion mogul Dasha Alexandrovna Zhukova was once married to the Russian billionaire tycoon, Roman Abramovich — founder of the IRIS Foundation, a group that significantly promotes contemporary culture. The two were married for nine years, during which they had two children.

Getty Images Photo by Alexander Fyodorov/Epsilon

Dasha and Abramovich called it quits in 2018, but don’t you be sad for them. Zhukova has a career of her own in arts and philanthropy, and she has since married another billionaire — Stavros Niarchos II.

Jerry Hall

Billionaire tycoon, Rupert Murdoch, made his wealth working in media after founding News Corp leaving him with a net worth of $18 billion. His wealth placed him on the top of the charts of the richest people in the world by the time he was 77.

Getty Images Photo by Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

Now well into his 80s, Murdoch got married to Mick Jagger’s ex, Jerry Hall, at the beginning of 2016. Hall is a well-established model and actress, although she hasn’t been performing much lately.  The two are still married today!

Claire Elise Boucher

Claire Elise Boucher is also known professionally as Grimes. She is a Canadian singer and musician, but if you’re less into avant-garde music and more into tech, you might know her as the better half of technology entrepreneur Elon Musk.


The two have been in a relationship since 2018. On January 8, 2020, Boucher announced that she was pregnant with her and Musk’s first child together. Claire Boucher gave birth to their son in May 2020 and gave him the controversial name X Æ A-Xii.

Kristy Hinze

Kristy Hinze is married to Silicon Graphics and Netscape founder Jim Clark, but there is more to her than this marriage. She is an actress, model, and television host. She has appeared on the front pages of Victoria’s Secret and Sports Illustrated magazines.

Getty Images Photo by Mike Flokis

Their relationship has sparked controversy due to the 36 year age difference between them, but they have been married since 2009, shutting everyone down. They are now happy parents of two daughters — Dylan Vivienne and Harper.

Priscilla Chan

Priscilla Chan is the kind of woman anyone would love to introduce to their parents. The only one who got to put a ring on her, however, is Facebook’s co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Chan is not only a pediatrician but also a philanthropist.

Getty Images Photo by Kimberly White

Alongside her billionaire husband, she founded a political action and philanthropic organization called the Chan-Zuckerberg initiative, which focuses on health and education. The two have two daughters — Maxima and August.

Kirsty Roper Bertarelli

Kristy Roper Bertarelli is the former Miss United Kingdom, winning back in 1998, but she has lots of other talents. She’s also a successful singer, model, and songwriter. Bertarelli co-wrote “Black coffee,” a popular song released in 1988 by the group All Saints.

Getty Images Photo by Chris Jackson

Her husband, Ernesto Bertarelli, is a businessman born in Switzerland who inherited a large biotech firm, Serono. They currently reside in Switzerland with their three kids.

Lucy Southworth

Google’s co-founder, Larry Page, is one of the wealthiest individuals in the world today. In 2007, he tied the knot with Lucy Southworth, who has quite the brains herself. They have two children together.

Getty Images Photo by Steve Jennings

Rather than a career as a model, actress, or TV host, her life trajectory is more academic. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and Oxford University. Lucy also holds a Ph.D. in biomedical informatics.

Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek got her start as a Mexican model and actress. She burst onto the scene in Hollywood with roles in “Desperado,” “Wild West,” and “Dogma and Wild.” Hayek also earned an Emmy Award nomination for her performance in “Ugly Betty.”


In 2009, after a two-year engagement period and having a child together, she tied the knot with the billionaire businessman, François-Henri Pinault in Paris. He works with luxury retail empires that have created brands like Puma, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Flavia Sampaio

Flavia Sampaio is the founder of Institute Consciousness, an NGO that was started to assist children. Additionally, she is a tax and environmental lawyer who is a member of the Sampaio, Morrison, and the Boquimpani Advogados Associados. What a powerhouse!

Getty Images Photo by Luciana Whitaker/LatinContent 

Her partner, Eike Batista, is quite a powerhouse as well. He is the wealthiest man in Brazil, and as the chairman of the EBX Group, he made and then later lost his money in the mining, oil, and gas industries. The two never officially married, but they do have a son together.

Miranda Kerr

Australian model Miranda Kerr made history as the first Victoria’s Secret Angel from down under. She owns KORA organics, a brand of skincare products.


Snagging the best men in the world, Kerr was married to Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom for three years. Now, however, she is married to Evar Spiegel, Snapchat’s CEO and co-founder. The two tied the knot in 2017 and have two sons.

Nita Ambani

Wife to the richest man in India, Nita Ambani is the co-owner of a cricket team in India, the Mumbai Indians. Additionally, she is the chairperson of Dhirubhai Ambani International School, one of the best schools in India.

Alamy Stock Photo

Her husband, Mukesh Ambani is a multi-billionaire who made his wealth in the petroleum industry. The two met when she was a mere schoolteacher and have been married since 1985. They have three children who will be lucky enough to inherit the family fortune.

Anne Wojcicki

A doctorate holder, Anne Wojcicki was previously married to Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin. Sadly, however, things did not work out, and they divorced in 2015 after eight years of marriage and having two children.

Getty Images Photo by Steve Jennings

Regardless of her former connection to the Google empire, it seems that Wojcicki is quite successful in her own right. She is a biologist by profession, and a biotech analyst, earning her degrees from Sanford University and Yale University. Anne is the CEO and co-founder of the firm 23andMe.

Kate Greer

Kate Greer is a designer by profession and a co-Founder of Cheerie Lane, a homegrown popcorn company. For the past 4 years, Kate has been dating Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of the social media company Twitter.

Getty Images Photo by Kevork Djansezian

Jack is also the founder of the tech company Square. They have been walking the red carpet of every tech event possible since 2013.

Irina Viner

Irina Viner is famous for being one of the best gymnastics coaches in the world. In 2015, Irina was awarded the Olympic Order for the part she played in global sports. In Russia, she leads the training department of the country’s rhythmic gymnastics team.

Alamy Stock Photo

Viner is married to Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia. The two met as young athletes in Tashkent when she did gymnastics, and he practiced fencing. They grew apart and found their way back to each other years later in Moscow. How romantic!

Queen Noor of Jordan

Queen Noor of Jordan, born Lisa Najeeb Halaby, married the late King of Jordan, King Hussein. They were married for 21 years before he died in 1999. However, she was quite the noblewoman before the two even met. Born in the United States to a Navy pilot and an airline executive, her family is well-established financially.

Alamy Stock Photo

Years after her husband’s passing, she is still going strong. Not only is she an ambassador to the UN and the Queen of Jordan, but she is also an author. She has published two books explaining the history of her family’s wealth.

Stephanie Seymour

Stephanie Seymour is a former actress and supermodel who appeared on the covers of Sports Illustrated and Vogue magazines. She’s had a tumultuous life peppered with names of rich and famous men such as John Casablancas (head of Elite Models) and musician Axl Rose. She has even performed in two of Guns N’ Roses music videos — “November Rain” and “Don’t Cry.”

Getty Images Photo by Pier Marco Tacca

The man who ultimately won her hand is the billionaire, art collector, and real estate magnate, Peter Brant. In 2009, after being married for almost 14 years, Seymour filed for divorce from Brant, but love eventually won — the two patched things up the following year, and now they are better than ever.

Melania Trump

Married to, Donald Trump, Melania Trump is a prosperous businesswoman as well as a former model. She owns a skincare line as well as a jewelry and watch collection that was often featured on QVC.

Getty Images Photo by CHANCE YEH/Patrick McMullan

However, when her husband became president, her own business career took a step back. According to a White House Spokesperson, her companies are now inactive because she doesn’t want to use her position for profit.

Eloise Broady

Eloise is an actress and model from the United States, Eloise Broady is married to John Paul DeJoria. DeJoria is the co-founder of the Patrón Spirits Company as well as the Paul Mitchell line of hair products.

Alamy Stock Photo

This former Playboy’s Playmate has been married to the billionaire and philanthropist since 1993. Now the two invest in numerous charitable causes like Help Clifford Help Kids, The Austin Recovery Center, Helping Hands, The Austin Children’s Shelter, and more.

Andrea Hissom

Andrea Hissom is married to Steve Wynn — an art collector, casino mogul, and the CEO of Wynn Resorts with a net worth of over $3.1 billion. Not too shabby! Wynn divorced his first wife to get married to Hissom at a star-studded event where Clint Eastwood was his best man.

Getty Images Photo by Ethan Miller

Other celebs in attendance included Donald Trump and Celine Dion, who stayed at the luxurious Wynn Casino. That must have been quite the party!

Nikita Kahn

Nikita Kahn is an actress from Ukraine. You might know her thanks to her role in the movie “Catch 44,” where she acted alongside Nikki Reed and Bruce Willis. She is currently dating Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation and one of the world’s wealthiest men.

Getty Images Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez

Ellison has been married four times. The longest one lasted 7 years, and the shortest lasted no more than a year. With four failed marriages under his belt, it’s unlikely the two will ever walk down the aisle.

Jade Foret

Belgian model, Jade Foret, is married to French billionaire Arnaud Lagardère who made his money as the General and Managing Partner of Lagardère SCA of the Lagardère Group. Prior to being married, Foret had a relationship with soccer player Émile Mpenza, which ended abruptly in 2009.

Getty Images Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP

She moved to New York to continue her work as a model when she met Lagardère. After three years of dating, the two finally got hitched. They got married in Paris in May of 2013, and she has been towering over him ever since.

Fabiana Flosi

Despite their 46-years age gap, Fabiana Flosi has a successful marriage to Bernie Ecclestone, multi-billionaire and CEO of the Formula One Group. Flosi was born and raised in Brazil and known for her high taste in fashion.

Getty Images Photo by Mark Thompson

The two had their first son, Alexander Charles Ecclestone, in 2020. It is Flosi’s first and Ecclestone’s fourth. In fact, his previous children have already produced their own lineage, making him a great-grandfather of five.

Claudia Barilla

Supermodel and mother of two, Claudia Barilla is arguably the most humble wife on the list. She is married to Canadian poker player and billionaire businessman Guy Laliberte, but his most famous endeavor is probably co-founding Cirque du Soleil.

Getty Images Photo by Ethan Miller

Barilla is famously known for living quite modestly for a woman of her stature. She has been seen wearing brands like Converse despite all the wealth ascribed to her name. She directs a foundation that helps youths at risk called the One Drop Foundation.

Nicole Schuetz

Businesswoman Nicole Schuetz is the CEO and founder of Sutro Energy Group, an organization that helps advance investment in clean energy technologies and projects.

Getty Images Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

She is married to Instagram co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Kevin Systrom. The two met at Stanford University and hit it off quite nicely. After a two-year engagement period, the pair got married in 2016.

Princess Ameerah

Princess Ameerah is a Silatech board of trustees member. She is now a philanthropist and Vice-chairperson of the Al-Waleed bin Talal Foundation. She is mostly known as the former wife of the Saudi Prince, Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Getty Images Photo by Chris Jackson

Unfortunately, the marriage lasted just five years and the two divorced in 2013. However, this kind of woman does not stay on the market for long. In 2018, she married Khalifa bin Butti al Muhairi, an Emirati billionaire who took her as his second wife.

Susan Dell

Susan Dell is married to the founder and CEO of Dell computers, Michael Dell. Dell Corporation is one of the largest manufacturers of computers on Earth. These lovebirds got married in 1989 and produced four children, all of whom live in Austin, Texas.

Getty Images Photo by Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis

This group supports underprivileged children around the world by granting access to healthcare and standard education. Together they own the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, of which she is the vice-president.

Alison Gelb

Alison Gleb Pincus is the wife of the co-founder of Zynga Inc. and Farmville developer Mark Pincus. Apparently, she is a businesswoman in her own rights. She is the co-founder of One Kings Lane, a home décor website and firm that offers luxurious furnishings to its 10 million+ clients.

Getty Images Photo by C Flanigan

The two have been married for seven years and have three kids together. However, it is possible that the two won’t last since she filed for divorce in 2017, citing “irreconcilable differences.”

Oleksandra Nikolayenko

Former Miss. Ukraine Universe Oleksandra Nikolayenko Ruffin is a Ukrainian model married to billionaire investor Phil Ruffin. Ruffin is known to be media-shy but has amassed wealth largely from the oil and gas industries, casinos, real estate, and greyhound racing tracks.

Getty Images Photo by Ethan Miller

Despite the enormous age-gap between them (they were introduced to each other by Donald Trump when she was 27 years old and he was 72), the two are still married and have two children together.

Mackenzie Bezos

Mackenzie Bezos is a best-selling author and writer of “The Testing of Luther Albright,” which earned her a National Book Award. She was married to the founder of Amazon and Blue Origin from 1993 to 2019, Jeff Bezos, also known as the richest man in the world.

Getty Images Photo by Larry Busacca

Her divorce settlement made her the third wealthiest woman in the world and also placed her amongst the wealthiest individuals in April 2019. It was revealed by Forbes in June 2020 that her divorce settlement of $38 billion!

Lauren Sanchez

News anchor Lauren Sanchez is Jeff Bezos’ new girlfriend, and rumor has it their relationship is far from pleasant — filled with texting and affair scandals. Some sources claim these issues have only brought them closer to each other, but only time will tell.

Getty Images Photo by Kevin Mazur

Bezos’ split from ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos was the most expensive divorce in world history, and it cost Jeff a significant fraction of his net worth, but he still remains the richest man in the world.

Tamiko Bolton

George Soros was declared a legend in the hedge fund world when he placed a bet against the British pound and was nicknamed “The Man Who Broke The Bank Of England.” It is alleged that Soros met Tamika Bolton at a dinner party around 2008, but they only got married in 2013.

Alamy Stock Photo

With Bolton’s MBA and her dietary supplement company, she could get any man she wants, but she chose a man nearly 40 years her senior. This age gap and a legal issue among Soros and a former partner of his have sent lots of criticism their way. However, the love between the two seems to be growing stronger than ever.

Julie Chen

Julie Chen and Leslie Moonves had a romantic relationship back in 2003 while he was still married to someone else. As CEO and chairman of CBS, Moonves met young Chen there while she was working as a reporter on “The Daily Show.”


He married Chen 13 days after he was granted an early divorce settlement. Lately, allegations levied against him may have reduced his net worth, but his marriage to Chen is still intact, and they even have a son together.

Diane von Furstenberg

Diane is listed as one of the top 100 most powerful women in the world by both Forbes and Time Magazine, and for a good reason. Not only is she a longtime fashion icon and the creator of the wrap dress, but Diane von Furstenberg was once a princess of Germany.

Getty Images Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Her husband, Barry Diller, is the founder of the popular Fox Broadcasting Company. He is also the chairman and a senior executive of both IAC Inc and Expedia Inc. Von Furstenberg’s husband is worth over $4.3 billion, but she is also a billionaire in her own right, with a net worth of $1.2 dollars.

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Married to Prince Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, Princess Charlene Wittstock is a former Olympic swimmer. She met her husband years back in 2001, but their relationship was kept away from the media until 2006. The couple tied the knot in 2011, although it was rumored that the soon to be Princess of Monaco had cold feet before the wedding.

Alamy Stock Photo

However, these claims were heavily denied by the royal family. The Prince of Monaco is estimated to be worth over a billion dollars, making him one of the richest royals in the world.

Kirsty Bertarelli

When we think of the richest women in Britain, we probably think of J.K. Rowling. However, the richest woman in the UK is actually Kirsty Bertarelli, Miss UK 1988 winner, as well as Miss World runner-up.

Alamy Stock Photo

While she has made plenty of money on her own, most of her wealth is actually from her husband, Ernesto Bertarelli, who is worth around $7.9 billion. The couple got married twenty years ago in 2000 and live in Switzerland with their three children.

Melinda Gates

The Gates family is without a doubt one of the most famous families on Earth. Melinda Gates is married to Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world. Shortly after graduating from college, she started working at Microsoft, a company owned by her soon to be husband. She started dating her boss just a few months later.

Getty Images Photo by Frederic Stevens

Years later, in 1994, the pair got married in Hawaii and they have been together ever since, having three children over the years. The couple is also known to be heavily engaged in philanthropic work through their Bill and Melinda Foundation which has donated billions of dollars to researches and charitable projects all around the world.

Ricky Anne Loew-Beer

Ricky Anne Loew-Beer, also known as Ricky Lauren, met her husband, Ralph Lauren when she worked as a receptionist in a doctor’s office. It took them just six months to solidify their relationship, getting married in 1964. Together, they have spent more than five decades building a family, having three well-brought-up children.

Getty Images Photo by James Devaney/GC Images

Two of their children have become entrepreneurs in their respective fields. Although fashion mogul Ralph, stepped down as the CEO of Ralph Lauren Corporation in 2015, he is still rated to be worth nearly $6 billion.

Kate Capshaw

Kate Capshaw, also known as Kathleen Sue Spielberg, married Hollywood director Steven Spielberg in 1991. They met during the filming of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” back in 1984, a film in which Capshaw played Willie Scott, an American nightclub singer.

Alamy Stock Photo

The pair instantly connected. They dated for six years, and in 1990, Spielberg and Capshaw got married. Capshaw’s work in the movie industry and her marriage has made her one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

Yekaterina Domankova

Belarussian supermodel Yekaterina Domankova is famous for her modeling work for Victoria’s Secret. She is married to Anton Zingarevich — a Russian businessman who married her year after they first met.

Getty Images Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images

Anton is currently the owner of the Reading Football Club, which plays soccer in the English Championship. Yekaterina and Anton have one child together.

Penny Knight

Penny Knight met her husband Phil Knight years ago when he was still a lecturer at Portland State University. In 1968, Penny married the love of her life, Phil. Now popularly known as “Shoe Dog,” Phil is the billionaire founder of the famous sports brand, Nike.

Getty Images Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage

With an estimated net worth of over $30 billion, he is one of the most successful businessmen in the world. The couple has had three children, but sadly, one of their sons passed away in 2004 in a scuba diving accident.

Hope Dworaczyk

Hope Dworaczyk rose to fame by appearing in Playboy and earning the title of “Playmate of the Month” in April 2009. She later became Playmate of the Year in 2010 and has also tried her hand in acting and reality TV.

Getty Images Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage

Dworaczyk married Robert F. Smith in 2015, a successful investor and businessman. He is currently said to be worth over $7 billion. He and Dworaczyk have two children who need to share his wealth with his kids from previous relationships.

Julia Koch

Julia Flesher married David Koch who was fortunate enough to inherit his wealth from his parents. With his brother, Koch has since grown his share of the wealth to more than $50 billion, making them both the richest people in their family.

Alamy Stock Photo

The couple got married in 1996 and had three vibrant children together. Sadly, David Koch passed away from prostate cancer in 2019 at the age of 79.

Flora Pérez

After his divorce from his ex-wife in 1986, Amancio Ortega got married to his current wife Flora Pérez. Ortega co-founded Inditex with his ex-wife. This retail brand is the parent company to fashion giant  Zara. Since his second marriage in 2001, the couple has been known to be living a very private life.

Alamy Stock Photo

This has led to there being very few pictures of the two, either together or individually. Ortega, who has a net worth of over $70 billion, is one of the wealthiest men in the world. That being said, they live modestly, and he usually sticks to generic (non-Zara) dark blazers and no ties.

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe

Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe is married to Patrice Motsepe, a famous shareholder in the South African mining industry. The pair met when he was practicing law and she was practicing medicine. They got married in 1989 and have been together ever since. They have three children together.

Getty Images Photo by Kevin Mazur

Moloi-Motsepe is the head of many charitable organizations and her firm is known to have organized the Mercedez-Benz Fashion Week in South African cities like Soweto and Cape Town. With a combined net worth of over $2.1 billion, their family is one of the most famous and wealthiest in South Africa.

Helene Mercier-Arnault

Helene Mercier-Arnault is a French-Canadian classical pianist that has been nominated for and won several musical awards. Her husband is French billionaire, Bernard Arnault, the owner of LVMH company which is home to luxury brands such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, and many more.

Getty Images Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

With an estimated net worth of over $110 billion, Arnault is one of the richest men in the world. The two married in 1991 after Arnault broke off his previous marriage, from which he had two children. In addition to building a considerable amount of their net worth together, the couple also has a fruitful marriage with three children.

Aleksandra Melnichenko

Andrey Melnichenko is a Russian billionaire, business owner, philanthropist, and social investor. His $14.7 billion personal net worth makes him one of the richest men in Russia. His wife, Aleksandra Melnichenko, is a former singer and model from Serbia.

Getty Images Photo by Dave M. Benett

The pair met in the South of France back in 2003 and got married two years later. It’s alleged that Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston performed at their wedding, which was on the Cote D’Azur. Aleksandra and Andrey Melnichenko have two children together.

Padma Lakshmi

Many people know Padmathanks to her appearance on the show “Top Chef” as a host, but she has many other talents: she’s also the author of many bestselling cookery books, an actress, and a model. She has an established net-worth of $40 million, but marrying a billionaire probably couldn’t hurt.

Getty Images Photo by PATRICK MCMULLAN

She married billionaire Theodore J. Forstmann in 2009, and they had two years together before he passed away from brain cancer in 2011.

Elle Macpherson

Elle Macpherson is a popular TV host, actress, and model from Australia. She was once married to billionaire Jeffrey Soffer, heir to Donald Soffer who is credited for turning Florida swamplands into the beautiful and exciting location now known as Aventura.

Getty Images Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

Macpherson started dating Soffer in 2009, but the two soon fell apart and broke up in March of 2012. However, they got back together in November of 2012 and then tied the knot in the middle of 2013. Unfortunately, marrying each other didn’t fix their issues, and they have since gotten divorced.

Paola Rossi

There is very little known about Paola Rossi apart from her marriage to Giovanni Ferrero, an Italian businessman. After the unfortunate passing of his elder brother Pietro Ferrero in 2011, he took over the family confectionery company — Ferrero.

Getty Images Photo by Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto

The company specializes in chocolate and confectionery products and is the second biggest chocolate manufacturer and confectionery company in the world. They produce popular chocolate brands like Nutella, Raffaello, Kinder Surprise, and many others. Rossi and her husband have two sons together.

Connie Snyder

Connie Snyder is married to billionaire Steve Ballmer, LA Clippers owner and former CEO of Microsoft. Snyder is an American philanthropist. She is the co-founder of the Balmer group, an organization whose sole aim is to support the poverty-stricken families in the United States.

Getty Images Photo by Brendan Smialowski

While her husband is estimated to be worth over $70 billion, Snyder herself is worth around $2 million. Connie has been an employee of Microsoft and other popular technology companies, where she made a name for herself in their marketing and public relations departments.

Lily Safra

Lily Safra is a billionaire, philanthropist, and socialite of Brazilian-Monegasque descent. She has been married to four different men but we’re here for the latest one — Edmond Safra, an affluent Lebanese Jewish banker. Edmond is famously known for starting the Republic National Bank of New York.

Alamy Stock Photo

In 1976, despite the fact that his family opposed their relationship, Edmond married Lily. They were married until 1999 when he tragically died in a fire. Lily is currently well into her 80s and holds a net worth of $1.3 billion.

Melanie Craft

Melanie studied anthropology at Oberlin College and archaeology in Egypt but ended up not pursuing a career in the field. Since 1998, Melanie has written and published three books and now she is working on her fourth.

Getty Images Photo by DEAN TREML/AFP 

Melanie is married to Larry Ellison and both serve on the board of the Ellison Medical Foundation, which aids Alzheimer’s research. Interestingly, their wedding photographer was none other than Steve Jobs! Sadly, however, the couple divorced in 2010.

Anne Dias Griffin

Anne is a Harvard MBA who also founded Aragon Global Management. She is also a supporter of the arts, serving as a trustee of New York’s Whitney Museum and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Getty Images Photo by Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

In 2003, Anne married hedge fund billionaire Kenneth Griffin, and the pair had three children. In 2006, she and her husband donated $19 million to the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2015, the two got divorced and haven’t remarried since.

Kathy Hilton

Kathy Hilton is an American socialite and actress who expanded her career ventures to fashion design (with her party dress line sold in stores such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus) and Philanthropy. At the age of 15, she met Richard Hilton.

Alamy Stock Photo

Hilton is an American businessman and founder of the successful firm Hilton & Hyland, specializing in upscale homes in Beverly Hills, Malibu, Hollywood Hills, and more. The couple has four children, including well-known Paris Hilton, who made her claim to fame in the popular early 2000s reality show “The Simple Life” with Nicole Richie.

Janet Hill

Janet Hill is the fourth wife of the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak. Hill and Wozniak met while Hill worked at Apple in Strategic Education Solutions and as Sr. Manager in Education Marketing.

Getty Images Photo by Kelly Sullivan

The two were long-time friends before tying the knot in August of 2008. The couple is still happily married and lives together in Los Gatos, California. Wozniak is reported to have a net worth of $100 million as of 2017.

Wendi Deng

Wendy Deng met well known Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch not long after graduating with an MBA from Yale University.  The Chinese-born entrepreneur was working in Hong Kong as vice president to Star TV, a company which Murdoch had purchased when the two began their relationship.

Alamy Stock Photo

The couple married in 1999, making Deng Murdoch’s third wife. Throughout her career, Deng has worked in a wide variety of fields such as TV, a MySpace advisor, a Chinese internet investor, and film production. Unfortunately, the couple filed for divorce in 2013.

Usha Mittal

Usha Mittal holds her own against her husband Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company. The two have been going strong since the young age of 21, and Usha has even been given the responsibility of running ArcelorMittal in the managing board’s absence, having had 15 years of experience running a steel plant in Indonesia.

Alamy Stock Photo

Though impressive as that may be, her biggest contribution is becoming the namesake of the Usha Mittal Institute of Technology. The well-renowned institution is a large promotor of education for women throughout India.

Tina Munim

Tina Munim, a former Bollywood actress, made her claim to fame in the movie “Des Pardes” (At Home and Abroad), which was released in 1978. She is married to businessman Anil Ambani, once ranked the sixth richest man in the world.

Getty Images Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP

Though Munim has left the Bollywood scene after acting in over 30 films, she still has her hand in the arts as an acting member of the Harmony and Art Foundation. She also sits on the board of the Mumbai based Koklilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital as a chairperson. Munim and Ambani have two sons.

Jane Skinner

Daughter of former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner, under the George H.W. Bush administration, Jane began her career, unsurprisingly, as a political correspondent. The Northwestern University graduate continued her career in Newscasting, ultimately settling as the anchor for the 2 pm ET edition of Fox News Live.

Alamy Stock Photo

In 2010, Skinner announced her retirement from the anchor position to devote more time to family. Skinner is married to NFL commissioner Rodger Goodell, raising their twin daughters in Westchester, New York.

Diana Taylor

Diana Taylor is the domestic partner of businessman and former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg. The Greenwich, Connecticut native graduated from Dartmouth with a degree in economics and subsequently with an MBA from Columbia University.

Alamy Stock Photo

Taylor and Bloomberg met in 2000 after being seated next to each other at an event for the Citizens Budget Commission. Taylor is a strong women’s advocate, serving on the board of both the International Women’s Health Coalition, The New York Women’s Foundation, and the YMCA of Greater New York, to name a few.

Jenny Gillespie

Jenny Gillespie is married to Andrew Mason, CEO, and founder of the popular website Groupon. Mason is estimated to have a net worth of approximately $200 million (as of March 2013). A singer and jack of all trades, Gillespie has recorded a number of studio albums, all of which she had a hand in producing.

Alamy Stock Photo

Gillespie also started the record label Narooma records, which focuses on overlooked female artists around the globe.  The singer splits her time between the world of the arts and taking care of her two young boys.

Rubina Bajwa

Rubina Bajwa is married to successful internet entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal, who became a millionaire at the young age of 18 after founding a successful internet advertising company two years prior.


Bajwa was born and raised in a Punjab family in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has built a successful career as an actress in Punjab films. The actress was awarded Best Debut Female Actress at the Punjab Film Awards in 2018.

Jill Biden

Jill Biden, formerly Jill Jacobs, met Joe Biden on a blind date arranged by Joe’s brother Frank. Jill, having been married once and already separated, was impressed by Joe’s gentlemanly demeanor.

Alamy Stock Photo

The two were married in 1977, where Jill took on mother’s role to Joe’s two sons, who were survivors of a car crash killing his former wife and infant daughter. After a full term as the Second Lady of the United States, Jill Biden became the First Lady in January 2021.

Michelle Obama

A truly impressive woman in her own right, Michelle Obama met former President Barack Obama while working in marketing and intellectual property law at the Chicago-based law firm Sidley & Austin. The two spent their first date at Spike Lee’s movie, “Do The Right Thing,” and the rest is history. The Obamas were married in October of 1992.

Getty Images Photo by Frederick M. Brown

The former First Lady studied at Princeton University for undergrad and is also a Harvard Law School graduate. Amongst the myriad of Michelle Obama’s accomplishments, she is a successful author, podcast host, and founder of The Girls Opportunity Alliance, a foundation committed to the empowerment of adolescent girls around the world through education.

Joan Templeman

Joan Templeman is the second wife to the well-known businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Richard Branson, who is estimated to have a net worth of 5.6 billion dollars. Templeman met fellow Brit Branson in 1976, Branson has already become the well-established founder of Virgin and all its various branches.

Getty Images Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The two were married in 1989 and had two kids together. They reside on the family’s private island, Necker Island.

Linda Fuller

Linda Fuller is a co-founder with husband Millard Fuller of the well-known organization Habitat for Humanity, an NGO which builds houses internationally for those in need. A devout Christian, the fullers were married in 1959 and subsequently moved to an interracial farming community.

Alamy Stock Photo

With faith driving her, Linda Fuller picked up her family and moved with her husband and the children to Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) for 5 years before returning to the US. It was there in Zaire that the Habitat for Humanity business model was tested and proven a great success.

Alice Barry

Alice Barry is the third wife of SNL creator Lorne Michaels. The couple met in 1991 while Barry worked as Michaels’ assistant on the late-night show and was married that same year.

Getty Images Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection

Barry still works in the entertainment industry and has three children with Lorn, Sophie, Edward, and Henry Michaels. The family resides in New York.

Sanni McCandless

Sanni McCandless is the wife of the successful pro rock climber and Academy Award winner for the documentary “Free Solo,” Alex Hannold. An extremely outdoorsy person herself, McCandles began her career in the tech-world working at a Seattle-based company called EnergySavvy focusing on energy efficiency.

Alamy Stock Photo

McCandless is a graduate of IPEC’s Life Coach Certification program and works as a coach for outdoor-focused individuals. Though much of her life with Hannold is mobile, the two often live in their van while rock climbing throughout the country, her husband’s acclaim, and fame have slowed their road-life a bit, settling them just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.

Julia Carling

Wife of Rob Stringer, CEO of Universal Music Group, Julia Carling is a British journalist and TV presenter. Carling married Stringer, her third husband in 2006 after previously being married to Jeff Beck, a guitarist and musician, and Will Caring, an English rugby captain.

Alamy Stock Photo

Carling has a degree from Birbeck, the University of London in Egyptology. In 2004 she became a published author with her book “Beauty Scoop: The Indispensable Guide to the Best Beauty Products on the Market.”

Yael Cohen

Yael Cohen, a South African born and Canadian raised mining heiress and businesswoman, is the daughter of David Cohen, an oil and mining entrepreneur, and is wife to well-known Hollywood agent Scooter Braun.

Alamy Stock Photo

After her mother was diagnosed with cancer, Cohen became an active breast cancer advocate, working closely with millennials primarily through social media to facilitate discussions about early prevention. In 2018, Cohen became a senior advisor for the successful dating app Bumble. Cohen and Braun have three children and reside in LA, California.

Meghan Markle

From somewhat known actress to part of the Royal Family, Meghan Markle has been talked about quite a bit in recent years, boosting her to the spotlight. Markle married Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in November of 2017, “crowning” her the titles Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex and Countess of Dumbarton and Baroness of Kilkeel.

Getty Images Photo by Ian Vogler – Pool

The former actress was previously known for playing the role of Rachel Zane in the show “Suits” from seasons 1-7. The royal couple has one son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, and have settled in Montecito, California.

Anjali Pichai

Anjali Pichai is the wife of Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc and its subsidiary Google. Pichai is herself a chemical engineer, having graduated from ITT, the Indian Institute of Technology, where she met her husband. Pichai grew up in India in a brahman family before moving to the US.

Alamy Stock Photo

She began her career as a business analyst at Accenture and later started working as Business Operations Manager at Intuit. The couple has two children.

Melanie Craft

Melanie Craft is an accomplished author and novelist, having published popular books such as “Man Trouble” and “Trust Me.” The writer is the former first wife to businessman and founder and CEO of Oracle company, Larry Ellison, estimated at a net worth of $86.9 as of January 2021.

Alamy Stock Photo

Although Craft is 25 years Ellison’s junior, the two were married in 2003; however, the couple filed for divorce in 2010.

Helen Morris

Helen Morris was born into an aristocratic family with heavy value put upon art, history, literature, and culture. Though the fifth wife of the well known and highly regarded director Martin Scorsese, Morris herself has had an impressive and successful career.

Alamy Stock Photo

Morris was a well-renowned book editor for Random House, as well as successfully producing the TV show “Daisy Daisy” and a number of documentaries. A devout philanthrope, she is also known to work with a number of various charities.

Pamela Kerr

Pamela Kerr is the wife of French-born, Armenian-American businessman Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay. Kerr originally hails from Hawaii but met husband Omidyar after moving to the continental US.

Getty Images Photo by Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

With a net worth of $8.3 billion, Kerr and Omidyar use their wealth to help those in need, having donated millions of dollars to various charities and non-profit organizations. The couple has three kids and has made a home base in Henderson, Nevada

152 Minutes With Robert Gottlieb

I love this book publishing and New York City story —LWH

By Matthew Schneier

The 91-year-old book editor waits for his 87-year-old star writer, Robert Caro, to turn in his latest book.

The life of the editor Bob Gottlieb, at a spry 91 years old, is nowadays largely limited to a single room on the second floor of his East 48th Street townhouse — by choice, not necessity. He can bound up Second Avenue just fine to the diner that he considers an extension of his home, where the waitress knows he takes his chocolate milkshakes extra thick. But everything he needs, his library and his pencils, is right here, so why go farther? To receive guests like this one, he didn’t even have to put on shoes or tame the gull’s-wing sweep of his silver hair. Burbling away in a leather club chair in his book-lined office (they are arranged according to a system, he says with a point to his head, that’s “up here”), with piles of more books on the floor and in the corners, beneath giant MGM publicity posters of Marion Davies, Clark Gable, and Norma Shearer from the early 1930s, he is a man in his element. “I don’t want to go anywhere because there’s nowhere I want to go,” he says in his fluty register. “My life is very calm, just the way I like.”

It is here that he waits for one of his most famous writers — and he has edited many of the past century’s most famous ones, including Cheever, Rushdie, Lessing, and Naipaul — to turn in a long-awaited manuscript. Assuming, that is, the pair beat what Gottlieb notes dryly are the “actuarial odds.” Robert Caro, 87, whom Gottlieb has edited since his first book, The Power Broker, published in 1974, is at work on the fifth and final volume of his Lyndon B. Johnson biography. Their long relationship is the subject of a documentary, Turn Every Page, directed by Gottlieb’s daughter, Lizzie, which arrives (well before the Johnson book) on December 30.

Gottlieb is perhaps the longest-serving man in publishing, a living link to those days when a successful book editor and his stage-actress wife could buy themselves an entire Manhattan townhouse like this one and stuff it full of books. Their house, and his office, looks out onto the private, semi-communal Turtle Bay Gardens, shared with their neighbors on the block. “Bob never goes into the garden, you have to understand,” says Gottlieb’s wife, Maria Tucci, who has come home with lunch. “He says real Jews don’t like nature.”

Among their fellow Turtle Bay Gardeners over the years were Janet Malcolm and Gardner Botsford, the late New Yorker writer-editor couple, whose teenage daughter, Anne, became their babysitter. Katharine Hepburn lived along there, too (next door to Stephen Sondheim), and when Gottlieb was editing her book, he’d nip across to her house for meetings, entering through her back door.

Gottlieb joined Simon & Schuster in 1955 and eventually became editor-in-chief, then ran Alfred A. Knopf. In 1987, S. I. Newhouse hired him to take over The New Yorker from William Shawn and then fired him a few years later in favor of Tina Brown (Newhouse must’ve felt guilty because he promised him his New Yorker salary for life). Then it was back to Knopf.

Even at 91, he continues to work on occasional projects as an editor-at-large. (His next, Flora Macdonald: “Pretty Young Rebel,” out in January, is by Flora Fraser, whose mother and grandmother he has also edited.) What Gottlieb does, what he has always done, is read — widely and voraciously, if not, he says, as quickly as he once did.

At the moment, he is making his way through a recent biography of George III, the essays of V. S. Pritchett, and the work of the Soviet novelist and journalist Vasily Grossman, though I also spot copies of Janet Evanovich and Colleen Hoover, the currently best-selling romance writer. An editor, he notes modestly, is really just a reader — although he also likened the editing process to psychoanalysis, including the occasional transference.

Editors, as any editor can tell you, live in the shadow of their writers, reacting quietly behind the scenes, unheralded and little known. This is, evidently, how Gottlieb prefers it. “This glorification of editors, of which I have been an extreme example, is not a wholesome thing,” he once told The Paris Review. “The editor’s relationship to a book should be an invisible one,” he said then and believes today. “The last thing anyone reading Jane Eyre would want to know, for example, is that I had convinced Charlotte Brontë that the first Mrs. Rochester should go up in flames.”

He insists editing is neither an art nor a craft. It’s just “what I do,” he says. “I’m not an abstract thinker. I don’t think, really — I just react, which is what editors are supposed to do.” When I tried to press him further, he waved me away. “Don’t you feel like an idiot having to ask questions like that?”

Turn Every Page attempts to answer some of them. The film is a tender portrait of the two men that is saved from schmaltz by their occasional testiness, Caro’s in particular. According to Gottlieb, it has always been thus. “He was very wary about revealing himself,” he says of Caro. “I used to joke when we first met each other — I felt that if I said to him, ‘How are you?’ that was too invasive a question.”

Fifty years later, and thanks in part to the film, he adds, “he’s finally acknowledged that we are friends.” Until making it, Lizzie Gottlieb had barely met Caro, and it took some persistence to wear down his resolve. Her father was easier to crack. “Anything she wants is hers by definition,” he says.

Caro was a broke former Newsday reporter when he started work on The Power Broker, his megalithic study of Robert Moses. He delivered to Gottlieb a manuscript that, at over a million words, would be impossible to fit in a single volume and suggested publishing it in two. “We may be able to get people interested in Robert Moses once,” Gottlieb tells me — he’s said this before — “but we certainly can’t do it twice.” They set about trimming it by a third, but the finished book is still 1,200 pages. It won the Pulitzer Prize and is in its 66th printing.

Caro was not going to be limited by single volumes after that. From the start, the Johnson biography was planned to be three, though since then it’s grown to four published and one more on the way. “I don’t see anything while he’s writing,” Gottlieb says. If he has any idea when the book will issue from Caro’s Smith Corona, he isn’t saying. (Gottlieb himself uses a Mac.)

Turn Every Page plays up the drama of the editing process, emphasizing the (offscreen) sparring between the two men on subjects great and small. (There were, apparently, many blowups about punctuation, most especially the semi-colon: Caro for, Gottlieb against.) According to Gottlieb, these contretemps barely count. “I would say if there were any real disagreements between us,” he says genteelly, though I doubt he would tell me or anyone. The men did allow Lizzie to film them working together side by side — but only with the sound off.

This hands-on, cheek-by-jowl editing, once rare, is now basically extinct. “Publishing has grown more and more corporate,” he says. “I think it’s all changing. Luckily, I don’t have to deal with any of that.” Yet he remains chipper and uncynical, certain that Americans are still avid readers like him. (Avid Reader is the title of his memoir.) He seems less like a lion in winter than a springy Candide, though he thinks of himself more as a Norman Vincent Peale — mid-century author of The Power of Positive Thinking and, probably not irrelevantly, a best-seller.

I ask him if he was able to resist the impulse to try to edit his daughter. “We had one disagreement about the film,” he says. “I suggested she put an exclamation point at the end of the title. Because, to me, Turn Every Page is an exhortation. But she resisted.” He relented. “It’s here to take advantage of,” he says about his editorial guidance. “If it’s not an advantage to you, forget it.” Just to be safe, this article includes not one semicolon

More and More Jews Are Choosing Cremation

These rabbis aren’t happy about it.

According to one rabbi’s estimate, about half of American Jews are choosing cremation

By Stewart Ain January 5, 2023

Ira Wechterman knows that Jewish tradition says Jewish bodies should be interred. It’s what he was taught, and what his own daughter, a rabbi and executive director of the Reconstructionist movement, encourages.

But Wechterman, 82, and his wife, Helene, 80, have decided they’re going to be cremated after they die. He sees cemeteries as a waste of land, and said he doesn’t tend his own parents’ cemetery plots but is pretty sure they don’t care about the weeds growing around their graves.

“I would rather have my children go to a place that was meaningful to us — they can go to any body of water and think of mother and dad sailing,” said the retired Long Island dentist who now lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. “If my wife and I are cremated, we can have our ashes put into the Gulf Stream and eventually they will float up to Port Jefferson where we used to live.

The Wechtermans’ choice is one more and more Americans are making. According to the Cremation Association of North America, more than half — 58% — of Americans who died in 2020 were cremated. The National Funeral Directors Association expects about 80% to be cremated by 2040.

Cremation figures for Jews are lower because a traditional Jewish funeral involves a burial. Even the more liberal streams of Judaism, including the Reform and Reconstructionist movements, call for it.

There are nuances among Jewish viewpoints. Orthodox Jews are more likely to describe cremation as unacceptable and a desecration. Jewish law “is unequivocal that the dead must be buried in the earth,” states a Chabad website. According to a Reform movement document, cremation should be discouraged, but in Biblical text “nowhere do we find an express prohibition of the burning of the corpse.”

What is clear across movements is that an increasing number of Jews are opting for cremation. There are no hard numbers on this. But rabbis, Jewish funeral directors and others who work closely with bereaved families are estimating numbers not far behind those for Americans in general. Some are trying to push back against the trend. A leader in this countermovement, Rabbi Elchonon Zohn, has called on rabbis to dedicate this coming Shabbat to combatting “the cremation crisis.”

Zohn, who is Orthodox and the founder and director of the National Association of Chevra Kadisha, or Jewish burial societies, said that based on reports from members, about half of American Jews who die are cremated. It is growing “by leaps and bounds,” he said.

Among those who seek out Jewish burial societies, which tend to attract Jewish families seeking more traditional funerals, the numbers may be lower. But they are climbing, said Charles Hirschberg, of the Dallas Chevra Kadisha. About 20% of the families his group serves request cremation, up 50% in the last three years, he said.

These figures are far higher than the single and low-double digits that the Forward found 10 years ago when it asked clergy and others to estimate the number of Jews being cremated.

But Hirshberg, Zohn and others who want to dissuade Jews to stop choosing cremation are working against increasingly strong convictions within the larger Jewish community that people should be free to decide how they want to dispose of their bodies and that their families and clergy should support them.

Zohn has organized a national campaign to “help all Jews choose burial.” Its website lists more than 650 synagogues in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Australia that are taking part.A flyer for a campaign to dissuade Jews from cremation.

“Burial is not merely a Jewish ‘tradition,’” the website states, explaining that the mitzvah, or commandment, of burying the dead comprises two of the 613 compiled by Maimonides: “a positive commandment of burying a body, and a negative commandment of not leaving a body unburied.”

Zohn, who is hosting two webinars on the topic on Saturday night and Sunday, said he picked this Shabbat to dedicate to the cause because the Torah reading this week, Vayechi, deals with Jacob’s death and his directive to his children that he be buried in Israel and not in Egypt, where he was then living.

He also wants rabbis to talk to their congregants this weekend about other end-of-life issues, “purchasing a grave and about having a living will and life insurance.”

But Zohn and others who are trying to convince more Jews to choose burial also know they are up against compelling financial realities. In general, burial costs more than cremation.

“Ninety percent of the problem is that the cost of a funeral in Dallas is about $10,000 and the cost of cremation is $2,700,” said Hirschberg of the Dallas Chevra KadishaIn response, his group is offering loans to families to shoulder the burden.

A 2021 study from the National Funeral Directors Association shows the median cost of burial to be closer to that of cremation, with a viewing and burial of a body at $7,848, compared to $6,970 for a viewing and cremation.

Jews who are trying to get other Jews to reject cremation also invoke the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died, many in crematoria.

“From time immemorial Jews have avoided cremation,” Hirschberg said. “One of the reasons the Nazis used cremation is because they knew what a shanda” — a disgrace — “it was for Jews.”

A survey of the four major Jewish movements — Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist — shows that all discourage cremation, some more strongly than others. All also indicate that there are rabbis within them who will take part in a memorial service for someone who was cremated.

Rabbi Avi Shafran, a spokesperson for Agudath Israel of America, a group that represents Orthodox Jews, said that while he believes some Orthodox rabbis might decline to speak at a memorial service for a person who was cremated “as a matter of principle,” others would agree no matter the plans for the body. He also noted that Judaism does not call for a rabbi to be present at a Jewish burial.

The Reform movement has changed its position on cremation over the years, and not in the direction some might expect. In past years the movement had considered cremation permissible, but a recent statement from the Central Conference of American Rabbis calls for its members to “discourage” the practice. The position is based upon two threads of argument: that burial is the traditional Jewish practice and that, since the Holocaust, cremation has become associated with “one of the darkest periods in Jewish and human history.”

And “every rabbi can respond to requests for cremation based on their own understanding of tradition, Jewish history, the needs of the family, and their own conscience,” said Tamar Amitai, a spokesperson for the conference.

The Conservative movement holds that cremation “should be discouraged, but it is not formally forbidden,” according to Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky, spiritual leader of Congregation Ansche Chesed on the Upper West Side of New York City. His writings on the subject were adopted by the movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.

Rabbi David Steinhardt, spiritual leader of Congregation B’nai Torah in Boca Raton, one of the largest Conservative congregations in Florida, takes a stance on cremation that many rabbis favor — keeping a distance from the process but embracing the family that chooses it. He said he will preside at a service for a person whose body was cremated, but only after shloshim, the 30 days following a funeral.

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman of the Reconstructionist movement said she will officiate at the funeral for a person who is to be cremated, reasoning that “just because there wasn’t a traditional burial, does not mean the mourners can’t have traditional mourning.”

She said she has seen tahara, the traditional washing of the body, performed in advance of a cremation. And she notes a case in which someone donated his body to science and research. “What came back six to eight months later were cremated remains and the family then had a funeral to make sure those remains were buried.”

Wechterman refers to her parents, Ira and Helene Wechterman, when she explains her willingness to serve families who have chosen cremation. It is a choice she would not make, she emphasized, but one she will honor.“So I approach it with an eye towards Jewish tradition and a pastoral response,” she said. “The key is flexibility with an eye on kavod hamet, honoring the deceased and comforting the mourners.”