Q: Tova, where are you from?
Tova: I was raised as a secular Jew in Queens, New York. After attending college in New York, I moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood, working for one of the major international television networks.
Q: What was life like dating in Los Angeles?
Tova: I met some serious guys, and I met some not serious guys. My mid-twenties were all about my career. So, even when I went out with a guy, I was all about work. All I talked about was work with the guy. We didn't talk about anything real, like values or our relationship to religion.
Q: When did you start thinking about marriage?
Tova: When I was 32, I started thinking about dating seriously and marriage. So, I started going back to Shul. I was also learning with some of the Jewish organizations in LA. One of the things I was learning about was the Jewish approach to dating as well as Taharas Mispacha. I was impressed about what Judaism had to offer. It made sense to me that in order to have a healthy relationship, Hashem needed to be included in my daily life especially regarding intimacy.
Q: Did you ever freak out about being in your 30's and not being married?
Tova: When I turned 34 (May 2004), after having made a lot of money, I realized I had to get married. I don't know if I would call it freaking out, but there was an urgency all of a sudden for me to get married.
I was offered a HUGE contract in LA to stay - it was a big title and big money. I realized that I'd make a lot of money that year, but what will this do for me? There is much more I need to explore and it has to do with spirituality, and I wanted to do it in a Jewish way. I wanted to get in a community, I wanted something traditional, and I wanted something that reminded me of my grandmother.
I realized the kind of guy who would understand me, the kind of guy who have the same values as me, would be a Jewish New York guy. So I left LA for NYC at 34 because I'm a New Yorker. I had a sense I'd meet my husband in NYC.
Q: What happened when you moved to NYC?
Tova: 3 weeks after moving to NYC (November 2004), I met a guy through friends at a party.
He & I started talking about music, and we had a great conversation. However, he didn't ask me for my number. I later found out that he was convinced he would see me again since it seemed we had some friends in common.
4 months later (February 2005), I was walking outside of a bookstore on the Upper West Side. This guy walks up to me and asks, "Don't I know you?"
I looked at him and said, "Yeah. I met you 4 months ago at that party."
"Oh right," he said. We talked for a while, and then he asked me, "Do you want to have coffee with me?"
On the way to coffee, he had to drop something off at his apartment, so I came with him. I noticed that he had Mezuzahs on all of his doors and Sephorim on his bookshelves and a Tzeddekah box.
"Are you Jewish?" I asked him. His name was Dovi. He and I had never talked about religion.
"Wow, you're really reigious," I said.
"No," he said. "I was raised religious but I'm not religious now."
I told him that I've I've spent the past few years researching religion.
"Oh I'm sick of religion." he said.
We then went to coffee, and I told Dovi that I moved to New York to look for my husband. I figured that he was such a nice guy that if he wasn't for me, then maybe he had a friend for me.
This coffee outing with Dovi was great, as it wasn't a date. It was casual, like two friends hanging out with each other (which made it more comfortable for me). We talked about bringing G-d into our lives.
My experiences and his experiences were very different. But, we were both on the same page as far as our faith was concerned. Although, he was not observant at the time, he had a strong connection and I could see his faith. We both craved spirituality and respected something greater than us.
A few months later (March 2005) he called me and invited me to join him at his office picnic. It was my 35th birthday.
Dovi rented a car, and we drove 2 hours to Upstate New York for the picnic. We listened to music we both enjoyed, we bickered like old friends about driving directions, and I felt extremely comfortable in his company.
When we arrived, Dovi and I went on a walk and were looking out at a lake. I realized that even if he and I don't develop into a serious
relationship, I wanted him in my life for the rest of my life.
Dovi understood me in the silence. I was having a wonderful moment with this guy who was so kind and so gentle.
From that day on, we were together. We were married in November 2005 and have bli ayin hara been married ever since.
Tova & Dovi were both frum (i.e. shomer Shabbos & Shomer Kashrus)
during the period of their engagement.
Q: Tova, is there anything you'd like to share with girls who are still seeking their bashertes?
Tova: Having a good attitude is the most important thing in terms of getting married.
At the time, I was a bit stressed about being 35 and not married. I was thinking, "OMG, what if dating Dovi does not work out?!"
Dovi and I were on a picnic and instead of letting my worries become part of our conversation, I put them aside and enjoyed my day with him.
It was such a blessing to have someone so nice to share my 35th birthday with. Of course I was curious - where is this going? But, I kept my anxiety to myself.
This is so important in dating. There is no need to confide in our dates about our innermost feelings so soon. They are taking us out to have a nice time. Dating is not a therapy session!