Rule # 1 for meeting a potential Jewish spouse. Don't go to Jewish singles events. Right? Wrong. I met my husband Irwin 12 years ago at a Jewish singles baseball game.
His green eyes matched his green cap which matched the green grass which matched the grass stains on his pants. Perfectly. I was fascinated. How did God manage to pull this off exactly?
By creating violet colored eyes -- the eighth wonder of the world, as far as I was concerned. They simply change color to match what the person is wearing.
The next few times we met, I stared stupidly in awe as his eyes changed from blue to grey or green.
We had mutual friends so we met at the same parties all summer long. The only thing was that when he was leaving, I was arriving or when he was arriving, I was leaving.
We would mumble a confused "hello" in the hallway which meant, "I'd like to know you better but I can't bring myself to run after you and leap into your car to stop you from leaving."
I pictured our guardian angels in heaven saying to each other. "Gevalt, can't they get it together?"
I pictured our guardian angels in heaven saying to each other. "Gevalt, can't they get it together? We keep arranging meetings but they don't talk! What, aren't they Jewish?"
Finally, that fall, after seeing him leave an outdoor outing just when I was arriving, I pleaded with my friend David to tell his friend Al to tell his buddy Irwin to come to my friend Nancy's Jewish Singles Sukkah party.
When Irwin arrived at the door I answered it and said to him in all seriousness: "Oh, I guess I have to leave now." He looked at me like I was some alien from outer space. I let him in anyways.
Later in the party, we started talking. I told him I taught a form of comedic theatre. He said he was just about to take a class in stand-up comedy. This was too good to be true. We talked and talked the entire evening, and agreed that God must have a good sense of humor.
Since that party we've been through some tough times together. But our ability to make each other laugh has often been the glue that has kept us together.
When he called the next day we started talking about what if we had kids. Not with each other of course. Just theoretically. How would it work out? Well of course he would work half the day and I would work the other half. With whoever that lucky person was, that is.
But as we chatted we found out some freaky facts and I knew Someone up there just had to be chuckling.
We grew up in the same town. But he lived in Toronto and left for Israel just as I arrived in Toronto. I had gone to live in Jerusalem at the same time he was living in Toronto. And then it was as if some heavenly director had suddenly shouted, "Enough already. Let them meet!"
And this was not just infatuation; these were the things one of the local rabbis kept haranguing his single congregants about when it came to dating: namely do you have enough in common to make the relationship last. In this case, Irwin's mother was British, my father was British. Our families were Orthodox. We each had someone in the family who was a rabbi. We were the same age, the youngest in our families, both delivered two weeks late and both stage-loving Leos.
Religious-wise, we were close enough and could work it out. But it was too frighteningly soon to say that.
I FOUND HIM
The next time we met it was Simchat Torah. We shared some food together after the service and like magic, there was that instant comfort that you hear married couples talk about. I went home. I got sick to my stomach. And I decided he was the one.
It happened just as I was drifting off to sleep. A big signpost suddenly appeared in my mind. It said: I FOUND HIM. It was such a scary realization that I didn't sleep for the rest of the night.
But I made a quick mental note that he might not get it like I got it. I would have to wait.
Our second date was of course at a comedy club. Halfway into the performer's act he asked for a volunteer from the audience. I happily volunteered my date since he had told me he wanted to perform comedy.
Irwin did a great job of creating the sound effects for the improviser's story. He then promptly disappeared into the men's room and fainted dead away.
Looking over my shoulder as I am writing this now he respectfully demands I include that stage fright is not an issue for him anymore. Unless I'm watching that is...
After about ten minutes I went to find him and made the mistake of yelling into the washroom: "Hey Irwin, are you okay?" Another man poked his head out and said "Yah, he's in here. Don't worry."
As soon as he had finished eating, Irwin did something that made him different from any other Jewish man I had ever met.
Irwin has never forgiven me to this day. Fainting was one thing, having it announced to the general public and the guys in the washroom was quite another.
I made up for it by making him dinner. As soon as he had finished eating, Irwin did something that made him different from any other Jewish man I had ever met. He simply picked up his dishes, took them into the kitchen and began washing them in the correctly marked "meat sink."
I nearly fainted. A small act on his part, but one that spoke volumes about his upbringing and respect for my hard work cooking dinner.
A couple of months later, my grandmother started calling my now "boyfriend" my husband. "Where is your husband today? Will you see him later? Is he coming to dinner on Friday?"
That's when I knew I was really in trouble.
My grandmother had not only overlooked the fact that Irwin was Ashkenazi and she was Sephardi, the matriarch had decided that there would be a wedding. And (fast forward a few years) indeed there was. We were married outdoors under the chupah, on the green, green grass.