They’re both Americans – he’s from Missouri and she’s from Florida – but they met in Ra’anana, Israel. In the spring of 2011, Andrea “Andy” Surasky, then 20, was living in Ra’anana with her family, who had come to live in Israel after Andy graduated high school. Jason Ast, then 23, was living in another Israeli town, but would come to Ra’anana to visit his friend, Simcha.
She was a New York State Assemblywoman on a personal, not a political, mission – to find the perfect guy for her best friend, Fran Reid. She had someone in mind for Fran – Gary Bixhorn, Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Suffolk Board of Educational Service. But Gary, a recent widower, was still in mourning and wasn’t ready to hear any talk about dating. “Basically, I cut her off,” says Gary.
Yakira Wiesel was the only girl on the crowded rooftop of a rickety bus. She was in Nepal, on a nine-hour ride, heading toward the Frozen Lake Trek. She heard some of the guys speaking Hebrew, which was comforting for a 20- year-old Israeli girl. When the bus began to shake, she turned to one of them and asked: “Can I lean on you?” Michael Azulay, who was 23 at the time, was happy to oblige. He recalls: “I immediately felt an attraction.”
They had been friends for about six years. Lauren Karmely thought she would marry someone like Michel – his name is pronounced the French way. Then she began thinking of marrying him.
Lauren had invited Michel to a Sukkot party, along with other guys, family and lots of girlfriends. They dropped off a friend and were left alone in the car. He suggested a cup of tea at Dunkin Donuts. “It wasn’t a date,” says Lauren. “It was just tea among friends.”