These are more stories of beshert, of relationships thatare “meant to be,” with a little help from The Jewish Journal. Overthe past year, at least five couples have called us to announce theirpersonal-ad-inspired nuptials. And, no, they weren’t ashamed to admithow they met. Gone is the stigma that ads are for people who arereally desperate, they insist.
Linda Frankeland Alan Sherry
Alan Sherry, 39, for one, calls personal ads “the greatequalizer.” The businessman, who also plays drums in a jazz band,used to hit “every singles dance from L.A. to Orange County.” But hetired of the posturing, the rejection, the mingling based only onlooks. With the personals, he found, “at least people met me andheard what I had to say.” One of those people was Linda Frankel, themanufacturer’s rep Sherry married in late1995.
Sam Mindel, 37, a computer consultant, answered Michele Gruska’sad in June 1996 and immediately knew it was beshert. The flash cameto him during their first date at a Valley coffee shop: He rememberedone day in the 1970s, when he was 15 and a guest at a party for aLatin-Jewish youth group. Suddenly, a sultry brunette in a sexy,chiffon, black-and-white polka-dotted dress took the stage and, in athroaty voice, began to sing “By Mir Bis Du Shayn.” All the smittenteen could do was stare.
Michele and Sam Mindel
Two decades later, Mindel couldn’t believe he was staring at thesame woman, now a professional singer, over coffee. On their weddingday, Sept. 28, 1997, he pulled a piece of the polka-dotted dress outof his pocket and told the story.
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In November 1994, Vera Kauffman-Holzman, was a svelte, fiftyishdivorcee with a plan. The Paris-born executive assistant had beenmarried for 34 years to the wrong man, and she was determined tomarry the right one. So she placed three ads in The Journal, includedher real phone number, and carefully screened the numerous responses.
She asked pointed questions, took meticulous notes, and met atleast 50 men at assorted coffee shops, sometimes scheduling datesback to back to back. Along the way, she kissed her share of frogs,such as the guy who took her to Jack-in-the-Box and scarfed severalhamburgers in a row.
Among the parade of men was Lewis Holzman, a manufacturer’sre-presentative and amateur ham radio enthusiast who was immediatelytaken with Vera. “I saw this gorgeous blonde stepping out of her car,and I went, ‘Yesss!'” he says of their first date.
Theirs was a whirlwind courtship, and, within three months, Veraproposed. But Holzman, a perennial bachelor, simply wasn’t ready.Whenever a previous girlfriend had given him the marriage ultimatum,he had hopped the nearest plane for Mexico or the Caribbean.
But Vera was patient, and after some months of premaritalcounseling, Lewis was ready to set a date. The couple was wed on Feb.11, 1996, after which they hopped a plane together for the Caribbean.
<BruceSchweiger and Amy Brotslaw
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Bruce Schweiger and Amy Brotslaw are getting married this Sunday,Feb. 15, exactly one year to the day that she answered his ad in TheJournal. The ad that brought them together will grace the cocktailnapkins at their nuptials at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.
It all began in January last year, when the public defender wasdining at Boxer with two galpals and discussing his “miserable lovelife.” His friends exchanged a conspiratorial glance: “You’ve beenvery whiny,” they chided Bruce, “so we’ve decided to place an ad foryou in The Jewish Journal.”
Had Amy leaned out of her bedroom window at that moment (shehappened to live just 150 feet from the bistro), she would have hearda man loudly exclaiming: “You did what?”
Later, a calmer Schweiger left a blunt message on his Journalvoice mail. “I don’t golf, ski or bungee jump,” he said,emphatically. “But I do like theater, restaurants, dinner parties andhanging out.”
Schweiger also had a personal caveat: No entertainment industrypersonnel allowed. “I once had a TV executive spend 45 minutestalking on her cell phone in my driveway before she actually knockedon my door for our date,” Schweiger says. He wanted someone with alife.
Coincidentally, Brotslaw, at the time, was a former TV associateproducer who had dropped out of show biz because it didn’t allow herto have a life, at least the one she wanted to lead. Instead, she wasworking as office manager for the Bella Lewitzky dance company whileearning her MBA in nonprofit management at the University of Judaism.”What I’d really like to do in the next two years,” she wrote afriend, “is fall in love, get married and have a baby. I’m 38 and theclock is ticking.”
Brotslaw co-wrote a screenplay about three women who form a datingclub, with rules about how many blind dates and personal-ad responsesrequired per month.
Life imitated art. Brotslaw went on “1 million blind dates” anddutifully perused the personals — until a fateful Saturday evening,when one ad practically jumped off the page. “I felt compelled topick up the phone and answer it,” says Brotslaw, who was so flusteredby the sound of Bruce’s voice that she forgot to leave her telephonenumber.
When the two finally “did lunch,” at Engine Co. No. 28 downtown,it was chemistry at first sight. “Before the date was over, I waspossessed to kiss her,” Schweiger says.
Turns out both had attended the same Allen Ginsberg performance;the same world music concerts; and both had 90-year-old Aunt Friedas.”Very quickly, we fell into each other’s life,” Bruce says,describing how the couple hosted dinner parties, traveled to Big Surand chateau-hopped in the Loire Valley.
Eight months later, at 1 a.m. on Oct. 5, 1997, Schweiger satBrotslaw down on his bed. He whisked out the antique Victorianengagement ring he had hidden in a tennis shoe, and asked her to behis wife.
“Now my Los Feliz bachelor pad is turning into a family home,”Schweiger says, “and I couldn’t be happier.”A sign now graces hisoffice: “10/5/97, 1 a.m.: Hell Freezes Over.”