Matchmaker

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

How Michael Met Alla

07/26/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Alla Bukler, a new Russian immigrant, had been living in St. Louis for about a year with little time to date. She had two jobs and was a single mom to an 11-year old. But her sister saw an advertisement for speed dating sponsored by the Jewish outreach organization Aish Hatorah. “I was reluctant,” says Alla. But she went to “Aish” and has been grateful to her sister ever since.

Michael and Alla Grafman

How Gilad Met Adi

07/02/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Adi Kain, a hip 29 year-old, was not going to wait for a proposal.  She was with the right guy and ready for the relationship to move on.

They met at a fashion event in Tel Aviv. Adi went up to the bar for a drink, and a cute guy started to chat her up. Gilad Carmi worked in high tech and Adi was a project manager for a property development group.

That same evening, Adi received a text message from Gilad. Within days, they had their first date. “It was great,” recalls Adi. “We both love the beach and enjoy good wine. And we talked for hours.”

Adi Kain and Gilad Carmi, married in October.

How Elli Met Atara

06/04/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“I don’t even love to ski,” says New York endocrinologist, Atara Schultz, who met her future husband at a French ski resort. It was the second such trip for her in a program called KeneSki, which is geared to modern Orthodox singles between the ages of 20-35.

Atara Schultz and Elli Fenner, married August 19, 2010.

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
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