People Who Wait For G-d’s Timing are Never Sorry They Did

22 Jul

Some people find chizuk from dating gurus– I found mine from a Devout Christian living in Southeast Asia:

Personally, I think I have the perfect wife, the best I could have ever found. My mother once told me I could have searched the world over and not found a better wife than Diane. When your mother talks like that you know you have found someone quite special. Obviously, I agree.

But is Diane the only woman I could have married who would have been a good choice for me? Am I the only man in the world who was “the choice” for her? If so, what would have happened if one of us had resisted God’s will to marry the other? Think about where that kind of reasoning leads you and you will soon realize that there must be a better way to understand the will of the Lord concerning the person we choose to marry…



To continue reading this incredibly insightful article by Mike Constantine, follow the link below. I know this piece has brought me, and continues to bring me, a sense of peace and trust in myself, in Hashem and in the possibility of finding “the best possible person” to be my husband and becoming the “best possible person” for him too. I hope by sharing it that others can find additional chizuk as well.

Quote for Thought: Gone is Gone

28 Dec

If you’re missing me, I want you to know that I am not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lovely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours but they don’t come back. Just think how awful it would be if they did. You don’t need me now. You’re…old enough to get busy at growing up to be the person you want to be.

— Ole Golly, Harriet the Spy

Isn’t it amazing how children’s literature has some of the best mind fodder out there? It amazes me. Why perilously pour over the complexities of Homer or the woefulness of Hawthorne if you can get solid, applicable advice from Harriet the Spy? Just saying.

And it is from Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy that I bring to you an outstanding piece of chizuk. The above quote is what I think should be the experienced dater’s creed. For those of us who haven’t found the RD in the first, second, third (fourth, fifth…must I go on?) person we’ve dated, the whole experience can be a bit disheartening at times. It’s not even the one-and-dones that are bothersome, or even the two-and-dones. Some matches are just not meant to be. However, once you’ve gone out a few more times than that…you start to get to know the person, you let them get to know you and even have a few inside jokes…you start hoping for the best. And whether it’s you who ends it or them, there is disappointment involved. The broken-up-with is left hurt and the break-upper is left with the guilt of causing that hurt (and will always have to live with the knowledge that they ended the relationship). No one wins, my friends. Not in the short-term.

But in the long-term, you have to believe that you are a winner. You formed a relationship with that person for a reason. It may not be clear why right away, but you must believe that it started and ended for the best. In the above quote, Ole Golly, Harriet’s most trusted confidante and nanny since her birth, tells her the hardest thing a person could hear: I’m not missing you. Despite the numerous, incalculable days they spent together, their time is up. Those days are gone. Gone is gone. The relationship will never be the same and that is just the way it is.

The memories though…those remain. Ole Golly guards them and loves them but does not get in them and lie down. Memories of a past relationship can be remembered fondly. They can be retrieved with esteem and admiration, but they won’t bring the relationship back. The relationship is over for a reason, though you may not understand why. The bottom line is, that person realized that thy don’t need you now–and you don’t need them. Whether intentionally or not, they freed you to be the person you want to be, whom you will be able to be with your RD, please G-d.

So my fellow RD Searchers, do not fret. Don’t let lovely memories become catalysts of sorrow. Appreciate them for what they are. Take them out every once in a while, smile with them and then put them away. G-d gave you that experience for a certain amount of time because that is all you needed. Now He’s giving you the opportunity to learn from them, grow some more and make yourself ready for the next person. No one is perfect. No relationship is perfect, but bhsaa tova, Hashem will bring you to the person who will mutually feel that a life together is perfect in a way that the dictionary definition of perfection could never defend.


7 Dec

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve made mistakes.

Too hasty of a decision.

Too quick of a judgement.

In hindsight, it’s all too easy to heap the blame–

On myself.

To say I wasn’t patient enough.

Wasn’t wise enough.

Wasn’t ready enough.

But there’s nothing I can do at this point except learn,

And relearn.

And accept, “Till this moment, I never knew myself.”

The Best Part: Chapter 2

6 Oct

“It took a long time for you to notice me,” Shmu teased his new fiancée as they strolled down to the Western Wall. “There were times I was sure I had not a measly chance of  capturing your attention.”

“I thought we already had this discussion,” Shifra sighed. “I noticed you first, but I was sure you thought I was a total ditz…”

Shifra was proving herself to be a master USBG advisor. No longer than three hours into the night, she and her USBGer, Libby, were best buds. She even convinced Libby to take a part in one of the skits– something that Libby never really did allegedly.

Yup, I’m in my element. Shifra prodded her pride. And the fact that there are eligible bachelors present is even better.

There was no beating around the bush– Shifra was looking for Mr. Right. Though seminary had praised and lauded the formal shidduch system, she had her own ideas of how she was going to meet the One. Simply going on a blind date was nowhere near the wondrous epic she had in mind for her love story. In her 19-year old head there was no way she could choose a life partner in such a dry and predictable way. It had to be a surprise. That way there’d be no doubt that it was Hashem that brought them together.

Despite her lofty labyrinth of dreams, she understood that she had to do something to meet Mr. Right, so she put herself in the “right” place and started scouting out potentials. The choices were overwhelming. Guys from New York, LA, Chicago and Miami were all under the same roof, dedicated to the same cause. There were even guys from other countries–besides Canada! 

Blithely bouncing from her felicity, she barely saved herself from smashing into her carpool companion from earlier that day as he brought a tray of fully dressed chickens from the kitchen. 

“Whoa! Sorry, Shmu.” She offered her apologies instantaneously. 

He gave her nothing more than an uncomfortable glance then continued on to the dining area.

Shifra shrugged, then headed back to her table full of USBGers. Yet when she got there she was surprised to find only two of them. Sigh. Another bathroom trip? 

“Hey girlies!!!” She sang as she swung the door open. “I miss you out there!

They responded in giggle and gaggles and a few OMGs, but eventually they agreed to get back out there and finish their soup before it got cold.

“Wait!” one girl exclaimed before the pack made their exit, “You gotta fix your skirt, Shifra. It stuck in your tights.”

Her skirt and confidence were pulled down in the same sharp pull. If her skirt was sticking out in the bathroom, it must have been greeting the world before when she was in the hallway. In front of everybody.

It’s a good thing that I caught it before you left the bathroom!”

Shifra gave her biggest smile, hoping it would cover up the red in her cheeks. Now she understood the look Shmu gave her. Oh man…, she paled, cross that one off my list of potentials. She had never been so embarrassed in her life. How could she ever face him again knowing that he could’ve seen such an atrocious sight? Would she be able to talk to him normally? Would he look at her normally? The best and only solution was to stay out of his way as much as possible. Right then and there she knew that she wasn’t going to get to know Shmu Warren. 

Shmu never noticed.


The Spark

26 Sep

All my life, I have had the felicitous impression of marriage thanks to my parents. I’ve heard the story of how they met, how it kind of just happened. They met through a friend, my father ‘just knew’ and a year down the line they were on their way to matrimonial happiness. Now, I know my parents didn’t live in a fairy tale world. Like other couples they had to put in quality/quantity time. I grew up knowing that their time together was important; that their relationship with each is important and is the reason I grew up in a home of shalom. But now that it’s my turn to go looking for my partner in life, I have to realize that not all people have their zivug pop into their lives one day. Some people have to go looking for their match. Some people don’t have the Spark instantaneously.

The Spark.

That gosh-forsaken-trouble-making-twinkle-in-your-eye-for-a-mere-second Spark.

You can have everything in the world in common with the person sipping a Caramel Macchiato  across from you. You can jive well and be going in the same direction and laugh at each others jokes…but the spark aint there. Is that a reason to amiably part ways or does it pay to keep going out?

On the other hand, there are times when the Spark is there immediately. You feel like you’ve met the last person you’ll ever have to date; you’re sailing through the effervescence of silly little love songs. There’s no slowing you down…until you do. Wait, s/he wears Velcro shoes? Outside? S/he could care less about the effects of Obamacare? Suddenly you’re not so sure anymore. Spark shmark. It would’ve been nice to have known each other on a more casual level before lallygagging into Disney World together.

So you see, I don’t know how I feel about the spark. Is it something caused by our preconceived notions of what is best for us or is it something inexplicably real? Is it something to be trusted or something that should be considered a sweet bonus if found?


Why Racquetball Rocks

9 Sep

10) You get to wear goggles

9) You get to use a racquet

8 ) You get to hit a little blue ball as hard as you can

7) This is a great way to relieve stress

6) Racquetball courts eerily resemble the “Wonkavision” room 

5) It is really hard to lose the ball when you are locked in from every angle

4) It is one of the few activities I am ambidextrous in (I can also write on a chalk board with both hands)

3) Aim is not of utmost importance

2) Everybody has their space (which is really handy when you are an observant girl in a secular college)

1) Ducking flying objects becomes a sixth sense

I Have a Confession to Make…

6 Sep

Okay, I know this might seem shocking so if you don’t take change well, you might have to sit down.

With a seat belt.

Though the entire premise of this blog has been about dating in the Jewish world, I have come to the realization that I just don’t have enough to say about dating to replenish this virtual sound board on a regular basis. Sure, some bloggers can do it but conclusively, I am not one of those.

I still have a lot to say though:

As an ambitious Jewish educator and college student, there is plenty to say on education from pre-K to college.

As a Diaspora Jew, there is a plethora of stories to be told about the trials and triumphs of Am Yisrael in exile.

As a frequent flyer to the Holy Land, I have what to say about Israel, the State and its importance.

And over of course, I still have what to say about the searching for the Real Deal.

P.S. I will continue with The Best Part…so stay tuned!

The Summer of Almost-Dates

2 Sep

Each summer comes with its own theme. Well, at least in my life they do. This happened to be a particularly eventful one, as I split it between New York City and various cities in Israel. My overall theme would definitely have to be adventure. Every day brought something I did not expect, from bumping into my all-time favorite rebbi, Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet (!!!!) to watching a shooting star fly across the heavens…no wait, that was the Israeli air force…same difference 🙂

And under that main theme of adventure falls the sub-theme of the almost-date. I experienced this awkward yet entertaining phenomenon more times than I thought possible. This is because I was Divinely put into the most unique of situations, all of which I proceeded with as casually as possible. Was I hoping to get at least one standard, traditional date over the summer? Sort of. With a schedule as hectic as mine was, I understood that dating would likely take a two month hiatus, but I always keep my mind open. Look, if Mr. Right wants to make his grand appearance as I’m heaving a 5-gallon jerrican up the side of a mountain, that’s not my judgement to make. He can come whenever he darn well feels like it as long as he realizes that he might find me  footloose and fancy free, lip syncing to a Miley Cyrus song. It’s better that he knows what he’s getting himself into from the get-go anyway.

I thought I had been exposed to every kind of date there was, but that sure did change this summer. I experienced, and witnessed some unconventional tete-a-tetes which I will now officially categorize as Almost-Dates. If an outsider were to see this happening, they very well could surmise, “they’re on a date,” but in reality that is not the case.

For example:

The Ambiguous Hangout Date: What is this exactly? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it is when neither party is 100% sure of the other person’s motive, but they are almost sure they know. But not quite sure.  For example, Guy asks Girl out on a whim. They’ve known each other for a while but never really spoke much. Now, Girl isn’t sure if he is really asking her out because he’s leaving for a semester abroad in Singapore the next day. Guy also never showed a particular interest in her and not because he doesn’t socialize with girls or is cripplingly shy. Neither is true, so Girl does not know what his intentions are. He brought food for them to share but he didn’t give the traditional date gesture of offering to buy a coffee. She excitedly accepted his offer to spend the afternoon together, but she didn’t seem too enthused when he played her favorite song on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz.  The day could have been the start of something new, but both their hesitancy to ask, “what exactly is this” kinda left everything sort of  hazy. Whoops.

The Backwards Date: It starts out in the most ordinary of ways. A family friend has a marvelous idea to set up the children of two of her most beloved friends. The hashkafas match up, the goals in life are aligned and let’s face it, they’re both drop dead gorgeous. So the match is rhedt right away! Ah, yes! Girls is so excited! Finally a boy who sounds like an actual mensch. He learns Torah and does mitzvos, and attends Princeton Law School in between. Beautiful. There is just one little detail that makes this scenario radically different from the typical date– Girl has to meet the entire family first. It’s wonderful. They wine her and dine her, and the amazing bachur-of-her-dreams is sitting right across from her–but so is Mom, Dad and his three sisters. Look, if that is what it takes these days to get a good guy from a good family, I won’t object. I mean, think of the positive. You get the nerve wracking meet-the-family part out of the way, right away. There is no wondering if you’ll get along with your mother-in-law. You’ll already be BFFs by the time you get engaged. Really, it’s not as strange as it sounds…but it doesn’t quite qualify as a date.

Deja vu Date: The reason it feels like this date happened before is because it did. Yup, Guy and Girl who once went out end up spending  X amount of time together for no other reason than because. Because? Yes, just because. G-d runs this world and there is no way of knowing who you will run into and how many times. It’s not a date but it can sure make Guy and Girl wonder if they should be one one.

You know what I’ve learned this summer? That there are many, many ways to find one’s RD. G-d is the Ultimate shadchan. He’s the one Who calls the shots. Very rarely does He send a list of people to a shidduch-searching Yid and tell him, “pssst! It’s one of these ones!!!” No, for many of us, it comes through subtle heavenly hints and trusting one’s gut. Not knowing who your RD is can be frustrating, but as you continue on the search, just remember the lesson of the Almost-Date: sometimes Hashem brings the most precious gifts into our lives when we least expect them.

How to be Single

31 Aug

There seems to be a very distinct issue in the Orthodox community with being single. I get it. I too want to have a home of my own according to Torah and Halacha, but right now I don’t have that. I don’t have a husband, I don’t have a boyfriend, heck, I don’t have a date for Labor Day Weekend. At this moment none of that is part of my reality. Tomorrow may very well hold a different reality, or the next day or the next…but until that day, I have to keep living my life as a single person. There are two ways I can do this:

1) Be happy with myself and my life

2) or not.

There is no question that many, if not all of us in search of the Real Deal, are taking every measure possible to find that special someone. Whether it be networking, making the time to date or seriously considering whether the person across the table is someone we can build a home with, each of us are taking the steps to get married. However, for those of us who do not have someone yet, there is no reason to be down in the dumps. Is it okay to get frustrated from time to time? Yes. There is no doubt that this can be a frustrating experience at times. But in the mean time, recognize the gifts of singlehood. G-d gives us each stage of life with a reason. Being single has its perks! And though you may long to have the comfort of having a full-time side kick and partner-in-life, enjoy being yourself as an individual. If you don’t enjoy yourself as an individual, it will be that much more difficult for someone to enjoy your company.  So…

A) Pursue Your Interests: Be ambitious. Don’t be afraid to do something with your life because it might get in the way of marriage. If you don’t have the need to achieve, that’s okay. Not everyone has the desire to be the most competitive, top-notch contender in their field. But choose something you like; something that you find meaningful. People like people who are passionate about life. One of the most intriguing people I ever met was an insurance agent. Why? Because he spoke about his job with excitement, humor and a sense of importance. Which leads me to…

B) Be Jessica: And by that I mean be excited about what you have. If the mirror thing is too much for you then mention a few ‘thank you’s to Hashem before ending Shmona Esrei or make yourself a list. Personally, I find myself quite entertaining.

C) Be Confidant: Let’s break this down into very simple concepts. You only live once. You only get to be yourself. One day, please G-d after 120, you will kick the bucket and be dead. So enjoy being yourself. Know your beliefs and live them with conviction. No one wants a wimpy neb who doesn’t see the good in themselves. So if you keep complaining about being single, chances are you will give off the above impression. Learn to love yourself and others will love you naturally.

D) Eat Ice Cream: Not because you are depressed, but because you can still afford it! Once you get married you have to start being economic, you know, for the sake of paying rent, car/commuting costs, health insurance, college loan payments, food bills…all very good things but things that put “weekly run to Baskin Robbins” at the very bottom of the list.

E) Have Sleepovers with your Galpals: I think that is what I will miss the most when I get married. No one understands the thrill of watching Newsies like my girls do.

F) Stay Off of Facebook: The overwhelming and most common message that people extract from Facebook is that everyone else is having more fun than you. This is true. They are out living their lives and you are watching them live their lives. I am not against Facebook. It can be a handy tool, especially for those of us involved in outreach, but don’t let it be more than that. Have sincere, genuine conversations with other people. Remember what it’s like to dial the phone and hear a voice on the other line. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in the elevator. Put your social efforts outwards into the world rather than inward toward your smartphones and iPads.

G) Be Social: Now is the time to meet new people, go new places, visit various communities. Unless you are marrying the traveling rabbi type, you ain’t gonna have time for this later. Working, planning and socializing with new people might give you a new perspective on who you are and what you want to do with your life. Enjoy their company and presence. Enjoy being a smiley, happy, flirty-face if that’s the way you roll. Whoever you are, just be yourself, your best self because marriage isn’t the magic wand that makes you happy– you are.

The Best Part: Chapter 1

3 Jul

Looking back, it all made sense. All the events that lead up to this moment and all the crazy “coincidences” that had to take place. Who could have guessed it? But as they stood yards away from the Kotel, there was no question to be asked. This was bashert. This was what had been worth the wait all along:

It all began at a USBG shabbaton…

It was Shifra’s very first. With home being six hours away, she knew she has to find something consistent to do with her shabbatot. Pittsburgh wasn’t much of a party anyway. Besides, it was finally her turn to be a USBG advisor. Throughout high school, she just knew that one day, she’d be the one leading circles and midnight DMCs. She wasn’t all that involved back then- she went to the occasional event when it came to her community- but somehow she knew that this is something she was meant to be a part of. 

Her wistful dreams abruptly melded with reality as her arms were stuffed with information packets, a community map, a plastic poncho and a candy dish for the hosts. An advisor meeting was quickly assembled. Ice breakers were strategically put in place, with favorite flavors of ice cream and comic book heroes ricocheting from all ends of the circle. Predictions of the next day’s weather forecast were exchanged from person to person as rides to host’s homes were quickly dosed out.

“I’ve got room in my car for one more!” a blond-haired, Lacoste kippa-ed guy called to the crowd.

“I’ll take it!” Shifra responded. She quickly grabbed her trusty rolley suitcase and hanging clothes. She had been meaning to get a garment bag since moving to the city, but never got around to it. Hopefully the local pigeons didn’t have anything too pungent for lunch that day.

Shmu had been waiting in the car for quite some time now. As a chapter advisor, he did not have the privilege of having USBGers that weekend, though generally they never had enough guy staff to man the ground. 

“Alrighty we’re ready to rumble!” Dovid cheered as he clicked himself into the driver’s seat. “Tell me where you’re supposed to be headed and Sally will take us there.”

“You mean to tell me that having gone to school here for four years didn’t familiarize you with the area?” Shmu gaped with mocked disdain. 

“Look buddy, that’s better than you can say. You don’t even know what side of the road to drive on.”

“I could easily say the same about you,” Shmu smirked.

“Not in this country. Oh, move your knapsack over. We’ve got another advisor coming in coche de Dovid. “

Just as Shmu lifted his bag from the vacant seat, a wad of black, grays and purple whizzed onto it. 

“Sorry,” the owner apologized, “I have to put my luggage in the trunk, I’ll move that in one second.”

Luggage? What would it take to convince a girl that all she really needed for a day and a half can be stored in a good ol’ fashioned Jansport? Or an Eastport. Or whatever -port did not require wheels and a handle.

A moment later, Freida Lappin, director of the NY USBG division took her spot in the front passenger seat. She was completely zoned into her cell phone; working out last-minute catering catastrophes before sundown. Shmu was hoping she’d be available to talk since he had no idea what was expected of him this shabbos. He took this job out of curiosity, really. USBG needed him, USBG was paying him…now if only he knew exactly what he was being paid for.

“Aight, I’m plugging in the addresses,” Dovid announced.” 

“2347 Washington Ave,” the new girl advisor answered as she slipped into the seat next to Shmu. “Oh, I’ll take those.” She quickly huddled her mob of shabbos clothed onto her lap.

Shmu considered being a good chapter advisor and formally introducing himself, but he wasn’t in the mood. Sometimes he enjoyed being outgoing, sometimes not. Now was the time for a power nap. Tonight he was expected to lead circle– though he wasn’t quite sure what that meant yet. 

“And where am I taking you, Shmu?” Dovid asked.

“The corner of Jefferson and Adams, please.”

“Whoa, you’re from South Africa?” the girl queried, picking up on his foreign dialect.

“Gibraltar, actually.” He had gotten used to the mix up, though no one had been quite so oblivious as to confuse his accent with a South African’s thus far. No matter, it was power nap ti–

“I’m Shifra, by the way.”

“Shmu,” he politely extended a nod of the head in her direction, then turned his gaze to the inside of his eyelids. Frieda wasn’t getting to him anytime soon. He might as well enjoy some rest while he could.

To be continued…