First Date: Ice cream at Yogiberry
Wedding Date: July 1, 2012
Venue: Beth Tfiloh Synagogue in Pikesville
Current Residence: Bethesda
Sam Rank, 28, of Pikesville saw Leslie Cohen’s profile on JDate and sent her a message, hoping she would reply. Leslie didn’t.
Three weeks later, Sam and his friend Ben went to the Mad Hatter bar in Washington’s Dupont Circle. Another friend suggested they play some video games upstairs, but Sam had recently moved to Bethesda and wanted to stay downstairs and socialize. Ben insisted Sam join him upstairs in the arcade.
Suddenly, an attractive young woman grabbed the video gun from Ben’s hand and continued to play the game. Right away, Sam recognized Leslie from her JDate posting. He itroduced himself and said he was certain she was the girl from JDate who didn’t reply to his message.
Leslie, 27, had not replied because Sam’s JDate profile highlighted a strong, traditional Jewish upbringing. Somewhat embarrassed, at first, Leslie denied it was her profile on JDate. But Sam persevered. Finally, Leslie conceded it was indeed her profile.
They talked for 30 minutes until Leslie had to leave, but she gave Sam her phone number.
First thing in the morning, Sam called Leslie and asked her out for ice cream at Yogiberry. Certain that it would be a short date, Leslie told her roommate she would return in a half-hour and didn’t bother to change from her sweat clothes.
Sam and Leslie talked for hours. They were still talking when the ice-cream shop closed. They went to Barnes and Noble around the block and were still talking when it closed.
One year later, Sam, the son of Rena and Elliot Rank, proposed to Leslie, the daughter of Marsha and Paul Cohen of Potomac, aboard a friend’s yacht on the Potomac River. The wedding date was set for July 1, 2012.
The summer of 2012 was very hot and the heat intensified on the weekend of the wedding. The temperature reached 105 degrees on Friday night, June 29, when the immediate family and out-of-town guests gathered at Beth Tfiloh Synagogue in Pikesville for Kabbalat Shabbat and a rehearsal dinner. A violent storm, known as a derecho, unleashed torrents of rain and powerful winds as dinner concluded. Trees and power lines came down all over Pikesville. The following day, Shabbat, was beautiful. However, in the aftermath of the derecho, the area around Beth Tfiloh as well as all the wedding plans were in total disarray. There was no power anywhere.
But Sam, a senior manager at the Rappaport Companies, a commercial real-estate development firm in Tysons Corner, Va. was resourceful. He took out his cell phone and called his most trusted electrician, Andy Campanaro, at CMI Lighting in Manassas, Va. Sam relayed the dire situation and his colleague spent hours calling his contacts; he even drove to Dulles Airport after locating a generator there. His colleague battled two hours of traffic to meet Sam at Beth Tfiloh at 9 p.m. Saturday night. Sam and his brother, Ben assisted Andy in retrofitting the synagogue’s electrical service and limited service was restored at 3 a.m. on the day of the wedding.
The caterer was able to use the synagogue’s kitchen to warm the food, the musicians had enough power for their instruments, and there was just enough power for some lights. The bride, the bridal party and all the guests were beaming and smiling. The ceremony was meaningful, dignified and beautiful.
Rabbi Aaron Landes, Sam’s grandfather and rabbi emeritus of the Beth Sholom Synagogue in Elkins Park, Pa., conducted the wedding ceremony. Exuberant and congratulatory shouts of “mazal tov” were followed by traditional dancing and a wonderful meal.
Elliot Rank is Sam Rank’s father. He lives in Jewish Baltimore.