Sept. 8, 2006
Love created in the heavens
Finding one's basherte can happen anywhere and at any moment.
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 in Vancouver.
His green eyes matched his green cap, which matched the green, green
grass ... 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 "Veysmere,
can't they get it together? We keep arranging meetings but they
don't talk! What, are they Jewish at all?"
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 said to him in all seriousness:
"Oh, I guess I have to leave now." He looked at me blankly
like I was some alien from outer space. I let him in anyway.
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. I stuck to him like
We had a pillow fight later on in the evening. People knew I was
involved in comedy and ignored us completely. Later, we agreed that
God had a sense of humor and that not many people at the party seemed
to know this.
Since that party, we have 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 having 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 whomever that lucky person was, that
But as we chatted, we found out some freaky facts that now I know
someone up there just had to be chuckling about.
We had both grown up in Vancouver.
But he lived in Toronto and left for Israel just as I arrived in
Toronto. I had gone to live in Israel 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 and 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.
On a more serious note, he wanted to keep strictly kosher. I wanted
to keep the Sabbath. Close enough, we could work it out. But it
was too frighteningly soon to say that.
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, the comedian asked for a volunteer from the audience.
I happily offered my date, since he had told me he wanted to perform
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
(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 10 minutes, I went to find him and made the mistake
of yelling into the washroom: "Hey Irwin, are you OK?"
Another man poked his head out and said, "Yeah, he's in here,
Irwin has not 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 at my parents' house when
they were away. As soon as he had finished eating, Irwin did something
that made him different from any other 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
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. We were married six years later on Labor Day, outdoors
under the chuppah, on the green, green grass.
Cassandra Freeman is a freelance writer, theatre performer
and film researcher who lives in Vancouver. She and her husband
Irwin celebrated their wedding anniversary Sept. 4. This story is
republished courtesy of Aish.com.