It was February 1, 1993. I had just finished shooting a video in Israel for a corporate client. I was an American living in London, separated and waiting for my divorce to come through. So, with no reason to rush back home, I headed down to Eilat for a little sun and sand. I wandered the beaches alone, a solitary figure framed against the shadows of the setting sun. For three lonely days, I spoke to no one and then it was time to head to the airport. As I was checking in, I saw two beautiful English women just ahead of me, and we shared a few small-talk words. After they’d checked in, I asked the ticket clerk if she could seat me next to them, but she said the closest available seat was two rows ahead and three rows...
Beshert | A Mensch with an Edge
We met through a friend on July 4th, 1996. My friend Sheryl asked me to fireworks; her friend Cliff was saving spaces at Gasworks Park, a hilly green space abutting Seattle’s Lake Union that featured old-fashioned gasworks. Saving spaces there on July 4th is a commitment and a half. The show doesn’t start until 10:15 pm.; to snag a premium spot, Seattleites line up at eight in the morning. Sheryl said, “You and Cliff might really get along.” At that point in my life, I pined over whichever guy in the corner of whichever party had long hair, a joint between his lips, and “I will ruin your life,” written all over him. I couldn’t have recognized beshert if it crawled out of Lake Union and bit me on the tusch—especially with the kind of mensch who would...
Beshert | “I Get It.”
I’ve always been super confident in most things but faltered when it came to dating and love. I was looking for ease and perfection. And, my celiac disease made me filter out those who didn't seem too understanding or comforting. As I entered my thirties, I found myself truly happy. I was in the best shape of my life and broke free from the corporate world when I started my own business from an office in WeWork. Elan worked for the company across the hall. At first, we exchanged waves. Hellos became chats over mugs of coffee in the shared kitchen space. We discovered that we each had an Israeli parent, his mother and my father. Finally, after five weeks, he asked me out for drinks. I happily agreed. Our date lasted four hours. I was intrigued. Elan was...
Beshert | Finding My Own Kind
My Grandma Phyllis always told me to “Stick to your own kind” when it came to dating. But to her disappointment, I’d never dated another Jew. I had, however, dated other women. I figured that was a good way to follow Grandma’s advice – weren’t women my kind, too? In 2010, after finishing my Ph.D., I moved to Norwich, England, where I knew almost no one, for work. That’s when my long-distance girlfriend suddenly dumped me. Bereft, shocked and alone, I just stayed in my flat or went to work. I did a lot of crying. Then I went to lunch with a male friend, thinking I should get out of the house. I’d heard there was an afternoon tea party for lesbian and bisexual women later that day. My friend told me to go, to cheer...
Beshert | Pot, Meet Cover
“For every pot, there’s a cover.” That’s what my grandmother of blessed memory always said, never giving up her hope for me. But I was pushing 40. Restless, with no possible prospects, I moved to Norfolk, Virginia for a new hotel job. As I did with every new move, I first went to the local synagogue. This one happened to be hosting a singles Shabbat that night. Hooray, a “two in one!” When my parents next asked, as they always did, if I had attended services and gone to a singles party to meet someone, I could honestly say, “Yes.” Ron was approaching 50 and wanted to get married. He was on the board of the Norfolk Jewish Community Center and volunteered to establish a singles program where he might meet someone who shared his interests—and...
Beshert | A Face in the Crowd Led Me Home
At 26, I was coming off a traumatic divorce that led me to distrust everything I knew to be true in this world. Desperate to figure out who I was and what I could believe in, I jumped when a friend invited me to go to a huge protest in Washington, DC, the 1979 No Nukes rally. I thought, now there’s something I could believe: Nuclear war = Bad. Start with the simple things, right? Tikkun olam. This wasn’t the sort of thing I used to do. Although I was kind of a hippie, I was also shy and not one to make big statements. Plus, I don’t like crowds—or Port-o-Potties. But milling among 125,000 souls like-minded on nuclear energy, energized me. As the crowd chanted, “Hell no, we won’t glow,” and “Two, four, six, eight,...
Beshert | Shabbat-a-Bing-Bada-Boom!
“Someday,” my boyfriend David said to me dreamily, “we’ll have Shabbat dinners at our house.” “Yeah right,” I guffawed. “I guess you’ll have to marry someone else. I don’t do Shabbat.” Sure, I was Jewish. I went to Jewish camp. And High Holiday services. But I was not an every-week-kind-of-Jew, and had no intention of becoming one. Ironically, my father was a cantor at a Reform synagogue in New York City. But he was a professional baritone who happened to be the cantor, not a classically trained chazzan. Raised by socialist Russian parents who spoke Yiddish, he got the message—Cultural Judaism: Important. Ritual Judaism: Not so much. My mother, the daughter of assimilated German Jews, was fine with that. David, on the other hand, grew up the son of a German refugee whose family arrived in the United...
Beshert | The Song of Our Lives
Then I saw her. Across the crowded room. Dancing alone in a red dress. It wasn’t just her beauty. It was a spirit emanating from her being. I approached her and we talked a bit. I found out her name was Rusti. Enchanting. But she was swarmed by other boys—she was beautiful, talented and smart.
Nevertheless, when I returned to my fraternity house that night, I told my brothers that I would marry her. It was love at first sight.
Beshert | Once Upon a Time in Montevideo…
I met my husband in a hotel lobby in Montevideo, Uruguay on my 27th birthday. We were browsing the lobby stores because the hotel’s only elevator was broken. We hailed from different continents and were both on delayed business trips, which made meeting on yet another continent beshert. He thought I was a local girl from Uruguay and I thought he, a European businessman, was attractive with an accent. By the time they fixed the elevator, we had invited each other for dinner. Work friends were taking me out for my birthday; when they picked me up, they were surprised at my speed in rounding out the dinner party. At a restaurant on the Rio Plata, bordering Argentina, we spoke a mix of languages made fluent by champagne. He claimed he spoke English and that my Spanish...
Beshert | He Had Me At Lunch
The man had just eaten the lunch of Jewish champions. There went my heart quandary; he embodied the simplest and best parts of being Jewish. With that one “lunch,” I realized he was the perfect Jew for me.