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My Jewish Valentine

From when I was a young girl, I have always dreamed of my beshert.
[additional-authors]
February 7, 2023
osherro / Getty Images

I know Valentine’s Day is nowhere to be found on the Jewish liturgical calendar nor, for that matter, a day fondly remembered in Jewish history. But I do know that love and hope and perseverance are essential Jewish qualities. And that’s why I am sharing my story.

From when I was a young girl, I have always dreamed of my beshert.  This was decidedly not notional, but a deeply felt, essential, DNA-coded belief that I have clung to for the last 60 years – namely, that there was someone, a soulmate, a spiritual twin who I was predestined to be with.   Now all I had to do was find him.  How hard could that be?

In the six years since my marriage dissolved – a union that had its moments but was probably not divinely inspired — my search brought me on and off dating sites but to desultory effect.  In fact, I had developed something of an aversion to digital dating. But I decided to give online dating one last try, posting a tongue-and-cheeky profile under the handle, “Stale Arm Candy.” Within a week, I received more than 200 messages. Most of those messages were one syllable or cryptic or self-promotional or overly clever or clearly not from the relationship-minded. – except one …

He was handsome for sure … but there was something about his countenance.  In his main picture, he appeared to be giving some sort of talk. His expression was an intriguing mix of intelligence, conviction and high-jinx. His write up was tender and hilarious. I was smitten. His name was Max — soon to be dubbed “Catnip” — and I instantly knew him to be unique to any dating site or maybe even to any planet in our galaxy.

There were no red flags, except these: he was wearing a suit – one appropriate for boardrooms and not the surf — and he lived 3,000 miles away in New Jersey. He ignored my stricture about only dating men within ten miles of my home in West Los Angeles and so I decided to ignore it too.

My never-date-men-in-suits rule was a little less malleable. It stemmed from a promise I made to myself in my twenties. I’d gone out with some very “successful” men — lawyers, doctors, dentists, Wall Street types and businessmen — but I found them somehow lacking and I rarely accepted second dates. On the rare occasions when I did, I usually ended up wishing I was home curled up with a book. I vowed I would never date men whose line of work required them to wear a suit, making a bee line for aspiring writers, starving artists, and lost creative souls who needed a comb and a muse and who were trying to “find themselves.” I craved connection at an intense, soulful level. 

It took Max several messages and a “super like” to finally get my attention, When I pulled his profile up and stared at his picture, my gut took over. I knew I needed to respond.

I cannot remember verbatim our initial exchanges, but what I do remember, distinctly, is their sparkle and the heady feeling of utter connection, of having finally been found. Time flew by, deeply felt sharing about our families, the human condition, our relationship to Judaism, and our common, fundamental commitment to world repair, all punctuated with gales of laughter. Texting bubbles became our “oxygen,” and we blew back and forth furiously. two hopeful geriatric guppies falling fast for one another in a huge murky digital aquarium.

It is now six months and 15,000 bubbles later and the initial giddiness and anticipation and connection have been amplified by certainty and an unshakeable commitment to each other and our future together. I know now that there is a beshert for each of us, that hope matters, and that true love is always possible, today and every day.


Lorna Serene Stamm is a proud Mom, Nana, advocate, and writer. She has a PHD in Nurturing and Optimism.

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