Ivanka Trump shares photo of herself baking Purim pastries with son, daughter

The joy and ease I saw when I came across Ivanka cooking is such stark contrast to my first recollection of Ivanka Trump. She was a child, and in my mind's eye, I see her slight and fair wearing no discernable expression and a dark velvet party dress. A little girl perhaps ten years old with one arm around her mother Ivanka and one around her father Donald; she, expressionless, seemed like a calm between the feverish energy of two formidable and flamboyant forces. I knew little about them, but the image seemed chaotic. I soon came to understand it was tied to a story about the very public and very unsavory dissolution of her parent's marriage. Later, what most disturbed me was that Ivanka was clearly old enough to be aware of the details I was privy to in reading the article. That article was but a drop in the bucket; the headlines were everywhere from the likes of supermarket tabloids to celebrity magazines to the New York Times and glossy periodicals like Vanity Fair. I often wondered what would become of this little girl?

A girl's mother may be her best friend, but her father is her hero. As years passed and Ivanka matured into a young woman, and she emerged a visible and vocal presence, I often reflected on how it was she had reconciled her father's behavior. He with no remorse for cheating on her mother so by extension that meant no remorse for the consequence, the loss of her family unit. It must have been painful to witness, and the flames of that pain must have repeatedly been fanned over time. It is unthinkable to believe she never formed some degree of negative feelings about his character. How, to this day, could Ivanka be unaware of her father's well-documented cavalier attitude about the affair? Statements like 'Life was just a bowl of cherries' because he had 'a beautiful girlfriend, a beautiful wife, a beautiful everything' -- he said this, to sum up why the with Marla Maples would have likely continued had he not been caught.

Until Donald met Marla Maples during the family Christmas trip to Aspen in 1990, by all outward appearances, her parents were the toast of Manhattans nouveau riche, a glamorous happily married couple of 13 years. But the appearance was just that, "appearance." In divorce proceedings, during deposition, Ivana stated her husband Donald raped her. Why? He was angry because he felt her plastic surgeon botched the scalp reduction surgery he had performed to remove a bald spot. While trial documents evidencing that deposition have mysteriously gone missing, others do remain on record with allegations that Trump abused his wife in other manners. In 1992 the Trump divorce was finalized with court papers stating it was 'unsafe or improper for them to be married.'

So today, 25 years later, as I watch Ivanka Trump I am filled with a sense of wonder. Ivanka is always appropriately and immaculately dressed. Speaking publicly, about something other than her father, I have never heard her say anything that was not of substance, and while her delivery seems quite deliberate and contemplative, it also rings as very genuine. After graduating from The Wharton School with a Bachelors in Economics, Ivanka spent years working within her father's development firm. More recently she brought her vision of an eponymously named ready-to-wear clothing line to reality and phenomenal success; one she can claim as hers alone.

A child of a broken marriage on a very public, very grand, scale not only married but converted to Judaism before uniting with her husband Jared Kushner, an Orthodox Jew, in 2009. Her conversion, like many of the years of her and her family life, fell under immense scrutiny and much recrimination. Unfortunate is how many Jews, and Gentiles alike chose to criticize Ivanka's conversion and failed to appreciate the allegiance and love her conversation demonstrated.

I must admit that I am still very perplexed by the relationship Ivanka has with her father. I am genuinely confused by how unflinchingly she pushes forth with her causes and her mandate in the face of his extremely oppositional behavior. With the talent of a master wordsmith Ivanka somehow still manages to express her support of him without ever concretely saying she shares his views or fully implicating herself in his choices. I am intensely curious...Is she caught unable to communicate the fullness of her opinion? Is she incredibly cunning and controlled and patiently biding her time? I truthfully do not have the slightest clue. My questions aside, what I do see is a woman who has chosen her own path despite that very powerful father who has "seemingly" dominated so much of her life and made clear his lack of earnest acceptance or inclusion of those who differ in race or religion. Ivanka has enacted great change in most aspects of how now, as an Observant Jew, she lives her day to day life. She has chosen to adopt the weight of working to learn how to raise her children in that faith, out of love for her husband, and with belief in their union. Despite my inability to grasp her public persona, I cannot be anything but deeply impressed by the person her private life demonstrates her to be.

Written by Celia Myers Martin

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