Crazy Eights

020714_Kornblatt2Susan & Henry Kornblatt
First Date: Aug. 11, 1987
Wedding Date: Nov. 12, 1988
Venue: Beth Tfiloh Congregation
Residence: Pikesville
Favorite Activity: Traveling

Susan Heneson Kornblatt’s favorite number is eight.

So it was fitting that on Aug. 8, 1987, the not-yet Mrs. Kornblatt attended a singles dance at the Owings Mills JCC. It was there that she reconnected with Henry Kornblatt, a former Pikesville High School classmate.

They had known “of” each other.

At the next event, they chatted again. Susan had seen the list of attendees and noticed Henry’s name as a JCC nonmember. She asked him about joining the center, and he questioned whether she was there as a single woman or a staff member.

It was both.

Henry called Susan the next morning to invite her to Sunday brunch, but she had plans. But she countered that “she’d like to get together another time.”

A few days later, Henry appeared, flowers in hand, and they dined at a restaurant in Greenspring Station.

“It was a natural fit, and we just kept going,” said Henry, 56, a commercial real estate developer.

After dating for a while, they compared notes on singles functions and realized they had been to four or five of the same events.

“I was swept off my feet,” said Henry about reconnecting with Susan, who he remembers as smart, witty, beautiful and charming. “She still is, and I’m still swept off my feet.”

A few months went by; they professed their love for each other and began talking about their future.

On April 30, 1988, Henry took Susan to dinner. After he presented a ring, tears streamed down Susan’s face. She remarked that he must have a question to ask. He did, and she said, “Yes.”

Henry chose April for its diamond birthstone. It took him until the last day of the month to work up the nerve. And to honor Susan’s affinity for the number eight, he surrounded his grandmother’s diamond with seven smaller diamonds for a total
of eight.

020714_KornblattThey married on Nov. 12, 1988 at Beth Tfiloh Congregation with Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg and Cantor Abraham Denberg officiating.

“It all felt so right,” said Susan, also 56, brand marketing specialist for Halo Branded Solutions. After a Hawaiian honeymoon, they settled in Pikesville.

More than 25 years later, the Kornblatts are preparing to become empty nesters in the fall, as twins Sheri and Ilana head to college; Jason will begin his senior year at Towson University.

Since they were first married, they’ve made sure to support each other’s careers and have date nights — dining out or listening to jazz.

In November, they celebrated their milestone anniversary with a weekend in Washington and a romantic dinner. This summer, they will take a trip to San Francisco.

Both believe communication is key to a successful marriage.

“Couples have to keep communicating,” said Henry. “If you don’t talk about issues, they become problems later on.”

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

Relay for Life

011714_beshertJennifer & David Stahl
First Date: Dinner, February 2010
Wedding Date: Sept. 1, 2013
Venue: Martin’s Valley Mansion
Residence: Pikesville
Favorite Activity: Dining out

After cancer claimed his aunt’s life, David Stahl joined the planning committee for Towson University’s Relay for Life, the local version of the American Cancer Society’s fundraising event held in cities around the world.

In 2010, Jennifer Mitchell joined the committee. She too had lost an aunt to cancer many years ago, and her grandfather was a cancer survivor. A serious student and worker, she wanted to find a meaningful outlet to benefit from her volunteerism.

David had been on the committee for several years, and when Jennifer joined, she caught his eye. They learned both were enrolled in the business school at Towson. After running into each other on campus a few times, David asked her out to dinner.

After a nice meal in February 2010, neither wanted the night to end. They headed to a hookah lounge owned by David’s former Maccabi coach. The next night, they returned to the spot, this time with David introducing Jennifer as his girlfriend.

She was happy with the title and happy when David ventured out in a two-wheel-drive vehicle to get her in Perry Hall so they could enjoy that month’s “Snowmageddon” together. That apparently sealed their fate; both agree today that at such an early point, their relationship was serious.

Together, they enjoyed college life, as well as dining out and seeing movies. They also joined a billiards club and softball league and enrolled in the same summer course.

After talking marriage, David took Jennifer shopping for the “right” engagement ring in September 2012. When exchanging gifts that December, David proposed.

Jennifer gave him a board game, and he told her she needed more light to open her gift. They proceeded to the dining room, where she opened a box containing a pink bear from Build a Bear, which would become the newest in their collection of “children.”

“I wondered how I would get her to open the gift early,” said David, 25, an assistant manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “I wanted her to open it before we were with our families.”

David had secretly named the bear “Proposal.” He asked Jennifer to press the bear’s hand, and David’s prerecorded voice told her he loved her and asked her to marry him. She turned to find David on one knee, ring in hand.

On Sept. 1 last year, Har Sinai Congregation’s Rabbi Benjamin Scharff officiated at a traditional ceremony that featured seven circles for the blessings, breaking of the glass and a <em<bedekken. Lawrence and Lynda Stahl and Glenn and Kimberly Mitchell stood under the chuppah with their children.

“It just happened at the right time,” said Jennifer, 26, a human resources assistant for Sims Recycling Solutions. “Everything just clicked together.”

The couple resides in Pikesville with their 1-month-old daughter, Amelia Reneé, named for Jennifer’s grandmother and David’s aunt. Jennifer, who was raised Catholic, has committed to raising a Jewish family and keeping a Jewish home.

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

Same Difference

Renee & Jordan Rosenfeld (L. Martin Wedding Photography)

Renee & Jordan Rosenfeld (L. Martin Wedding Photography)

Renee & Jordan Rosenfeld
First Date: Aug. 12, 2012 for dinner at Jordan’s row house
Wedding Date: Oct. 13, 2013
Venue: Pass-a-Grille Beach in St. Pete Beach, Fla.
Residence: Ednor Gardens Lakeside in Baltimore
Favorite Activity: Biking to the downtown Farmers’ Market

Gemryl Samuels had been in the hospital a few days when her daughter, Renee, called to begin wedding planning. Just 36 hours earlier, she had gotten engaged to her beau, Jordan Rosenfeld.

The conversation turned bleak when Samuels told her daughter that she was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer, which was treatable only with chemotherapy.

Hysterical, Renee booked a flight for the next day to Florida. She reached Jordan, whose parents, Warren and Dana Rosenfeld, advised them to move the wedding up much sooner than the originally intended August 2014. He arrived in Florida the following day.

“I couldn’t imagine getting married without my mom there,” said Renee, 37, chief of staff for the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology in Baltimore.

Just a year earlier, Renee and Jordan had met through a mutual friend who had suggested Jordan for a city rowing team Renee was organizing. Jordan felt an immediate spark, but Renee discarded his flirting and even refused to join him for dinner after giving him a ride home.

“There was tension and electricity,” recalled Renee. “I panicked.”

At 3 a.m., she sent him a text message asking his age. He responded that he would be 25 that February.

“My parents say I was born 40,” said Jordan. “I’ve always been an intense young man. I don’t have a lot of patience with people my age.”

Renee, who had always dated older, “freaked out” at the realization that he was 20 years younger than her last boyfriend. But Jordan’s intellect and their common interests provoked different thoughts. Friends helped Renee see past their differences; they talked one night for three hours.

That weekend, they cooked for each other. Jordan knew they wouldn’t be seeing other people; they maintained their relationship following his return to his final semester at the University of Michigan Law School.

After Jordan’s graduation, they spent as much time together as possible. They discussed marriage late one night; Jordan proposed on their anniversary at Renee’s favorite restaurant.

In Florida, the pair found an intimate beach in the town of St. Pete Beach for the wedding instead of in Gemryl’s home country of Grenada.

About 15 family members, including Gemryl in a wheelchair, shared in the emotional nuptials.  Sheryl Goldstein, former deputy director at the Baltimore Jewish Council, performed the interfaith ceremony. It was held under a chuppah and featured Hebrew and Christian readings, the breaking of the glass and the signing of a ketubah. Jordan’s 82-year-old grandmother, Sondra Rosenfeld, read a prayer.

Seven weeks after the wedding, Renee’s mother passed away.

“I lost my best friend while gaining a new best friend,” said Renee.

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

Shabbat Shalom!

122013_Shabbat-ShalomFallon & Noah Saposnik
First Date: March 16, 2013 at the Belvedere Hotel
Wedding Date: Oct. 27, 2013
Venue: Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion
Current Residence: Pikesville
Favorite Activity: Working out

Fallon Gross moved to Baltimore from her native New Jersey in August 2011 looking to meet someone.

At her first Shabbat dinner, she introduced herself to Noah Saposnik. They conversed about running, and Fallon felt an attraction.

They saw see each other during workouts and ran together. A friendship blossomed, although Fallon hoped for more, and Noah did not return her sentiment.

Over time, being together became increasingly difficult for Fallon. But in December 2012, she made a change.

“I was falling more and more in love with him,” said Fallon, 29, an assistant pre-school teacher at the JCC. “I told him we couldn’t just be friends.”

An occasional text or a quick hello at the gym was their only contact. In mid-March, Noah told Fallon he needed her to “hear him out.”

They met one night, halfway between their Pikesville residences. Like in a movie, he stood on the sidewalk, in the cold and without a jacket and read a letter professing his love. After hearing for 18 months that he had no romantic interest and watching him date other women, Fallon was in shock.

“It was surreal; it was what I wanted to hear since the day I met him,” she said. “But I couldn’t cry at all. I had already cried a lot over him.”

They went on their first date to hear jazz, and it was admittedly strange. Noah opened doors and helped with Fallon’s coat. It was a different side of him, one that she liked.

“I would tell her how beautiful she is, how much I care for her,” said Noah, 30, a fundraiser for Montgomery College. “It wasn’t as hard for me as it was for her. I was ready to take on the … switch from strictly friends to more.”

Fallon spent that summer in Israel, and Noah planned a trip for them to his native Delray Beach, Fla., upon her return. There, she would meet his parents, family and friends. The trip would also include a week at Disney World, their favorite place.

On their first day, they strolled through the Magic Kingdom. Before their dinner reservation, Noah directed Fallon down Main Street. As they passed a caricaturist, Fallon asked to get a drawing of the two of them together.

Noah sat first. Then, they switched. As people walked by, they stared and smiled. Fallon guessed the artist must have been talented.

When the drawing of Noah proposing was revealed, Fallon turned to find him on his knee holding a ring. They celebrated over dinner at Cinderella’s Castle, wearing “just engaged” buttons, and were given VIP fireworks passes.

They married Oct. 27, 2013 at Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion with Rabbi Nitzan Bergman officiating. Instead of using table numbers, the 150 guests were guided by Disney ride names, and photos from their trip served as centerpieces.

The tish was emotional for both of them, and it provided their own fairy tale ending.

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

Can’t Smile Without You

120613-beshert

Jill & Jason Smulson
First Date: American Visionary Arts Museum, Jan. 8, 2011
Wedding Date: Oct. 19, 2013
Venue: The Inn at the Colonnade
Residence: Elkridge, Md.
Favorite Activity: Cooking and hiking with their beagle, Beau

Jill Markowitz was surprised at how well her first date with Jason Smulson went.

After meeting at a “Jewy Christmas Eve party” in 2010 and connecting on Facebook the next day, the pair chatted for a few weeks before agreeing to a date for Jan. 8, 2011.

“He wasn’t [the kind of person] I typically dated, but I agreed to the date because we had good conversation the night we met,” said Jill, 32.

Jason proved innovative and fun. Instead of taking her to dinner and a movie, he planned a night at the American Visionary Arts Museum for their first date, which was followed by subsequent outings to a glass-blowing demonstration and ice skating.

The museum exhibition that night was “What Makes Us Smile?” and it celebrated human joy with the history and science behind the gift of laughter. Ever since, Jill and Jason have not stopped smiling.

“He really won me over pretty quickly,” said Jill, a software developer for the Social Security Administration. “My friends said they never saw me smile so much, and every time I talked about him, my face lit up.”

Jason felt so comfortable around Jill that he could be himself without the need to impress her, and he felt free to crack jokes and make her laugh. He also got to know her friends. The “vibes” were good, and he could tell she was “a good person.”

Within six months, they had professed their love. They spent more and more time together and discussed marriage.

“I made sure she knew everything was progressing toward that in the traditional way,” said Jason, 35, who is a real estate marketer for Alex Cooper Auctioneers.

On a Sunday morning this past February, Jill found a poem on the front door of her home in Elkridge, describing a puzzle she needed to solve. The first clue sent her to Jason’s cousin’s house. Then to Woodberry Kitchen and Canton, where Jason first met Jill’s friends.

The last clue led her to the American Visionary Arts Museum, where Jason waited for her in the tunnel at the top of the steps of the wildflower garden’s treehouse. Jill found him. He knelt down, held out a ring and asked her to marry him.

On Oct. 19 at the Inn at the Colonnade in Baltimore, 118 friends and family members were all smiles as Judy Smulson walked her son down the aisle and Teri Markowitz accompanied her daughter to the chuppah. Rabbi Rhoda Silverman officiated the traditional yet modern ceremony.

“I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else,” said Jill. “He makes me smile in a way no one else does.”

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

Be My Girl

111513_be-my-girlAnna And Ryan Blank
First Date: Liberatore’s in Timonium, spring of 2007
Wedding Date: Oct. 5, 2013
Venue: Suburban Club of Baltimore
Residence: Pikesville
Favorite Activity: Traveling

Twelve-year-old Ryan Blank handed 12-year-old Anna Pens a note one day while they passed in the hall at Pikesville Middle School.

“Will you be my girlfriend,” it read. “Circle yes or no.”

Anna circled “yes” and handed the note back to a nervous Ryan later that day.

It was official, but as most middle school romances go, it lasted just a week or two, and they barely spoke to each other.

In high school, they were friends. They called each other and went out for a bite to eat after school, but they didn’t run with the same group of friends. Both dated other people, and they lost touch when Ryan left for the College of Charleston (S.C.) in 2003.

More than four years later, after eight months of study in Amsterdam, Ryan returned home and enrolled at Towson University for his final year.

He called Anna, also a student at Towson, to see how she was doing. They went out with groups of friends, but Ryan realized he wanted more.

He invited Anna to dinner during the spring of 2007. He was dressed up; Anna noticed.

They went to Liberatore’s in Timonium. Ryan ordered a bottle of wine, and Anna realized this was different. They began dating officially soon after.

It took Anna a while to adjust to their changed status. Then, Ryan moved back to California, where he had spent much of his first 12 years. After a year of long-distance dating, Anna moved west to be with Ryan. After a few months, they drove back to Baltimore for good.

On Father’s Day 2012, all of their families gathered. This included Ryan’s parents, Barry and Gayle Blank and Dan and Debbie Lemmerman, and Anna’s parents, Vlad and Larisa Pens, as well as the couple’s siblings and grandparents.

After requesting photos from Anna of her and her father, Ryan had put together a video montage for the holiday. After a few photos, the shots changed to pictures of Anna and Ryan as youngsters, including pictures from their days at Pikesville Middle School. Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” played in the background. When the video finished, Ryan dropped to one knee and proposed.

Rabbi Scott Nagel officiated at their Oct. 5, 2013 traditional wedding. They shared personally written vows before 220 friends and family members.

The joyous reception featured a band, a disc jockey and a dance choreographed by Ryan set to Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” He and his friends delighted the crowd, especially Anna.

One of Ryan’s favorite memories of that day was their time hoisted above the crowd while in the chairs.

“I remember looking at her, seeing her smile,” said the 28-year-old entrepreneur who works in his family’s real estate business, Resource Title. “I was the happiest person ever.”

“I just have that feeling that we are beshert,” said Anna, also 28. “He makes me happy, and we laugh a lot. There’s no one else I’d rather be with.”

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

A Lifetime Of Giving

110113_a-lifetime-of-giving1Although their memories of their early days together remain cloudy, Eileen (nee Jaslow) and Jerry Chiat do remember what mattered.

“Her eyes were what drew me to her,” says Jerry, 67. “Her eyes were her soul. She still has those eyes.”

Jerry remembers her cute dimples as well, as he recalls their first date at an Italian restaurant on Liberty Road in Randallstown in the spring of 1967.

The details also remain sketchy to Eileen, 65, but she does note Jerry’s sense of humor. She also recalls a Saturday night in early April 1968 when her father refused to allow Jerry to leave after bringing her home. He insisted Jerry spend the night to avoid the riots that were the result of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and that were occurring not far from Jerry’s home in East Baltimore.

The couple became engaged soon after. Jerry asked Eileen a hypothetical question centering around “supposing we got married,” and Eileen answered, “I suppose so.” Then he asked her for real.

They were married on Nov. 3, 1968 at Beth Israel Congregation with Rabbi Seymour Essrog officiating. About 100 guests witnessed the Conservative ceremony, which featured Jerry dramatically dipping Eileen and planting a kiss on his bride.

They honeymooned in New York City for three days before returning home to attend another wedding. They settled in the West Glen Apartments in Woodlawn and bought their first house in Lochearn in 1972. They moved to Owings Mills in 1994.

Jerry spent much of his career in the credit and housing rental fields, and Eileen worked for Social Security. In 1992, they opened Acclaimed Promotional Specialties, which they operate jointly from home.

110113_a-lifetime-of-giving2After 45 years of marriage, they agree what brought them the closest was Jerry’s need for a kidney transplant, which was successfully performed in May 2012. Eileen expedited the process by registering to donate a kidney of her own, which she did that August for a stranger (she wasn’t a match for Jerry).

They also reflect on their more than 10 years with Marriage Encounter, which gave them a chance to build their communication and help others as they became instructors.

Today, they share their home with their five rescued cats, and they enjoy their time with Paint and Powder, a theatrical organization that creates and hosts shows to raise funds for local charities. They are also involved in Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees each winter (Jerry is the Jewish Santa Claus), and they advocate for the University of Maryland Medical System (to help with transplant patients) as well as the Kidney Foundation of Maryland.

While working in promotional sales takes Jerry on the road each day, he starts off by having breakfast with his bride and finishes by dining with her.

Eileen always reminds Jerry to be careful and to “have a good day” as he departs through the garage. And, just like newlyweds, they always kiss goodnight.

Eileen & Jerry Chiat
First Date: Spring 1967, Italian restaurant
Wedding Date: Nov. 3, 1968
Venue: Beth Israel Congregation
Current Residence: Owings Mills
Favorite Activity: Watching Ravens games

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

‘Lucky To Have Found Her’

Rachel & David Kowitz (Provided)

Rachel & David Kowitz (Provided)

When David Kowitz met Rachel Shapiro, he was overwhelmed.

“I knew the first instant I saw her,” he said of that day in late 2009, when she appeared to help organize a friend’s office for her company, Back to Basics Organizing, LLC. “If I could have created the perfect person for me, it would be Rachel.”

David jokes that he was paralyzed, felt like he was “punched in the face.” He shook her hand, and his palms were sweaty. He was visibly nervous.

As Rachel returned to the office, they spoke more and more. Gone were the sweaty palms. Rachel noticed he was cute, funny and smart. And he was Jewish, which was important.

“I remember thinking I wish I could meet a guy like that,” said Rachel, 29. “That’s when I started thinking about him in that context. We definitely had a connection.”

David found Rachel’s company’s phone number online and called. By the time they went on their first date in January 2010, they were comfortable with each other. David joked to the hostess that they were celebrating their first anniversary, and he proceeded to tell the waiter a hilarious, contrived story about their relationship. The waiter delivered a special flaming dessert to help them celebrate. They talked about their common interests including funny movies, 1980s ballads, Jewish values and family. Rachel recalls it as one of the “nicest nights of my life.”

Soon, they were best friends and spending more and more time together. Within a year, they were deeply in love, and Rachel was spending time with David’s daughters, Ella, 7, and Laney, 4.

“I didn’t expect them to be as good and as loving toward me as they are,” said Rachel. “They are a big part of my life. They are very special to me.”

David offered a babysitter to help with childcare, but Rachel refused. Instead she revels in the opportunity to do homework with Ella and plan picnics, go to playgrounds, take walks and play pretend games with both of them.

“All you want is for your kids to be happy,” said David, 38, a real estate and title attorney for Resource Title, LLC. “Rachel is a big part of why everything’s OK.”

David proposed over champagne by a fire in February 2012, and they married May 25, 2013 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. Patricia and Jack Kowitz of Pikesville and Harold and Michele Shapiro of  Waynesboro, Pa., were among the 162 guests.

The wedding featured Rabbi Scott Nagel of Oheb Shalom Congregation reading aloud the personal letters they penned to each other as well as a specially choreographed dance to Lionel Ritchie’s “My Love.”

Today, they are thankful for the life they have built and the way they feel complete with each other.

“When you are able to truly be yourself around someone, it’s liberating,” said David. “Our moments are real. I’m lucky to have found her.”

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

A Perfect Match

100413_beshertMarla & Neil Markoff

First Date:
May 15, 2009 at the Flying Fish in Old Town Alexandria

Wedding Date:
July 3, 2011

Wedding Venue:
Chizuk Amuno Congregation

Current Residence:
Alexandria, Va.

Favorite Activity:
Hanging out with friends

In October 2010, Neil Markoff suggested to his girlfriend, Marla Wolf, that she dress up for dinner. They were meeting his aunt and uncle in Washington, D.C.

As they walked to the Willard Hotel from the ajacent parking lot, Neil presented Marla with a gift. It was a wrapped CD of love songs. As Marla unwrapped the package, Neil knelt down and asked her to marry him. To their surprise, an audience on a nearby bench clapped after Marla accepted Neil’s proposal.

Instead of proceeding to the hotel restaurant, they climbed into a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride.

Afterward, they headed to the restaurant. Because Neil had booked a private room, they were led through the kitchen. Marla called her mom, Donna Wolf, who offered her congratulations and told her daughter she couldn’t wait to see her.

As they approached the back room, Marla smiled, as she saw her mother and father, Bob Wolf, and Neil’s parents, Marcia and Bruce Markoff, through a glass wall.

It was the perfect way to celebrate.

Their pairing was seamless as well.

The father of one of Marla’s closest friends attended dental school with Neil’s father. After trying JDate, speed dating and blind dates, Marla agreed to meet Neil. It was about five weeks until he emailed her, as it was a busy time for him in graduate school.

Quickly, they learned how much they have in common. [They lived a quarter-mile apart in Virginia, shopped at the same grocery store, share their birthday (a year apart), and both work in human resources.]

Their first date was in May 2009 to a sushi restaurant following Marla’s recommendation.

Neil impressed Marla as a sweet, caring guy from the first moment (he opened the car door for her). They shared interesting, fun conversation and learned about their mutual love of family. Both hoped there was more to come.

“I really liked that she was outgoing, she had a personality,” said Neil, 33, human resources director for a commercial real estate company. “That was very important.”

After about six months, they professed their love.

Marla knew he was the one, her “knight in shining armor,” after her apartment flooded, and he swooped in to save her and her belongings.

“I knew I could rely on him,” said Marla, 34, an Owings Mills native and performance specialist for Insperity. “More and more, I knew he was the man I wanted to marry and spend the rest of my life with.”

They were married July 3, 2011 at Chizuk Amuno Congregation. Rabbi Ronald Shulman and Hazzan Emanuel Perlman officiated. They shared the day with 230 friends and family members.

Today, they share even more as Blake joined the family in February.

“Even with parenting, we complement each other very well,” says Marla. “Common interests and values brought us together and as we grew as a couple we realized we were yin and yang.”

‘A Very Beautiful Moment’

092013_A_Very_Beautiful_MomentJenn and Jason Miltenberger

First Date: Paper Moon Diner, Aug. 31, 2012

Wedding Date: July 28, 2013

Venue: Anchor Inn, Pasadena, Md.

Current Residence: Severn, Md.

Favorite Activity: Orioles games

Before Jenn Erwin and Jason Miltenberger recited their vows, Cantor Ann Sachs shared a few poignant comments from their pre-wedding meetings.

Jason had told the cantor that Jenn was his “heart,” and Jenn had noted that Jason was her best friend and they were “so much in love.”

As the words echoed through the sound system at the Anchor Inn in Pasadena on July 28, 2013, Jenn, Jason, their mothers Sandra Bayer Gendleman and Dianne Miltenberger and many of their 65 friends and family members in attendance held back tears.

“We were emotional and happy at the same time,” said Jenn, 27, a Leesburg, Va., native. “It was a very beautiful moment.”

Everything about the day was beautiful. They were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony held outdoors with a beautiful Chesapeake Bay backdrop. The temperature was in the low 80s, and the sun peaked periodically through the clouds to brighten the day.

The reception featured a few “funny” moments, including their introduction. The newlywed couple entered the hall rapping to “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, and they were followed by their bridal party, which came out to another Beastie Boys song. They then delighted their guests with their first dance to “About You” by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

They also found it funny that their wedding cake was missing the bottom layer. Other than during the cake-cutting ceremony, they did not get a piece of the wedding cake. The caterer sent them another cake two weeks later with an iced inscription of “Happy Anniversary.”

“It didn’t matter,” said Jenn. “It was just funny.”

The pair met via the online dating site OkCupid, and after just a week of computer chatting and phone conversations, they met for lunch at the Paper Moon Diner in Baltimore. Afterward, they went to Jason’s to watch the first season of “Walking Dead.”

“He was easy to talk to, a lot of fun,” said Jenn, a pre-kindergarten teacher at Brookfield Christian School and a Sunday School teacher at Temple Beth Shalom in Arnold. “And I knew he was serious about dating when he talked about me meeting his friends.”

As they said goodbye, Jason asked for a goodnight kiss. Jenn obliged. Jason called later that evening just to be sure she got home safely.

Two days later, they were out together again. From that point on, they were inseparable. They share an interest in art and music and regularly attend rock concerts together.

Jason proposed in late May after convincing Jenn to come to his house and leave her mom to dog-sit. As he reached for a DVD on the coffee table, he got down on his knee, presented a ring and asked her to marry him.

“It just works,” said the 31-year-old Cumberland, Md., native and librarian with the Anne Arundel County Public Library System. “She’s my heart. I love her. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

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