Your Love Stories
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Passover is just around the corner! Have a powerful personal story or a funny family experience from Passover?
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I was living in a community I loved. I was the day camp director at the JCC in Orange County, California, and I was thrilled with my job and career development.
I decided to participate in a two-year fellowship for JC day camp directors from around the country (through the Mandel Center for Jewish Education). We would meet at campgrounds around the country a few times a year.
It was at the very first conference in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania where I met Geoff Stahl. He was working for the JCC in Memphis at the time.
We hit it off right away. After the conference, we talked over the phone all the time, despite the time zone differences. Our relationship quickly developed, and before long, we were dating long distance.
Three conferences later, Geoff threw out an idea that would change everything...he asked me to come to Tennessee to meet his family.
I agreed, but when I arrived, Geoff had set up a meeting between me and the executive director of the Memphis JCC. I was offered a job.
Geoff was ecstatic; however, I remember saying, “Are you kidding me?!? I’m not leaving California! I love it there!”
I went back to Orange County with my future on my mind. A few months later, Geoff proposed.
I said “YES!” and ended up moving to Memphis after all, taking the job I had been offered at the Memphis JCC.
We went to Israel together and bought our ketubah on the streets of Jerusalem.
We were married on March 4, 2007. In no time, I was pregnant with twins. I literally met my husband, got married, became pregnant and gave birth to two beautiful daughters, all within the two years of the fellowship that introduced us.
Today, we live in Boynton Beach with our three beautiful daughters: Madison, Mackenzie and Sydney. We are all still involved in the Jewish community in different ways.
I’m the director of the Jewish Teen Initiative (JTI) with Federation. Geoff completed Federation’s Emerging Leadership Program and is currently on the advisory board of the JCC and also serves as the JCC’s Maccabi Committee Chair.
Our youngest daughter is currently in the Boynton Beach Mandel JCC’s preschool, and our two older daughters graduated from the Palm Beach Gardens Mandel JCC preschool.
It’s the Jewish community that brought us together, and we intend on keeping the Jewish community as a staple in our family for years to come!
- Wendy Stahl, Boynton Beach
It was 2008. I was in between my Bachelor’s degree and starting to study for my Master’s. I decided it was time to finally do some traveling – preferably to Israel.
I found a MASA trip where I would live on a kibbutz: I could learn Hebrew, experience Israeli life and culture and have a blast for five months before returning home and hitting the books. Little did I know that that in October I would meet Maksim, and he would change everything.
Maksim had made aliyah from Ukraine earlier in the year. He came to the kibbutz I was staying at, Kibbutz Tzuba, right outside of Jerusalem. He was working there and trying to learn as much Hebrew as he could before joining the IDF in December.
We met in—of all places—ulpan (Hebrew language class) on my third day there.
After my five-month program was complete, I too decided to make aliyah.
We’ve been inseparable ever since – staying together through his two-and-a-half years in the army, me studying for my Master’s at Tel Aviv University.
We were married and moved to the US in 2013.
We’ve had a wonderful life together so far, and I’m so excited to see what the future will bring.
- Elea Kabaluk, Delray Beach
It was Passover, 1993. I was a student at UF at the time. The holiday was mid-week that year, so I couldn’t go home to South Florida.
A bunch of Jewish students got together for the holiday. That’s where I met Ken.
Three children and 20 years later, blackberry Manaschewitz wine is still our favorite wine.
- Deborah and Ken Clein
David: We had both tried our share of dating sites. Most of the time, we were on the same ones. But we were never paired us as a match.
Gwen: But something about David’s profile struck me. I sent him a wink and a message on one of the sites we used. He had listed one of his interests as “going to the movies”, so I asked him what some of his favorites were.
David: I asked Gwen out. We went to the Cheesecake Factory for our first date.
Gwen: We found out our parents lived down the street from each other—
David: In the same community in Delray Beach!
Gwen: And that was just the beginning! His sister had gone on March of the Living in 1998, the same year I did.
David: After a couple more dates, we decided to date exclusively.
Gwen: Time went on, and in December of 2007…
David: I proposed to her!
Gwen: I came home to my condo to find rose petals leading to the bedroom. The lights were off, but there were candles lit and music playing.
David: I got down and one knee and used her dog to help me. We proposed to her together!
Gwen: Of course I said yes. We got married the next year at my synagogue. In 2011, Madison was born. In 2013, Hailey was born.
David: Because of the internet, we found each other and created a beautiful Jewish family together.
- David and Gwen Tichauer, Lake Worth
Bob was a waiter in the "Borscht Belt ". That’s what they used to call a string of resorts and hotels in upstate New York, in an area known as the "Jewish Catskills.”
It was 1968. He was working at the Pinegrove Ranch in Kerhonkson, NY. I was there with my parents for one of the Jewish holidays.
Our eyes met across the dining room. It was sort of like the movie Dirty Dancing.
We were married two years later. The rest is history.
- Edi and Bob Goldberg, Boynton Beach
I was a student staff leader on Birthright in the summer of 2010. Kyle was one of the students on the trip.
I grew up in Boca Raton and he grew up in Cooper City. As it turns out, we both attended UCF but somehow never met—despite having 300 mutual friends on Facebook.
Though he’s a year older than me, Kyle and I had an instant connection. We’ve been inseparable ever since we went to Israel together for those wonderful ten days.
Last Thanksgiving, Kyle proposed to me at the Sundy House in Delray. On June 14, we will officially live happily ever after. Thanks to Birthright, I finally met my soul mate.
- Liana Barbarosh, Boynton Beach
My husband and I met through Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County in 1999.
I was new to the area. A friend of mine, Joyce Lampert, knew I was looking for things to do and ways to meet new people. She asked me to be on the committee for Federation’s weekly public service program, MOSAIC.
Steven Robinson was at the first meeting. He seemed like a nice guy, but quiet. I regularly saw him at various singles events in the area.
Fast forward to August of 2001. There was a YLD event at ER Bradley’s in Downtown West Palm Beach.
Steve was there, as usual. For the first time, we said more than just our usual “Hi, how are you?”
We actually talked, and something clicked. I gave him my phone number.
Our first date was that Labor Day weekend. We were engaged in February 2004 and married in May of that year.
- Betsy Grossman Robinson, Boynton Beach
It was a cold dark night in Poland when I first met Sheryl Levy. We happened to be standing right next to each other.
We were both attending the March of the Living in Spring of 1996. Our Federation programs were both at this location observing a memorial service.
We introduced ourselves for the first time that dreary evening, not realizing this was the beginning of a happy marriage and our beautiful family.
We spoke about where we lived, and then we went our separate ways as the ceremony came to a close.
Later in the program, we were in Tiberius (in Israel). We randomly were in line next to each other while boarding a disco boat. We recognized each other from Poland and began talking again.
This time it was a much happier occasion: Yom Ha’Atzamut (Israel’s Independence Day). We talked and danced while onboard the boat, having a great time getting to know all about each other’s families.
The boat docked and we continued this amazing evening. We walked around, watched fireworks and celebrated that amazing country’s independence. I hoped the night would never end. We shared our first kiss while we watched fireworks light up the sky.
Over the course of our time in Israel, we shared many more special kisses. I was very sad to leave her side to go back home. I had never experienced these types of feelings before.
Though we tried to stay in touch over the years, we drifted apart several times. But the strangest thing would keep happening — we’d bump into each other or reconnect through friends.
In a way, we “met” four times before deciding to stop ignoring the obvious signs.
After college, I decided to move to Boca so that I would be closer to Sheryl while she finished her undergraduate degree. Moving to Palm Beach County turned out to be the best thing I ever did. Her family was very loving to me, and we all grew very close.
I knew that I wanted to marry Sheryl, and so I did. We were married at B’nai Israel in Boca on November 13, 2004. We now have a beautiful daughter, Hannah Tekel.
The moral of this story: thanks to Federation and the March of the Living, I now have these wonderful blessings and my beautiful family. I owe it all to our Federation for allowing me to meet my wife while learning about our Jewish History.
If it wasn’t for that trip, I never would have met Sheryl.
- Adam Tekel , Boca Raton