I’m Engaged! (And other learning and life updates)

How’s that for an excuse not to have blogged for a while?

It’s been very difficult to exclude the romantic side of my life from the blog, but it’s been important to me.  Why?  Well, I don’t really think I’d enjoy my other half publicly sharing his love life.

I feel duty-bound to explain how we met though.  Frustrated by the “singles scene” or the Bitza in Jerusalem and the lack of matches coming in from my networks, I decided to give the ol’ online dating thing another try.  I recently searched my inbox again for my login information, and I found a March 18 e-mail that I sent to myself of a post from a Nefesh B’ Nefesh listserv for new immigrants.  The post was a plug for MyJewishMatches.com, a new, FREE dating website.  At that price, what the heck, right?

I filled out the description fields but didn’t bother loading a photo.  I didn’t like any recent ones and I wasn’t expecting much.  There was hardly anyone else on the site (the founder, Michael Edelstein told me I was #73 to join).  I did notice some other photo-less match in my area.  But I wasn’t sure about him.

A few days later, he sent me a “Wink” and I sent a note.  The rest is history.

It makes perfect sense in my mind.  We’re both computer people, so it’s only logical that we would meet online.  Since he’s serving in the army, how else was I supposed to meet him?  I think many people want to know: How can I meet “the one”?  Of course, if I had the answer, I’d be on “Oprah” by now, but here is the advice that worked for me.

  1. Pray.  It’s really not up to you.  Explain to Hashem what you want and what you are looking for.  Pray for others too.
  2. Okay, a little bit is up to you.  If you want to get married, act like you want to get married.  A rabbi I learned from said that the greatest segulah for getting married is to go on dates.  Don’t go out with just anyone, but don’t be too picky either.  I’d err on the side of being less picky.
  3. Number Two also means get over yourself.  If you were looking for a job, I’d say mention it to everyone you know.  If you’re looking for a husband or a wife, don’t mention it to everyone you know, but when you’re having a conversation with friends, Shabbat hosts, and teachers, if they’re not already bugging you about it, bring it up.  There is no shame in going after what you want.
  4. Know what you want.  There is the concept of the “elevator pitch” for explaining what your business is in 30 seconds.  Be able to explain what you are looking for in 30 seconds.  This requires some digging and probably some bad dating experiences.  Sorry.
  5. Have faith.  All circumstances in life can change in an instant.  Really.

Despite a lot of difficulties I’ve faced in the past few weeks with the Israeli medical system and bureaucracy and general longing for U.S.-style customer service, I can feel pretty confident now that I made the right choice in moving here.  We’re all in the right place at the right time.  Sometimes that is more apparent than others.

It’s not always easy being far from family.  My parents have never met my fianceé in person (yay for Skype though).  I just became an aunt to a beautiful little boy.  These realities are tough.  I hope that the future I’ll be able to build for my children here will be worth it.

Hey, but this is a Torah blog, right?  To that end, I dropped a Gemara class when it was on break for the High Holidays because I realized that while it improved my text skills a bit, become a Talmudist was not my highest priority and that I needed something a bit more accessible and uplifting to get me through the week than legal technicalities written in aramaic for a court system that is no longer existing.  This is big for me.  I don’t like giving up.

Last week I began an educational program called Ayeka which seeks to answer “Where are you?” or more specifically, where is the relationship between you and Gd?  It dovetails really nicely with some self-help book reading and personal work I’ve been doing on my own.  The first exercise was to describe a “spiritual experience”.  For most of my life, “spirituality” seemed like a dirty word.  It took just a minute to think of one though.  My first time, if you will.  I went down to the Kotel with a birthright group and was blown away by the energy I felt.  A connection I had been missing.

This afternoon I rode my bike to and even into (!) the Old City.  When it’s in your backyard, you just don’t go so often, and I was due for a visit.  I’ve been asked recently why I can’t just find a nice Jewish community to live in in the United States.  That’s why.  When I leave Israel, it’s like a fish being pulled out of a tank.  I remembered as I looked around the Old City and saw the tourists, heard the muezzin and saw children dressed unmistakably Jewish that this is home.

Not being one to divorce myself from text study entirely while tapping into the “spirituality” I’m not as comfortable with, I thought that learning something with my fianceé would be a really nice thing for us to share.  We are studying Sefer HaMitzvot, which goes through the Torah and delineates each one of the 613 commandments.  A lot of times it seems to say “See Talmud.”  Turns out those Gemara text skills really come in handy in order to truly master a set of Jewish law.


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Ilene Rosenblum is a writer and marketing professional living in Jerusalem.

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