What Are Sheitels and Strollers?

The Year I went to She’arim College o Jewish Studies for Women (Sept. 2001-March 2002), I had the privilege of attending my first Orthodox Jewish Wedding, and it all started with Sarah (Rubin) Goldberg. She made it all look so easy to date and get married in less than three months. I said, “sign me up for that program.” After all, I was a single, thirty-something, Baalat Teshuva in Israel. Why not try to find my Bashert as well? So, my one-month visit to Israel became six. The folks back at home were not so thrilled, but I always reminded them of Sarah Rubin’s success story. I assured them that with the guidance of the Rebbetzin and the She’arim Dream Team (staff), I was in the best place possible to find my Bashert.

Nu, what happened with me? Well, I definitely did my hishtadlut (put effort towards) while at She’arim. Armed with enough “soon by you’s”, brachot (blessings) from Kallahs (brides)and wedding segulah plates under my pillow (don’t ask), I was ready for my big coffee date. First, I had the talk with the Rebbetzin and narrowed down the three most important things (out of a hundred) I was looking for in my Bashert. I was now ready to fill up my dance card and do the “shadchan shuffle.” Soon enough, it was “all about me” as I would discuss every  date with the She’arim Dream Team. I’ll never forget those quick updates between classes. It’s amazing how much information concerning reference checks and career status would be communicated in just minutes. Just the thought of it makes me nervous all over again.

Well, the time flew by and I was on my way back to America (without my Bashert in hand). That was okay because I had learned so much about what I was really looking for in the process. The Rebbetzin and the She’arim Dream Team were with me, in the virtual sense, as I continued my search in America. Sixteen months after I returned from She’arim, my Bashert drove from Brookline, MA, to Passaic, NJ for our first date. A little under three months later we were engaged and married three months later. We flew back to Israel for Sheva Brachot in Israel, the first night at She’arim with the Rebbetzin.

I am so thankful for my experience at She’arim and all the incredible people that kept my mind focused on the right things, especially in dating. I also want to acknowledge the irreplaceable group of women who were at She’arim while I was there. I will never forget all of those late nights we stayed up, laughing and crying about our dating experiences. All those tears of fear and frustration became tears of simcha as we attended each other’s weddings (“soon by you” for those of you not yet married) and subsequent simchas. May we all continue to share these moments together, especially with those of us still out there dating.

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