So close and yet so far until JDate and fate stepped in

It took JDate to cause Fraidy Aber and Tani Weiner’s parallel lives to intersect.

Only two years apart in age, Fraidy and Tani never knew each other while growing up in Five Towns — a group of hamlets and villages on Long Island, N.Y.

Fraidy Aber and Tani Weiner

Not only that, but both of their families summered in the same bungalow colony in the Catskills.

They almost got linked up when Tani’s mother met Fraidy at a wedding and — of course — tried to sell her on “my handsome lawyer son in Los Angeles.” But Fraidy, then living in Colorado, said she wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship.

So how did the two finally come together?

It took a combination of a site in the virtual world (JDate), a location in the real world (San Francisco) and some fortuitous timing to make it happen.

In 2008, Fraidy and Tani were attracted by one another’s JDate profiles — just as Fraidy was getting ready to move to San Francisco. As fate would have it, Tani had moved there two years earlier.

All of this happened just in the nick of time, too, as Tani was about to close his JDate account!

So Fraidy, now 35, and Tani, 37, finally found each other. It was “the honesty, authenticity and humor that came through in both our profiles that drew us to one another,” said Fraidy, who is named for her grandmother.

Also, Fraidy is a name that means “joyous” in Yiddish; Tani, meanwhile, is short for the Yiddish version of Nathaniel, Nasanel. They are not Orthodox, although they did grow up in a part of New York with many Modern Orthodox families.

They were married on Long Island on Nov. 15, 2009 — a year after meeting. Fraidy works at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, where she is the director of education.

Something old: They went back to their old neighborhood in New York to get married. “The night before our wedding, we gathered a bunch of our family and friends for a bowling and pizza party at Woodmere Bowling Lanes, a spot where we each spent countless Saturdays nights and bowling parties,” Tani said. “We even ordered in pizza from the same kosher pizza place where we used to hang out at as kids.”

Something new: “We ord-ered some awesome turquoise satin kippot for our guests, to bring a splash of California color and retro cool to the proceedings,” Fraidy said. Her mother, however, was sure to have traditional black suede kippahs on hand, as well, for those guests not quite up for  turquoise satin.

Something borrowed: The bride’s parents gave Tani a beautiful tallit with a silver mantle that was originally part of the tallit worn by Fraidy’s grandfather.

Something Jew(ish): “We had a traditional ceremony, including a bedeken [veiling of the bride], a chosson’s tisch [groom’s table] and even a seven-station smorgasbord before the chuppah. Each station had food from a different part of the world,” Fraidy said.

“OK, so a smorgasbord may not be something necessarily Jewish,” Tani said, “but it’s definitely New York Jewish.”

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Unions features recently married couples that had an interesting meeting, courtship or wedding (or any combination thereof). To share your tale, or to nominate a couple, please send information to [email protected].

Renee Ghert-Zand
Renee Ghert-Zand

Renee Ghert-Zand is a Jerusalem-based freelance journalist. She made aliyah from Palo Alto with her family in June 2014.