Erika’s story: I was 15, back in 1991, when my parents decided to move our family, on Aliya, to Israel…In my 8 years of living in Israel, I never became entirely “Israeli-ized”. This made finding “the-right-one” difficult…. Sometime in 1998, I discovered JDate.com. I filled out a questionnaire and sent in a few photos. I received about 15-20 letters a week from various members around the world…
In November 1999, I received my first e- mail from David, in Karratha, Australia….David, originally from Perth, grew up in a small Jewish community…After graduating from UWA with degrees in law and finance, he became part of a graduate program with a large oil company. After nearly 2½ years with the company, David was selected to spend 6 months out in the bush. With a Jewish population of about 2, the dating scene had just gotten worse for him!
Something in David’s e-mail sparked my interest. His love of Israel, his strong loyalty and devotion to his friends, and his determination and strength to observe Shabbat and Kashrut in a city without Jews, let alone a synagogue! We continued to correspond.
In January 2000, things got more serious…. We moved onto the phone. Our first conversation took place on a Saturday night. We spoke for 3 hours! He began calling me every other day, each time we’d talk for 2-3 hours…We spoke about everything, about our families and friends, our beliefs, our goals, our lives… I found myself opening up more than I ever had to a man… and I had never even met him in person!
Our friendship grew and so did our curiosity. Would the intellectual attraction extend to the physical? We had both seen photos, but would it be the same in real life? David had plans to come to Israel in August for a friend’s wedding. He asked me if I could wait that long. Would I stop dating other guys until we met and had given each other a fair chance? Of course, I liked David a lot, but at the time he was still a guy on the phone thousands of miles away, in another country! My family and closest friends knew little of the correspondence, but how much could I truly reveal? Wasn’t it completely crazy to have a virtual boyfriend?…I told David that I could not wait.
April 11th, 2000, David’s plane landed in Ben Gurion Airport. I was supposed to be there to greet him. A major Israeli ball game had caused appalling traffic from Ashdod to Haifa and I was over an hour late! As I walked through the sliding glass doors of the terminal, I saw the 6’2, trim man with the straight hair and blue eyes. Our eyes met. We knew each other instantly. We said our hellos and hugged. After the 24-hour flight from Australia, poor David was very tired. I bought 2 vanilla coffees at Yotvata and we sat down. We talked. The chemistry was still there. We now had 3 weeks to see where it would take us.
From that day forward, we were pretty much inseparable….
Each day was precious and love was growing between us. But, we couldn’t avoid the inevitable – David had another 8 months to go on his work contract and I another month before graduating. With half a world in-between, where would all of this love and compatibility get us?
April 23rd, 2000, David made a call to his parents and informed them of his decision to make Aliya… his mother sobbed, his sister shrieked, and his father gave his instant blessing. After he hung up the phone, David turned to me and asked me to marry him.
David called his family again …his mother had accepted the idea of her only son making Aliya and was ready for the next shock – her intelligent and vigilant son had just become engaged to a girl he’d met a week and a half ago!
As I sit here, documenting our romantic story, it is hard for me to believe that fairytales like this really do happen! I am now here, in Perth, Australia, with David and his family. Our engagement party is to be held August 27th. David and I will return to Israel together, this October. My parents have booked a hall in Beer Sheva, Israel for our wedding, which will be the first night of Chanukah, December 21st, 2000.
Erika & David
Israel and Australia