Matchmaker

An occasional feature from Leah Hakimian, a matchmaker and marriage expert, who finds the best "how we met" stories.

How Michal Met Joey

A woman in her late thirties and a man at the mid-century mark refused to give up.

10/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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“It was just me and my cat,” says Michal Cohen Eckstein, when she was a 38-year-old religious single living in Jerusalem in 2012. But she didn’t give up hope and continued repeating her mantra: I will get married. She also decided to heed the Talmudic notion that if you change your place, you will change your luck. 

It all checked out. Courtesy of Joey and Michal Eckstein

How Daniella Met Tani

09/02/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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"We were in the same crowds, but I didn’t see her,” says Tani Guterman. “It’s like Daniella was under the radar screen.”  In the spring of 2012, Daniella Stein was a senior at Yeshiva University (YU) Stern College for Women, and Tani was a YU alum. They both came from Young Israel backgrounds – she, from Lawrence, New York, and he from Staten Island; and they both worked with children with special needs.

Courtesy of Daneilla and Tani Guterman

How David Met Ronit

'Meet your spouse at Hillel House,' even if you're in your late thirties.

08/04/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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“Meet your spouse at Hillel House” – was the chant of student leaders at the St. Louis Hillel, according to the late Rabbi James Diamond, the respected executive director of Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) from 1972 until 1995.  Rabbi Diamond wrote:  “I always regarded matchmaking among the items on Hillel’s hidden agenda. What better way to promote the Jewish future? Marriages are made in heaven, but Hillel helps.”

David and Ronit. Kevin Dern

How Brett Met Laurie

A matchmaking friend and a professional matchmaker bring two visitors to Israel together.

07/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Chicago-born Brett Baron hadn’t come to the Elevation Seminar to meet girls. He came because of a poster advertising the seminar that he’d seen at his Jerusalem yeshiva, which promised a spiritual experience. But his friend Josh pointed someone out.

Brett and Laurie. Slav Zinger Photography

How Ellie Met Yonatan

06/03/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Ellie Schneiderman remembers how her boss, Stuart Levy, told her about the trip. He said: “I have some news for you. A part of it you’ll love – we want you to lead a Birthright trip; and a part, you’ll hate – your co-leader will be Yonatan Hochman.” Stuart knew how Ellie felt about Yonatan.

Yonatan got a second chance with Ellie. Courtesy of Yonatan and Ellie Hochman

How Judy Met Trevor

03/04/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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“My late husband wished me to re-marry,” said Judy Brown, “but it took me sixteen years. At first, I couldn’t even think about a second marriage, and then when I was ready, there was no one waiting in line to meet me.”

Trevor Davis and Judy Brown married recently; both have been long widowed. Courtesy of Trevor Davis and Judy Brown

How Jonathan Met Sharone

05/06/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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“No one would have thought to fix us up” she says. “He was too standard and I was too strange.”  

Sharone Chernyak and Jonathan Bloom were juniors at Yeshiva University at the same time, and yet their paths had never crossed. That is, until 2012, the summer before graduation, when they were 22. Both had been accepted into the CLIP Leadership Internship Program at New York University, even though each had doubts about the program.

Standard and strange are somehow beshert. Courtesy of Jonathan and Sharone Bloom

How Andy Met Jason

04/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist

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. 

Jason has gone into Andy’s family business. Barbara Ast

How Fran Met Gary

A busy New York State Assemblywoman finds time to do some matchmaking.

02/03/2014
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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.

Fran and Gary saw the movie “Yogi Bear” on their first date. Kitty Dadi

How Yakira Met Michael

12/30/2013
Jewish Week Correspondent
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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.” 

Yakira and Michael Azulay: Their road to destiny went through Nepal.
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