Best Friends

071913_beshert_rachel_dan_taylorRachel & Dan Taylor

First Date: January 23, 2010

Where: Dinner in Little Italy

Wedding Date: March 16, 2013

Venue: Grand Lodge, Hunt Valley

Current Residence: Clipper Mill in Hampden

Favorite Activity: Short weekend getaways

Last fall, Dan Taylor had a revelation. He decided that he wanted to convert to Judaism.

It wasn’t something his then fian-cee, Rachel Naides, had requested or even discussed, but after thinking about raising their children Jewish, he knew conversion was the answer.

He called Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen to begin the process, which took only six months since Dan — a television news producer by trade — was out of work.

“It made the wedding very special, knowing it wasn’t forced,” says Rachel, 29, assistant general manager and booking director of the Baltimore Hippodrome. “It was a genuine, loving gesture, him wanting to be part of my family and my life.”

They met just after Dan moved to Baltimore for a morning executive producer position in September 2009. At the Gin Mill on Boston Street, they attended a fundraiser and were introduced by mutual friends. Rachel and Dan connected that night and talked until the wee hours.

Their paths didn’t cross again until New Year’s Eve. At a party, they watched the downtown fireworks and Dan felt an overwhelming urge to kiss Rachel. His nerves got in the way, but three weeks later he was able to drum up the confidence to ask her for a date.

Being a gentleman, Dan offered to pick Rachel up. She accepted, but was confused when Dan showed up in a cab. He had taken a cab from Locust Point to Hampden, which cost nearly $40. They enjoyed a comfortable dinner and then drinks at a wine bar in Little Italy. Dan impressed Rachel by opening doors and being complimentary and friendly.

Finally, as the date ended, Dan “planted one” on Rachel.

Then she didn’t hear from him for more than 10 days.

It was the time of the blizzards of February 2010, and those in TV news slept at the station, as there was coverage around the clock for a week.

But eventually he did call, and they began a committed relationship. They professed their love in April. That summer, both recognized their love was for the ages. Rachel vacationed in Europe with a friend for a month, and both realized how much they couldn’t bear to be apart.

Rachel visited Ron and Margene Taylor in Xenia, Ohio, Dan’s hometown, and Dan met Owings Mills’ Ilene Naides and fiance Ron Eisenstein at a restaurant near the Hippodrome. Rachel’s father, Larry Naides, passed away seven years ago.

Dan proposed while they watched television in May 2012, and they married March 16, 2013 at the Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley. Rabbi Sachs-Kohen officiated the Reform ceremony.

They still cherish the 15 minutes they shared in the yichud room, where they enjoyed a moment of peace and a chance to see each other without being pulled away.

“We just connect in a way I never connected with another person in my life,” says Dan, 34. “We’re on the same page with everything. It feels so natural. She’s my best friend.”

Linda L. Esterson is an Owings Mills-based freelance writer. For “Beshert,” call 410-902-2305 or email Linda.Esterson@verizon.net.

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