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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Most of us have had things happen that convince us that Hashem is truly guiding things from above. Incidents that go beyond mere coincidences and into the bashert category.

Let me tell you a little story. Maybe not so little a story. But one that says without a doubt that there is a plan for all of us.

(Please note that names have been changed to preserve anonymity.)

Dina went to the Catskills one Passover to work in one of the many kosher hotels that were so prevalent at the time. One of her co-workers took her around the hotel to show her where things were and to introduce her to some of the other staff. Introduced to Alex and his two best friends, Dina immediately felt attracted to Alex and felt that Jason would be perfect for her friend Chayala. Jason’s personality and interests in computers and science fiction were a perfect match. By the time Passover was over, Dina and Alex were a couple and tried to find a way to get Jason and Chayala to meet without making it look like they were being put together. Dina felt that Chayala would never agree to a blind date and the pressures that come with that. What to do? Dina arranged to visit Chayala one evening and arranged to have Alex pick her up and just “happen to drag Jason along.” Once the guys came by, Dina would suggest that the four of them go for ice cream and let nature take its course.

Chayala and Jason hit it off and dated throughout the summer, but stopped when they realized that they were not ready for marriage. A bit more to the religious right, neither of them believed in “recreational” dating. Dina was sad when she heard about it. They were just so perfect for one another! Oh well, nothing more could be done.

As we fast forward a few years later, Dina and Alex have gotten married. Chayala has begun using her English name, Carole, since nobody at her workplace could pronounce

“Chayala” properly. Jason has gone to learn at a yeshiva in Jerusalem and has started to use his Hebrew name, “Yossi.”

One of Carole’s co-workers says that the son of a religious Jewish family who lives in her apartment complex has come back from Israel. Would she be interested in meeting him? Meeting at a restaurant for lunch, Carole and Yossi take one look at each other and say. “Didn’t we do this once before?”

A few months later, Dina and Alex received an invitation to the wedding. As Dina puts it, “The benchers said Carole and Yossi, but we were there to celebrate Chayala and Jason.”

As children began to arrive for both families and they moved out of the area—aliyah for Carole and Yossi—the families lost touch.

Dina and Alex’s oldest child, Aliza, was accepted to a Birthright trip in August one summer. Learning that the trip would conflict with the summer job she had accepted at a summer camp, she withdrew from Birthright. Not even a week later Aliza received word that camp enrollment was not at the levels that were expected and, as the last person hired, she was being let go. The news was devastating. What would she do for the summer? Now she had no job, no Birthright trip, nothing. It was the middle of May—too late to find a new job. Figuring it was a waste of time, Aliza applied to be a standby for any Birthright trip. Lo and behold, a spot was found on a coed Bukharan Birthright trip in early July. Aliza grabbed it immediately and figured she’d be the token Ashkenaz on the trip. Things were really looking up when she found out about a position at the local Job Corps facility. Requirements stated that applicants needed to be 18 years old as of May 1. This had to be a sign! Aliza turned 18 on May 1! Aliza interviewed for the position and decided to let them know that she would be away for part of July. “No problem,” her new boss said. “We are closed the first two weeks of July.” This was working out well: a job that paid more than the camp one, shorter commute and a Birthright trip.

Returning from Birthright, Aliza couldn’t stop talking about one of the chayalim that was on her Birthright bus. Meir was more religious than she was, but they were just friends. He liked karate, had similar tastes in foods and music and they liked to talk about the same things. About two weeks after Aliza came home, when Alex and Dina were getting very tired of hearing about incredible and wonderful Meir, Aliza confronted Dina and said, “You know him!”

“I know who?” asked a confused Dina.

“Meir! You know what his last name is?” Aliza replied.

“How would I know his last name?” asked an even more confused Dina.

“It is Steinberg!” shouted Aliza.

Yes, Meir was Yossi and Carole’s son! Meir was not supposed to be on that Birthright trip either. He had requested an all-male group and chayalim selected for Birthright are generally in the middle of their service tour. Meir was scheduled to be released at the end of that July.

Aliza and Meir both knew the story of their parents knowing one another, but they hadn’t gotten around to saying their parents’ names in any of the many talks they had. An open laptop with Aliza’s Facebook page caught Yossi’s eye and he had Meir send the message to confirm who Aliza’s parents were.

Carole and Yossi credit both shadchanim with the match, but agree that Dina saw it before they did. Dina credits the fact that she was put in the right place at the right time on many occasions to take advantage of events. Seemingly random actions are really pre-planned events guided by Hashem.

By Deborah Melman

 Deborah is proud to be a long-time resident of Central New Jersey and has seen the Jewish community in the area grow by leaps and bounds. When not writing articles for The Jewish Link, she enjoys traveling to exotic locales with her family and researching new recipes.