A 50-year-old bachelor chooses to marry a widow with seven children. “It’s like I was bungee jumping,” says Gil Efrati. “And the Almighty himself was pushing me along.”
Elisheva Chai believed she’d always be a widow. “I never thought I’d reach this day of a second marriage.” In December 2009, her first husband, Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, was murdered as he was driving to their home in Shavei Shomron, a religious Zionist settlement about 11 miles northwest of Nablus.
The trip was about kesher (connection) – people meeting people. But it came as a surprise when Wendy Rosenblum and Jeremy Lieb discovered each other – romantically. They knew each other before the trip. They were colleagues in the St. Louis Jewish Federation. Wendy was assistant director of development, and Jeremy was a development associate.
“I got lucky when they asked me to lead this trip,” says Wendy, a local St. Louisan. “Another person had the assignment but she had to cancel. Though I had just 10 days to prepare, I was thrilled to step in. I had been to Israel eight times before, but I really wanted to lead the Rubin Israel Experience.”
There was an age difference of 20 years. When Anat Keinan met Assaf Torati, she was 48, and he was 28. That was in Ra'anana, Israel in 2001. He went for a haircut and met Anat, who was the manager of the salon. “The first time he came in, we started talking,” recalls Anat. “He kept coming and we kept talking. I thought he was coming to flirt with my daughter, who was co-manager.” But Assaf thought differently.
It was no ordinary marriage proposal. Rotem Langer is a 31-year-old veteran of the Israeli army whose speech was affected by his injuries. “Sometimes I forget words,” says Rotem. “I didn’t want that to happen when I proposed to Shelly.”