It was just what I needed. After a long winter and an emotionally draining round of dating, I was only too happy to board an El Al flight, direct to Tel Aviv, to get away from it all and not think about shidduchim for a week. I couldn’t wait to daven at the Kosel and visit my married friends and seminary teachers. My trip turned out to be even more fabulous than I had expected. Everything fell perfectly into place—the weather cooperated, and I managed to visit everyone I had hoped to see. I had a wonderful Shabbos with my cousins and was invited by Rebbetzin Krieger, my seminary teacher, to her home. When I noticed three missed calls from Rebbetzin Krieger on Motzaei Shabbos, I knew something was up and called her back immediately. “When are you going back to New York?” she asked. “On Tuesday,” I replied. “That’s great, because there’s someone we want you to meet. My husband thought of a shidduch for you. A bachur from his chaburah.” A shidduch? I was on vacation to escape the stress of the shidduch scene and didn’t want to think about shidduchim. In any case, there was no way I would consider marrying an Israeli boy. As if she were reading my mind, Rebbetzin Krieger said, “He’s an American learning in Yerushalayim,” and she went on to sing his praises. “My husband knows him well and thinks this is a terrific suggestion for you. Let me give you some of his references.
Speak to your parents and get back to me as soon as you can.” “But I’m leaving soon!” I protested. “I know. That’s why we have to work quickly. I’m hoping you can give me an answer by tomorrow morning. The boy already said yes.” I stayed up late to call my parents in New York, and they promised to try to do the research ASAP. But despite their best efforts, they weren’t able to reach any of the boy’s references. “We trust Rebbetzin Krieger,” my mother said, “and since her husband knows this boy personally, we think you should give it a shot. If it goes well, we can always do more research afterward.” I returned Rebbetzin Krieger’s phone call and though I wasn’t so excited, I agreed to meet the boy. “Can you be ready in an hour?” “I guess,” I said, reaching for my blowdryer. It seemed there wasn’t a second to spare. My nerves were on edge as I contemplated meeting this mysterious boy. I knew absolutely nothing about him. Then I had my first surprise. After the opening pleasantries, my “mystery” date told me that he lived on my street back in Brooklyn! He was practically my neighbor! I didn’t return to New York on Tuesday. But when I did, our engagement was on the horizon and our parents were making plans to meet. They wouldn’t need to travel very far! I was on the run from shidduchim when I met my bashert from down the block— on the other side of the world!