How we met: ‘I had a feeling that if we started dating, we’d end up married’ | Life and style

In the summer of 1992, Ruth moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to study for a PhD in Jewish history. As soon as she arrived, she began searching for a place to go for Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. Someone told her about a local prayer group. “They had a pot luck dinner once a month to which people brought different dishes,” she says. “I was told I should definitely join them.”

When she arrived at the dinner, she was seated next to David. He was in his second year of graduate school, and had been attending the group’s events for a year. They began to chat and quickly realised they had friends in common. “I had come back from studying in Israel and I knew a lot of people who had gone to university with David,” she says. “He had also lived in Israel, too.”

David thought she was “incredibly charming” and enjoyed talking about their shared interests. “I usually tell people in America that I am from Toronto because it’s well known, but this time I mentioned my home town, Hamilton, Ontario,” says Ruth, who was surprised to learn that David was from the same town.

“When I told her I was born there, she didn’t think it was possible,” he laughs. “There’s a small Jewish community and she knew everyone, but I’d moved away when I was young.”

They continued to chat throughout the event before parting ways. “When he rode away on his bike, I had this feeling that if we started dating, we’d end up getting married,” says Ruth. The following day, she got his number from a friend and contacted him. They went on two dates, but Ruth decided to call it off. “I had just come out of a relationship and wasn’t ready for commitment,” she says.

Ruth and David, who met at a pot luck dinner.
Ruth and David, who met at a pot luck dinner while they were students. Photograph: Supplied image

In mid-October, Ruth travelled to New York for a holiday. There, she bumped into three old friends, who each separately told her that, while she was living in Cambridge, she must meet a “really great” man they knew called David. “The first time, I thought it was weird. By the third time, I figured it was fate – or, as we say in the Jewish tradition, bashert.”

She called David the following day. “We went out and had a heart-to-heart about making a commitment and trying to make it work,” he says. Although young, they decided it was meant to be.

Since then, they have never looked back. They were married in 1994, and had two children, born in 1997 and 2000. “We’ve moved around a lot over the years,” says David. “We’ve lived in Munich, New Jersey, Jerusalem, Chicago, San Francisco and now Atlanta.” Ruth became a rabbi in 2006, and David worked in science, before moving into educational leadership in 2001. Now the children have grown up, they spend their time at home “hanging out” and doing pottery together.

David loves his wife’s compassion. “Ruth cares deeply about people,” he says. “She has this sense of vision – it’s like an ability to sense and see things others can’t. She is also incredibly nurturing and damn cute. She was cute back then when I first met her, and she is now.”

Ruth remembers the moment she fell in love with her husband. “We were at this busy intersection and an older lady with a walker was crossing the road when the light turned red. David went back to block the traffic in both directions until she was done,” she says. “I just knew he was one of the most caring people in the world. He’s also very smart and funny.”

The couple had “lots in common” right from the start, but David says they have built something even stronger over time. “We have been able to grow and create this life together.”

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