Zac moved to North Carolina for a medical residency in psychiatry in Summer 2010. “Where are you going to meet Jewish girls?” his mother asked. Zac tried his luck in some local Jewish singles groups, but no one seemed quite right.
Then, in January 2011, Zac joined JDate and was instantly drawn to Ilana. Ilana was also a recent North Carolina transplant, having moved from Philadelphia in order to pursue her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. The thing that drew Zac to Ilana was that she described herself as “quirky” in her bio. Plus, it didn’t hurt that she looked beautiful in her elegant red dress.
Zac instantly knew that this psychology student from up North would one day be his bride. Unfortunately, Ilana was not going to make this easy. As luck (or lack of luck) would have it, Zac initially reached out to Ilana on the exact day that she decided that she needed a break from online dating in order to recharge and focus on her studies. Therefore, she ignored Zac’s first email and then seemingly dropped off the face of the earth (or off JDate at least). She deactivated her account for over a month, only to suddenly rematerialize in February 2011.
Zac, with what was left of his dignity, was still so enamored by Ilana that he decided to reach out to her one more time. She had to respond this time, or at least Zac hoped she would. This time, Ilana was feeling ready to meet her bashert and Zac finally did receive a response! A flurry of emails quickly ensued.
On February 12th, 2011, the pair had their first date at a local Italian restaurant and ended the night playing Scrabble at a bar. Over the following months, Zac and Ilana continued seeing each other, falling in love, and learning more and more about one other. It turned out that Ilana loves not only Italian food, but also the color purple, cooking, and cats. Zac, though originally not the fondest of felines, has now learned that he is a ‘crazy cat lady’ at heart as well. Ilana was quickly enamored by Zac’s intelligence, sense of humor, and by their similar backgrounds and career goals (I mean, how many single, “quirky,” Jewish mental health professionals are there in North Carolina?).
On February 12th, 2012, Zac and Ilana went out for their one-year anniversary. They decided to recreate their first date. They started with Italian food at the same restaurant where they first met. After dinner, they headed to the bar where they had played Scrabble exactly a year before. This time, however, a surprise was waiting! Zac had arranged beforehand with the bar owner to store a special version of Scrabble, which spelled out “Shmoops, I love you! Will you marry me?” Zac brought the Scrabble board out while Bill Withers’ Lovely Day played in the background. Ilana was completely caught off-guard and happily said yes. A little over a year later (on March 2nd, 2013), surrounded by family and friends, the couple got married at the Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia.
The couple has now been happily married for over a year and they continue to fall more in love each day. They are so thankful that JDate (combined with Zac’s persistence) brought them together!
Ilana and Zac
Durham, North Carolina