It didn’t take long for Malka Deutsch and Cameron Isen to realize they were meant for one another — once they finally met in person. As it happened, this in-person meeting took under two months.
Malka, one of Rabbi Menachem and Dena Deutsch’s nine children, was a talented and easily identifiable Atlantan who got around town on her bright green moped. After graduating from Temima High School, she spent two years in Israel, and subsequently earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the State University of New York’s (SUNY) Empire State College online. At the same time, she assisted her father in his work and travels for Olami, a worldwide outreach organization for college students and young professionals.
Malka grew up in a welcoming Orthodox home of joy and learning. Rabbi Deutsch, a graduate of the Ner Yisrael Yeshiva in Baltimore, came to Atlanta as the founding director of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel. Malka’s mother, Dena, a programmer, models non-judgmental concern for all Jews, in deed as well as in word.
While traveling, working and studying, Malka had been on a few arranged dates, but had not met anyone she considered to be her bashert, or destined partner. Her father, however, was already on the case. From a friend and colleague, Rabbi Beryl Gershenfeld, the director or rosh yeshiva of Machon Yaakov Yeshiva in Israel, Rabbi Deutsch heard about a young man he was encouraged to introduce to Malka. He maintained interest in the prospective match for the next two years.
That young man was Cameron Isen. During those two years, Cameron was on what he describes as “a journey of personal development.” He was not yet ready to start dating.
A native of Philadelphia, Cameron had grown up with two siblings in a secular household. He was a serious high school hockey player, and attended Dartmouth College for two years, during which he began to consider whether he was living a meaningful life. Cameron describes his multi-year quest as “seeking a balanced, thoughtful, nuanced vision of life that traditional Judaism offers.”
He traveled to Israel, where he studied at Machon Yaakov, Rabbi Gershenfeld’s yeshiva. When he returned to the U.S., Cameron enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with a degree in classics, while at the same time studying at the Philadelphia Yeshiva. After graduating, Cameron moved to Baltimore, where he entered the renowned Ner Yisrael Yeshiva, known for serious Talmudic studies and community leadership and outreach.
Once he was ready to start dating, with the encouragement of Rabbi Gershenfeld and following one brief meeting with Rabbi Deutsch, Cameron conferred with Rabbi Aaron Feldman, the rosh yeshiva of Ner Yisrael. Rabbi Aaron (the uncle of Congregation Beth Jacob’s Rabbi Ilan D. Feldman) knows the Atlanta community well, including the Deutsch family. All roads led to Malka.
“In fewer than 24 hours, I was on a plane to Atlanta!” Cameron declares. “I had been committed to my studies for two years, and I was ready to meet Malka. I hadn’t even seen her picture, but I knew about her and her wonderful family, and I believed we had similar ideals.”
On May 10, Cameron and Malka met in Atlanta. They spent the next three days getting to know one another, visiting parks and other sites. Over the next six weeks, they took turns visiting each other in Atlanta and Baltimore. On Malka’s third trip, she met Cameron’s parents, Lorna and Jonathan Isen. The intense travel culminated on June 20, when Cameron proposed. “I expected it, but wasn’t sure when it would happen,” Malka says.
Cameron came prepared with a diamond bracelet, anticipating a response in the affirmative, and he received it. The couple chose an engagement ring together from a family friend’s jeweler in New York.
In traditional Jewish families, the engaged couple spends the week before their wedding apart, creating a respite from in-person wedding-related stressors. During that week, Malka and her younger sister, Tsipora, who enjoy traveling together, shared — in Malka’s words — “one last hurrah,” with a three-day trip to the Virgin Islands befitting Malka’s wanderlust, which has drawn her to visit all fifty states and many foreign countries.
The wedding, organized by wedding planner Martine Gershon, took place on Aug. 16 at Congregation Beth Jacob. Following the ceremony, several hundred guests were treated to an open buffet by Avenue K caterers. Then the celebration heated up with hours of nonstop, exuberant “simcha dancing.” The couple and their parents were entertained with stunts and acrobatics by cavorting family and friends.
After Sukkot, the newlyweds will head to Israel, where Malka plans to work, and Cameron will study at the esteemed Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem — the largest yeshiva in the world — with more than 9,000 students. They will live in nearby Ramat Eshkol, a community with many young couples.
When asked about their future plans, their response was not about specific vocation or location. “We’re both passionate about the ideals of Judaism, and we want to imbue everything we do in life with idealism and meaning,” they agreed. Cameron will be at the Mir for a few years, Malka says. “Going to the Mir and living in Israel was her idea!” Cameron adds, appreciatively, “She brought it up first!”
- STYLE Magazine
- Chana Shapiro
- Rabbi Menachem
- Dena Deutsch
- Malka Deutsch
- Cameron Isen
- Temima High School
- State University of New York’s (SUNY) Empire State College
- college students
- young professionals
- Rabbi Deutsch
- Atlanta Scholars Kollel
- Dartmouth College
- University of Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia Yeshiva
- Ner Yisrael Yeshiva
- Rabbi Beryl Gershenfeld
- Machon Yaakov Yeshiva
- Talmudic studies
- community leadership
- Rabbi Aaron Feldman
- Congregation Beth Jacob
- Lorna Isen
- Jonathan Isen
- Tsipora Deutsch
- Virgin Islands
- Martine Gershon
- Avenue K caterers
- Mir Yeshiva
- Ramat Eshkol