Matchmaker

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

When Noam Married Hagit

05/07/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Everyone expects fireworks when they fall in love.  For Noam and Hagit, the skies lit up on their wedding day – two months ago. But these fireworks weren’t fun. These were rockets fired by Arab terrorists.

Hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip were aimed at cities in southern Israel, placing more than a million Israelis under the threat of death.  The IDF had important decisions to make. So did Noam and Hagit.     

Love and war: Noam Blau and Hagit Brodsky didn't let rocket attacks from Gaza stand in the way of their big day.

How Leon Met Joanna

04/02/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“My mom encouraged me to join JDate,” says 33-year-old Leon Smulakowski, an amateur weight-lifter, who can break an apple in two with his bare hands. 

The last day of his subscription to the dating site – he was going to cancel – he saw Joanna's profile. “It was her beautiful smile that attracted me,” says Leon.  He messaged her.

Joanna Sirlin and Leon Smulakowski, married June 12, 2011.

How Ilan Met Michelle

03/05/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“It takes a village to raise a child,” says the African proverb, and in the tony village of Great Neck, New York, the family helps to match 'em up.  “For me and Ilan, it worked,” says Michelle Nabavian. “Our families knew when to get involved and when to stay out.”

Her uncle, Payam, was the first would-be matchmaker.  He started dropping hints about bringing together Michelle with his friend, Ilan Hakimian.  But it took a snowstorm in January 2011 to make things really happen.

Ilan Hakimian and Michelle Nabavian

How Frank Met Esther Avital

02/06/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

“I prayed that God would help me find my bashert, [meant-to-be spouse]” says Esther Avital, “and my prayers came true.”

Esther Avital Gottesman was not born Jewish.  She was born Heather Fuller to Christian parents in Santa Ana, California.  Around the age of 10, she didn’t want to be Christian anymore. She didn't like having to pray through an intermediary and she had a teenage obsession with Adam Duritz, lead singer of Counting Crows, who was Jewish.  

Esther Avital and Frank Gottesman.

How Jason Met Robyn

01/04/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

The father, Dr. David Kreiner, married a nurse. Their son, Dr. Jason Kreiner, married another physician.  Rites have changed in 37 years.

“I knew I’d marry someone who is hard-working,” says Jason. And indeed Robyn Epstein was working hard when the two met.  In the fall of 2006, Robyn was beginning her first year at Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, and Jason was a second-year student.

Jason Kreiner and Robyn Epstein

How Daniel Met Lauren

12/07/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

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 and Daniel Singer

How Joe Met Erin

11/02/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Two rabbis in the making swore to themselves the same sensible vow: They would never fall in love with a fellow rabbi, bli neder – without making a formal commitment.

In the fall of 2006, Erin Glazer, 26, started her third year at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (HUC-JIR).  She made friends with two new arrivals, second-year students who had spent the first year studying in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Erin Ruth Glazer and Rabbi Joseph Aaron Skloot

How Saul met Elke

10/10/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

 

Stoically, Saul Sudin says that when he met his future wife, one thing was clear: “We did not look like a match.”

Both were pursuing a life in the arts – he wanted to be a filmmaker, and Elke Engelson wanted to be a professional illustrator. He was a senior, she was a freshman. They met in Brooklyn at Pratt Institute. 

Saul and Elke Sudin: Partners In Art

How Pete Met Grace

09/08/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

On paper, they didn’t seem like a match. “Like so many other people, I too had my shopping list when I started dating,” says history teacher Grace McMillan. “And I might have overlooked Pete were it not for a colleague.” 

Pete and Grace.

How Jesse Met Joyce

08/01/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Tying the knot is not the first choice of every couple these days. Joyce Silver and Jesse Koch got hitched in part because of the grandchildren.

A new trend in retirement is for couples to live together outside the marriage bond. In fact, unmarried seniors living together are the fastest growing segment of cohabitants in the United States. People don't want to put up with loneliness. They want to live together. But they are likely to remain unmarried to avoid tax issues and inheritance questions.

Joyce Silver and Jesse Koch
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