A year ago I was engaged to be married, to the completely wrong person. How do I know this? Because now I am engaged to be married, but now to a radically different person – who, believe it or not, is quite right for me.
Destiny? Fate? Luck? Or not…?
Sometime around last December, while in Jerusalem studying at the Ohr Somayach yeshiva, I started using a web site exclusively for single Orthodox Jews called frumster.com. I was curious as to what kind of people could be found using such a web site. As I was extremely lonely at times, it seemed very nice to possibly think about dating, that is, when I would return to the United States. Granted, I did go out on one date with a girl who lived in Jerusalem, but that didn’t work out all that well – she found me to be observant for too short a period of time.
Some time later, I came back to the United States and found myself in the most beautiful city in the world, New York City. I went out with one person for a couple of weeks, but that didn’t work out as we had radically different viewpoints on learning and marriage – though that didn’t come out until after a couple of weeks, strangely enough. I also went out with a few other people, but those were usually one date each type dates. People who fit under this category were the type who were often rather friendly and chatty on the date itself, but then would be rather abrupt afterwards and not really give a reason for a lack of interest. One almost wonders if this was a matter of divine providence. Well, I’m fairly sure it was – it seemed a little sudden that the person that was all for me working full time and learning sometimes would suddenly tell me that they wanted me to learn full time for a couple of years or so.
Right around this period of time, not that I remember it so well, a lovely woman named Julia Leahy contacted me through Frumster and attempted to initiate some sort of dialogue. I, noting that she resided all the way in Adelaide, Australia, thought things had no chance of ever working out and mentioned in my response to her how incredibly far Adelaide was. Of course, if that were the end of the story I wouldn’t have mentioned her name or where she was from.
My Turn to Initiate
At some point I was starting to get sick of the bad results I was getting from searching Frumster with only local residents and so I expanded my search to anywhere in the world – but with very specific search criteria. Whereas my criteria had brought up approximately five people in all of New York City, it brought up about eighty or so in the entire world. One of these people was Julia Leahy, from Adelaide, Australia. I liked the look of her profile and that she mentioned enjoying cooking, reading, and other things. I wrote her a message explaining that I also enjoyed all the activities that she enjoyed, albeit not at the same time as one was likely to harm oneself by doing it that way. She responded in a manner that indicated appreciation of my letter, and a correspondence began.
Correspondence continued until we were suddenly wishing to speak not only by e-mail but also on the phone. Thing is, we really clicked – like I had never clicked with anyone else in my life. I asked her what her opinion on something was and she responded as if she were reading from a text on my opinion on that subject. This happened on numerous occasions, causing me to think that we either had quite a lot in common in terms of interests and opinions of Jewish Law (also known as halacha), or that someone had actually gone and written my biography without my knowing about it. For the most part, one could say that she was fond of the same things I was fond of and disliked most of the same things that I disliked. A good sign indeed.
Things further escalated when, knowing already that Julia wouldn’t object to living in the United States (specifically in New York), we discussed her visiting me to see if things would work out in a more serious manner. By more serious I mean in the context of marriage. She would meet up with my rabbi in Boro Park, I would talk with her father and rabbi in Adelaide, and we would meet frequently in person to see if we had the same chemistry there that we did on the phone and by e-mail. To have chemistry in person is not at all the same as to have it by e-mail or phone, after all.
It was initially suggested that she would come over in October. Ah, how happy I am indeed that we moved that further back. As we continued to talk on the phone and by e-mail, we realized that this really did seem right. We talked a lot about a hypothetical breaking of the glass (done at weddings to remember the destruction of the Temple) although in my heart it felt as though it surely would happen. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, she had the tickets and things were set. The countdown began – literally. I had a countdown page set up to eagerly await her arrival. Weeks flew by and before I knew it the day came that she was to come.
I didn’t meet her at the airport – as romantic as that sounds, bear in mind that she and her mother flew 20 hours to get to L.A., then a few hours the next day to get to New York. One must take some time to “put on a face” so to speak. We met in her hotel lobby, and I proceeded to take her to Josh’s Place, a wonderful diner type place on Broadway which has nice drinks and food. I knew from the millisecond I saw her that this was really it, this was what twenty-four years of aggravation and heartbreak had led up to – the other part of me, as it were, my soul mate.
Since Julia has arrived, we have spent much time together, and in the proper setting, I did propose to her. And yes, she said yes. All of this means that on October 13, 2002 I will be a married man – G-d willing, of course. A happy, married, man.