It all began with a hairless, ultra-marathon-running, raw vegan. Not me… or I’d probably still be single! I was 26 years old and Judaism wasn’t exactly my top priority at the time. Fresh off a long-term relationship with a non-member of the tribe, my running pal and training partner (our aforementioned character) gifted me a book titled Why Marry Jewish? At first, I found it to be a bit absurd, as I could barely even be considered a “High Holiday Jew.” But as I leafed through chapter after chapter, it dawned on me how important Judaism was to me in a cultural and traditional sense. My sense of humor, group of friends and many other facets of life were inextricably tied to my identity as a Jew.
So what does any normal twenty-something do upon being thoroughly persuaded (what makes this night different from all others)? I signed up for JDate, of course! There were some good dates, there were some bad dates… but the date that revealed the love of my life was destined to take place quite late on the night of January 13th, 2009. After some wild partying on New Year’s Eve, I woke up with a slightly throbbing headache and zero desire to brave the frigid winter weather. I logged onto JDate and started chatting with a beautiful Canadian girl who was in Florida at the time. She was nursing a hangover and we both exchanged war stories about the last night’s various partying debacles. A half hour soon became an hour, then two, and before we knew it, most of the day had flown by. The conversation flowed and she seemed to like my jokes, which is without a doubt the key to my heart. Over the next week, we kept chatting every day and escalated this long-distance relationship to Skype.
Elisa had landed an internship for a PR agency in Manhattan and was fulfilling her lifelong dream of moving to the big city. She had lived in the same house all her life in Montreal and was ready for a change of pace, and wanted to meet some new people through JDate; in fact, our opening chat was during her first few hours logged onto the site. As they say, timing is everything in life!
Back to that first date, the excitement was palpable to finally be meeting after nearly two weeks of daily phone and computer chats. I brought a wallet-sized subway map and a local’s guide to restaurants and bars as gifts for the recent transplant. She continued to laugh at my various zingers and was even impressed by my magic tricks (I’m a professional mentalist, go figure). Elisa held her own, won me over in a big way and kept me on my toes… literally, as she confirmed that I had rounded up to the nearest inch on my JDate height profile (standard operating procedure for us average height Jews). That night set our lives in motion: there were ups and downs in the future, as there always are; I had quite a bit of maturing to do, but we fell deeply in love.
Fast-forward two and a half years to sunny San Diego, California. Deception is the name of the game and what pays my bills, so you better believe I had a few tricks lined up when popping the question. For several months leading up to the proposal, I kept Elisa in the dark, going so far as to make her think our relationship was a little rocky. All is fair in love and war, and it made the surprise to come all the more memorable. I flew out to Southern California, unbeknownst to her, and waited for her to arrive later that day for a business trip. She ordered room service at her hotel and I showed up instead, on one knee, with a ring, asking for her hand in marriage. A year later and that beautiful Canadian girl I loved chatting with on JDate became my wife!
Far be it for me to proselytize or tell others how to live their life, but I can’t thank JDate enough for helping me find such happiness. Whether you are lighting Shabbos candles and hitting the Shul every week, or just love a bowl of matzoh ball soup while watching Seinfeld, there is something to be said for the bond we Jews share with one another. I will continue to sing JDate’s praises and feel lucky that it allowed me to find such an amazing woman!
Elisa and Oz
New York, New York