Matchmaker

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

How John Met Jen

11/05/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

“I had to make sure that she was converting for herself, and not for me,” says John Newmark. Jen says: “I fell in love with both the man and his faith.”

John, a St. Louis grant writer by day, spends much of his free time on penning science fiction and poetry. He performs at poetry slams under the stage name Gavroche. For the constructive criticism and the friendship, he has belonged for more than a decade to WUTA (Writers Under the Arch).

John Newmark and Jen Wallace, married Aug. 22, 2012.

How Mark Met Becky

10/10/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

He’s a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, but still takes orders from his mother.  “Mark,” she said, “You must ask out Becky – she’s Jewish and cute; she’s a physical therapist; and she has dimples.”  How did his mom know about Becky Rosenberg?  “She noticed her on my Facebook page,” replied Mark.

Mark Schwartz and Becky Rosenberg celebrate their first anniversary next month.

How Yishai Met Tal

09/04/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Yishai Fried agrees with the words of author Mark Twain: “There ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”  Yishai fell in love with Tal Pertzelan while they were traveling in Mongolia.

They didn’t come to Mongolia together as a couple.  Yishai, one of those Israelis who travels a lot, had come to Mongolia in May 2008 via the Trans-Siberian Railway. “Though I often travel alone, it’s not really possible in Mongolia,” says Yishai.

Tal and Yishai.

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.
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