Tamar and Avi Gris
In December 2013, Avi’s best friend and his wife set us up. They had been pushing Avi to go out with me for quite a while, but the timing wasn’t right. Avi was coming in from Israel for a few months to open a Los Angeles office for his company and he’d be in New York City, where I was living, for four days. Avi asked his friends to arrange a date with me.
On one of the coldest NYC winter nights, our first date was at a cozy cafe on the Upper West Side. As we talked, he repeatedly said that I had a familiar energy, and that he felt we had met before. I thought he was feeding me lines and I didn’t believe him.
Then he mentioned that, around 2004, he was living in Chicago and working for Colgate-Palmolive, and a lightbulb went off in my head! I had moved back from Israel to Chicago, where I grew up, and had Friday night dinner at a friend’s home.
One of the other guests was this guy sitting next to me. He spent a half hour extolling the benefits of Colgate toothpaste, claiming it was medically proven to be the best toothpaste out there. He was quite charming, and I developed a small crush on him. I switched to Colgate and thought I’d never see him again.
I often advised others to use Colgate because I once met a guy who convinced me that it was the best toothpaste on the market. Then, here he was exactly ten years later, and we were on a date!
At that point, after the realization that we really had met, something special clicked for us, and it was the first sign that this might be bashert. During his trip to NYC, we went out three of the four nights. We had a bicoastal relationship with lots of travel, but we got engaged four months after our first date, and we got married four months after that.
Marcy and Arnie Schneider
My mother always said that she met her future son-in-law when he came to her home in order to pick up another girl for a date!
At Ohio State University in the 1970s, religious life consisted of either the lively guitar-playing Shabbos services at Hillel or Orthodox services at Chabad. I grew up in a Conservative household; however, I opted for Chabad. While attending services there and enjoying wonderful meals, I met a couple of nice girls who eventually became my roommates in an apartment the next year. One of my roommates met Arnie at Chabad and starting dating him. He often came to our apartment, and I enjoyed talking to him while he waited for my roommate to get ready for their date.
Arnie and I both grew up in the Cleveland area. My roommate decided to come to my parents’ house with me during a school break so that she could spend more time with Arnie and also get to meet his mother. That’s how it happened that Arnie came to my parents’ home to pick up my roommate!
Several months later, Arnie and my roommate broke up. The following summer, I was taking classes on campus. Arnie and I just happened to cross paths while walking there, so we stopped and chatted for a while. And then Arnie asked me out.
Fast-forward a few years, and we got married. My former roommate attended our wedding and later, when she got married, we attended hers. This May we’ll have been married 42 years.
Leslee and Pete Morris
In 1981, I met Pete by chance … but I don’t believe in chance. I had moved from the swinging singles scene on Buford Highway to an apartment in Tempo Vista, another complex with many singles, near Beth Jacob. I had decided to keep kosher and observe Shabbat and the Jewish holidays. On my very first Shabbat at BJ, I met Rabbi Eli Seidman at services. Eli and Terri Seidman were a young couple who were spending a year in Atlanta while Eli was interning at a mental health facility.
The Seidmans consistently hosted many singles for Shabbos lunch, and over a period of six months, more than 20 of us were regularly meeting there for meals. Sometimes we stayed at their apartment all day, and sometimes we did some Torah learning. In the Seidmans’ warm environment, Jewish learning was fun, interesting and enriching.
Just three weeks after I moved into the Beth Jacob “hood,” I met Pete, who was being hosted by the Seidmans for Shabbat lunch. On Sunday, a bunch of the singles crowd went to Stone Mountain. On a fateful boat ride, Pete and I “fell in love.” We ended up talking for three hours about our lives, our hopes, our families, our dreams. After that, we knew it was meant to be, and in February of 1982, we were married at Beth Jacob. While Rabbis Ilan and Emmanuel Feldman were under the chuppah with us, Eli Seidman spoke, too. We still have his speech on note cards!
Several other couples met and married as a result of Shabbat with the Seidmans. Some of us remained in Atlanta, while others moved to Baltimore, Israel, California, Savannah and Connecticut. Many of the original singles remain in touch, celebrating simchas together, from the births and weddings of our children to the births of our grandchildren. A few years ago, the Seidmans visited Atlanta, and we had a mini reunion. It was wonderful to reconnect in person.
Gwenn and Orrin Davis
Orrin and I were both students in Chicago. In 1976, I was in pre-pharmacy school at the University of Illinois and Orrin was in med school at Northwestern University.
I was active in Yavneh, a co-ed group that met in each other’s homes on Shabbat. Through Yavneh, Orrin was one of the singles who liked to spend time in my neighborhood, enjoying great Shabbat meals and camaraderie at different welcoming houses. Orrin claims that we first met there.
I was a serious student, living at home, spending most of my time studying. One day, my mother insisted, “You have to go out; you’re studying too much!” I reluctantly agreed, and we went to a play at Northwestern University. The play was awful, and I just wanted to leave. As we were walking through the lobby, I bumped into this fellow with curly black hair and a fisherman’s cap. It was Orrin. He remembered meeting me, but I didn’t remember him. As soon as we started to chat, my parents disappeared into the crowd! However, my mother’s voice rang in my mind, “Be nice. You never know what will happen!” Orrin said, “I’ve been meaning to call you. I’ll call when I get back from [his home in] San Francisco.”
Months went by. During a Shavuot all-night learning program, a lot of singles who knew each other went shul-hopping until around 4 a.m. At the closing program, men and women sat in separate semicircles. All of a sudden, some guy caught my attention and mouthed, “What are you doing Memorial Day?” That was Orrin. We ended up staying and talking; he asked me out, and I accepted. I’m a Midwesterner with an Orthodox Jewish background. Orrin was raised Conservative and had that “California vibe,” but that didn’t seem to be an issue.
Our first date was to the Art Institute in Chicago. I packed a lunch, which included cheesecake, and we spent the whole day together and had dinner together that evening. We started to date in the fall of 1977.
After that, we went out every Saturday night.
I met Orrin when I was 17, and we started to date in 1977. We got engaged in 1979 and married in 1980. During our engagement, my pharmacy school was in a very dangerous neighborhood, and traveling between school and my home in West Rogers Park was especially grueling during the frequent major snowstorms.
I realized that I would have to dorm at school to avoid the long travel time in horrible Chicago winter weather. I had another year of pharmacy school and Orrin had another year of med school to complete, so we agreed on the obvious solution. Orrin already lived downtown near my school, and I like to say that I got married out of convenience, so that we could live downtown, closer to my school.
- STYLE Magazine
- Chana Shapiro
- Simcha Secrets
- Congregation Beth Jacob
- Tamar and Avi Gris
- first date
- Ohio State University
- Upper West Side
- Marcy and Arnie Schneider
- Gwenn and Orrin Davis
- University of Illinois
- Northwestern University
- Art Institute
- West Rogers Park