Want to meet your match? “Come to the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan,” advises Daniel Singer. That’s what he did.
He wasn’t just visiting. Daniel is the senior cantor of the temple, and so attends the Havdallah service marking the beginning of a new week. On Saturday evening, March 28, 2009, he was there as was Tamara Engel, a greeter from the temple, who is known for her good deeds and is an amateur matchmaker. “It’s like Tamara has a Rolodex in her head,” says Daniel.
Lauren Rabinowitz attended the service because it was held at the home of her maternal grandmother, Doris Brickner. “I didn’t come with the intention of introducing Lauren to Daniel,” says Tamara. “I didn’t even know she was going to be there. But when I saw the two of them in the same room, I grabbed the moment. It was purely instinct.”
“I never wanted to date a congregant,” says Daniel. “It wasn’t written law, but I was following my own rules.”
Tamara saw things differently. “She almost insisted that I approach Lauren.” says Daniel
Lauren remembers: “My mom and grandmother thought about this match before and from his first Rosh Hashana at the temple, he caught my eye. I made a few gestures. But Daniel didn’t seem interested.”
Daniel says: “In truth, there had been some unspoken attraction between us from the beginning. On the other hand, I didn’t want to break my own rules. And then, I found a loophole in my rule – Lauren herself was not a member of the temple. In fact, she was the granddaughter of a congregant.” It was an ‘ah-ha’ moment.
“It was meant-to-be that we were all present for that Havdallah,” says Lauren. In fact, Lauren and Daniel had been living in parallel universes. In the year 2000, they both lived in Israel and in 2004, she was living at 77th and York and he was working at 79th and 2nd. “We were like ships in the night,” says Lauren.
They started from different points. Daniel graduated from the University of Wisconsin and has a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in vocal performance. Only then did he move East and receive a master’s degree in sacred music from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. There he also received his cantorial certification.
Lauren was born on the East Coast and graduated from Sarah Lawrence, from which she also received a master’s in psychology. Currently, she’s an executive assistant in the corporate services division of Morgan Stanley in New York. “She is very smart and talented,” says Dan. “She is also caring and has inner and outer beauty.”
“And she knows what it’s like to partner with a clergyman,” continues Daniel. Lauren comes from a rabbinic family – her great grandfather was a rabbi and her grandfather was Rabbi Balfour Brickner, a longtime spiritual leader of the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue.
It’s not surprising that Lauren loves opera. She appreciates Dan’s talents and finds him to be very creative. “He’s also intelligent, funny, and loving,” she adds.
On his 35th birthday, July 10, 2010, Daniel proposed to Lauren. They were standing on the beach in Cabo San Lucas, when he dropped to one knee. Lauren, then 34, could not understand how the ring was such a perfect fit.
Their wedding on June 18, 2011, was a musical spectacular, as Daniel’s cantor colleagues participated. More than 20 of them. Daniel serenaded Lauren in their first dance with the song “Some Enchanted Evening,” recalling the magical evening when they met.
Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch, senior rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, performed the marriage ceremony, and remarked: “Dan, your middle name is Adam, and Lauren, your middle name is Eve: Adam and Eve – at the beginning-now-and forever.”