In the third installment of The Jew-Date Diaries , “Rivka” learns that sometimes Mom really does know best.
“Go talk to him! He’s gorgeous!!” my mother whispered to me as she pointed to a group of young students shmoozing in the corner. It was simchas torah and I was swaying to nigun attik as someone belted out the song on the microphone. There were several young men in the corner, but I could tell which one my mother was referring to. He was a stunningly handsome man with curly hair, a Jewish nose, and a graceful masculinity. My mother had Jew-dar, she could smell an under-30 good-looking Jewish man in any setting- the dry-cleaners, a restaurant, even on the street- and would then urge me to strike up a conversation. Usually I was mortified, but this time I was intrigued as I broke away from the dancing circle. He and I flirted as the Torahs swarmed around us.
I told him that I hadn’t seen him at this synagogue much before, was he a new member? He told me he was just checking out the synagogue, he was “shul-shopping.” Well, I asked, did he want company as he visited Twin Cities’ shuls? “Sure,” he said. Well, then I need your number, I said, with courage I didn’t know I had. He gave me his business card and told me to call.
A week later, I called and invited him to go with me to Mount Zion’s Friday night service still following the “shul shopping” pretense for the date. Then, do you want to go to dinner first? I asked and held my breath.
The following Friday, October 31, when the rest of my friends went to Chipotle dressed as elements of a burrito, I waited by the door dressed in my favorite black velvet skirt. I waited. Denial: did I write down the wrong date? Anger: Are you shitting me? Bargaining: Okay, if he comes in the next 10 minutes, I won’t kiss him- with tongue- until the second date. I was about to fall into the depression phase when he finally arrived. What I hadn’t known was that the street sign by my house was missing, but when he finally showed up – looking ravishing- at my door, all the anxiety melted away.
That night, as we shared yak dumplings at a small Tibetan restaurant, we talked about our families, politics, and our passions. By the time our Chhoyla arrived, I was imagining my future with him. I’m not sure quite what I pictured, but today as we cuddle our new baby dressed in a silly pumpkin outfit for her first Halloween six years since that first date, I imagine it was something like this.