In 2008 I met and married someone whom I thought was my true bashert and love of my life and moved to Brooklyn, NY to start our life together. Upon my move, I was hired by Aish HaTorah in a wonderful position which I loved. Little did I know, I was about to find myself in the middle of my worst nightmare. The man I had married was abusive and controlling on many different levels. I won’t go into detail. By our wedding night, I already knew I was in serious trouble. I spent an entire year in a rotten marriage, trying to find help for him and make it work between the two of us, but it was all a waste of time. At the tail-end of the marriage, we had moved to Jerusalem for the summer and rented an apartment in the Old City, with the hopes that a change of scenery would improve our situation, which in some ways it did. We spent the summer having Shabbos guests from the Kotel (Western Wall), me doing my job out of the Aish offices in the Old City and him learning in yeshiva. In some ways, it was everything I had ever dreamed of. In other ways, it was a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. Upon our return to New York at the end of the summer, the situation changed in such a way that forced me to grab my things and run. I am fortunate enough to have friends who care very much about me and put me up in their house until I received my get (Jewish divorce), found a new apartment and was back on my feet again.
Shortly after I moved out, I was promoted to an even bigger and better job with Aish, which I also loved very much. I felt very fortunate and blessed to have a job which I loved, with wonderful co-workers, in the middle of such turmoil in my life. I received my get Erev Yom Kippur and two weeks later, the night after Sukkos, my grandfather passed away. That winter I suffered from a bad case of bronchitis, and my ex-husband continued to stalk me around Brooklyn, to the point of getting involvement from the police. Overall, it was a very difficult year but I made sure to take care of myself and spend lots of time with friends who cared about me. My work with Aish gave me something to look forward to every day.
By Pesach, I was finally feeling like myself again, but a changed woman after everything I had been through. I was back out there in the world, attending some singles events in Brooklyn and beginning to be open to some of the many shidduch suggestions (matches) that were coming my way, although I eliminated most of them on the phone before we even went out:)
At Pesach, I went home to Toronto to be with my family, very much looking forward to spending time with my parents and sister, my newly-widowed grandmother and of course my mother’s delicious cooking! One of the meals on the first days of Pesach was spent with some cousins who live close by to my parents’ house. We have always been very close to them and they attend a synagogue in our neighborhood. After Yom Tov, the husband, Freddy, called my house and spoke to my mother for 20 minutes. Apparently, there was a guy who davens (prays) at his shul whom he really wanted me to meet while I was in town; he had all the qualities that he and the family felt would be a good match for me, and my parents approved. I agreed to meet him over chol hamoded Pesach; what was the harm?
The date with Marc went well, not amazing, as he initially came off as a very reserved South African (he was born in Cape Town but moved to Toronto when he was five), but well enough that we both wanted to see each other again. As it turned out, he grew up five blocks away from me, we went to the same summer camp, we have younger sisters the same age who were in the same class in high school together and we had tons of friends in common. Marc mentioned to me that he planned on being in Israel that summer, learning in a Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem, something that I found very admirable, especially when he was in the middle of selling his business and starting a new job in the fall.
After two dates with him, I thought that there would perhaps be some potential, but did not get too excited because I was going back to NY the next day and was very busy with my job. The day after I got back to NY I went to work, psyched to see everyone after vacation and get back to work. I returned to the office, only to find myself involved in an emergency phone call from my boss in Israel, regretting to inform me, that due to serious budget cuts within the organization, I, as well as most others in the department were getting laid off. I had two weeks notice.
I felt lost and confused; how could things continue to get worse after the horrible and challenging year I had just endured? I spent the next two weeks sending out resumes and e-mailing everyone I knew, informing them of my new employment situation. Unfortunately, the economic situation in NY at the time was not very good and the only bites I had there were for mediocre positions with little stability. I continued to stay in touch with Marc over the phone and e-mail but could not really tell what would happen, seeing as things were looking so helter-skelter on my side. He was very persistent though, making sure to speak once or twice a week without being invasive and was incredibly supportive and understanding of my situation.
Suddenly, Hashem (G-d) sent me a job offer. One of my contacts in Israel, whose office was in the Old City, sent me a facebook message: his secretary, whom I grew up with in Toronto, was about to have her second baby and he had no one to replace her from June to August. Since he already knew me from when I lived there with my ex-husband, he wanted me to come to Israel as soon as possible and take over for three months that summer. I was thrilled by the offer and within three weeks managed to find a girl to sublet my room in Brooklyn, found an apartment in Jerusalem and a reasonable round-trip ticket. I decided to come home to Toronto for two weeks before I left, to spend some time with my family and to give Marc a real shot and see if this really had any potential. In the meantime, he was so excited to hear about my job in the Old City, because he was also planning to be learning there for the summer in a yeshiva which happened to be right up the block from my office.
To make this already long story a little shorter, I quickly saw during those two weeks in Toronto that my cousins had been quite on target when pushing this shidduch (match). Marc was not the reserved South-African which I had originally pinned him as; he quickly opened up to me and I soon discovered his many positive and admirable qualities which I had no idea were hiding inside him. He’s brilliant and incredibly funny; (he has my quirky sense of humor), he’s sincerely religious and very serious about learning while at the same time being very open to the world and has a wide variety of interests. He completely understood, and was compassionate about my situation and the fears that came along with it. He makes me his number one priority, and he is mine. My family loves him; in fact everyone seems to love him! Our time together in Israel was wonderful; we became very close and bonded on so many different levels.
At the end of that summer, I decided it was time to move back to Toronto to be close to him and my family. We were engaged that January and married in April. I was twenty-nine. I have never looked back since. Marc is the love of my life.
I knew in my heart that Marc was my bashert (soulmate) at the end of the two weeks I initially spent dating him in Toronto, but I was completely terrified to admit it to myself or anyone else for that matter, and I kept it a secret for the full nine months of our courtship.
Two years and week after the day we were married, we welcomed our twin girls, Nechama and Zissa into this world, and so begins our story.
Check out highlights from our wedding video.