Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ricki and Jonah - A Match Made Over Seas and in Their Thirties

Inspire Kallah Question: How did you become religious?

Ricki: I always had a great kesher with Hashem and in my thirties I started going to shiurim at the JLE (Jewish Learning Exchange) and Aish HaTorah and started slowly taking on more and more mitzvot. There was an amazing group of women in England who took me under their wing and supported me as I began to return to a Torah way of life. I had an uncomfortable feeling all my life and my neshama was just crying because of all the things I was doing that were not frum.

Before becoming frum, I always tried to keep a kosher home and kept Pesach 100%, and Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur of course. But I was a typical career woman, secular, learning to dance, and that kind of thing.

I went to speak with a very wise frum woman and she said either you keep both feet in the secular camp or you place both feet into the frum camp! So that's what I did.

Question: What was dating like before you met your husband?

Ricki: When I was secular, I went out with Jewish and non Jewish guys and searched all the time for the right person, who I knew was going to be Jewish, but didn't find him. I had also been engaged at 36 and broke off that engagement. I went through an extremely difficult time.

I then came to Israel two years ago over Chanukah to learn in seminary and I had the zchut of meeting some rebbetzins and shadchanits who introduced me to about three guys who were okay; and the fourth guy they introduced me to was to be my husband.

Question: Do you have any advice from your dating experience?

Ricki: The best way to date is to go on shidduchs and to be very open and not have a massive list of criteria. When you think of most girls, they don't marry men who fit their original list of criteria because ultimately Hashem has a plan and it doesn't include things like "he should be this tall or have this degree or own this or that." You should always go on a second date unless you absolutely have no physical attraction with that person.

I almost did not go out on a second date with my husband because, many times, baalei teshuva girls are stuck in the western mentality that they should feel butterflies when they meet the right person, but it's not like that. You can like someone and then get to know their neshama, and that's when real feelings are in the making.

Also, when my husband was suggested to me, he was from California and I made it very clear I wasn't going to live in California - and I just lived there for over one year!! When Hashem sends you the right person you will even move countries and live in places you wouldn't think you would live. Hashem always has the right plan for each of us.

Question: So how did you finally meet your husband?

Ricki: A fabulous rebbetzin from Neve Yaakov knew of my husband who was learning in yeshiva here in Israel and he had just gone back to California for Chanukah while I was learning here in Israel. But Hashem organized that his return flight would be with British Airways that went via London. So six days after I returned home from seminary I was sent to Heathrow Airport on a shidduch date.

Question: How did you know he was your husband?

Ricki: [On the first date] I didn't know he was my husband. I thought he was a really nice guy. He was getting on a plane a few hours later to return to yeshiva and on his return, he told the rebbetzin that he wanted to pursue me. I told my rabbi that I was a bit worried about him taking a flight to come back to see me. My rabbi asked me a great question: if you were in Israel, would you go out on another date? The answer was yes, because I knew that we should always go out on a second date unless we find the person totally unattractive. So he came back on a plane.

Question: How long did it take you to know he was the one?

Ricki: From the time he got back on the plane to the time we got engaged was nine days. So I realized very quickly. We wanted the same things, to be blessed with learning and growing spiritually, with children, to do chesed and to do kiruv, to serve Hashem.
Initially I told his Rosh Yeshiva and him that I wanted to go out for 2-3 months because of my broken engagement, but his Rosh Yeshiva told him to pay no attention to this, and if he was confident that I was the one, he should do everything to win me over. He asked me to marry him on Shabbas, which was very beautiful and a week later I flew to Israel for our vort in his yeshiva in the Old City. A month later we were married here in Israel.

Question: What would you say to girls who are still dating?

Ricki: I went on an OU shabbaton and a lovely rabbi gave a mashal that we should see every date as another step on our personal ladder to finding our bashert. We don't know how many rungs are on our ladder but every time we take a step up we are getting closer to our bashert. Dating is such a great opportunity to also think of other women who may be suitable for the guy that wasn't right for you. Be very grateful that you had the pleasure of going out on a date and then think who you know of that this person could be for, and extend a chesed to someone else. When we are kind to others, Hashem is kind to us.

* Question: Do you have any last words of wisdom for those girls still looking for their zivugim?

Ricki: First of all, Rav Sheinberg told me to daven mincha everyday. From that time onwards I davened Mincha and I begged Hashem to bless me with my bershet. Also, I went to the Kotel many times and cried and begged.

It is very important for us to be b'simcha because when we are miserable we are not realizing that everything Hashem does for us is for the good, even if we don't see it. Hashem does chesed for us everyday just by opening our eyes in the morning, and the fact we can see, hear, smell, eat, learn Torah, have friends, have family even if they are annoying sometimes - if we really thought about it, we would be crying and begging Him to forgive us for all our silly complaints. Even when it is really, really difficult for us we must realize that this is our test. For those girls who get married quickly, that is not their test.

Put a smile on your face, wear nice clothing, as many different people are watching you and may have ideas of suitable guys. Every day is an opportunity to meet your zivug. The attitude is not like: "Hey, where is my bashert? Give him to me." It is true avodah - this life - nothing is guaranteed.

The three rules are: 1. Be b'simcha, 2. Daven (mincha) 3. Know Hashem is doing everything for your best. Hashem has a plan and everyone has a zivug, so keep your eyes wide open.

For any girls who are very despondent, Ricki has kindly offered to be in touch with them and share more of her true Jewish wisdom. If you or a friend is interested, please e-mail us at: and we will put you in touch with her.

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