Daniel Kurzrock and Jennifer Capeloto first met at URJ Camp Newman in the summer of 2005. (Photo/Nataly Zigdon)
Daniel Kurzrock and Jennifer Capeloto first met at URJ Camp Newman in the summer of 2005. (Photo/Nataly Zigdon)

That ‘long-distance thing’ worked out for this summer camp couple

Sometimes, when a connection between two people seems obvious, friends step in to facilitate. That’s what happened when Daniel Kurzrock and Jennifer Capeloto’s fellow CITs observed them noticing each other. It was the summer of 2007 at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa.

“My friend said to me, ‘You’re being an idiot. She thinks you’re cute,’” said Kurzrock. “And my response was ‘Are you sure?’ You have to be sure, because god forbid you actually take a risk.”

The couple first met during the summer of 2005. The next summer, Kurzrock was in Israel. By the time they were both CITs, Kurzrock decided he wanted to find out more about Capeloto. “She was a girl I didn’t know well, so that summer, I intended to get to know her better.”

One could say he met his goal.

Kurzrock, 27, grew up in Burlingame. He is the co-founder of Regrained, a company that uses the refuse from beer-making to make granola bars and other food products.

Capeloto, also 27, is from Seattle. She works in corporate wellness, for Health Advocate Inc. The couple live in San Francisco.

It took all of three days (that’s several years in camp time) for them to share their first kiss. They were together for the rest of the summer, but broke up when it was time to return home.

“There’s no way we were going to do the long-distance thing at 17,” said Kurzrock.

The following February, when they joined their fellow CITs at a reunion in Las Vegas, they were reminded of how strong their connection was. Their friends all witnessed it, too. So much so, that again, their friends — “meddling,” as Kurzrock recounted in his wedding vows — tried to convince the two that maybe they should give this thing a try, distance be damned.

Capeloto was soon to travel to Europe on a school trip, and Kurzrock was suddenly afraid that she might fall for someone else. So on Valentine’s Day, he sent her flowers and asked her to his senior prom. She accepted, and wore a hot-pink zebra print dress.

My friend said to me, ‘You’re being an idiot. She thinks you’re cute.’

In the fall, Capeloto went off to the University of Arizona and Kurzrock to UCLA. They knew they were happier together than apart, so they mostly kept up the relationship and ignored whatever their parents had to say on the matter.

“I didn’t know how against it Dan’s parents were until our wedding,” said Capeloto. “My parents were quieter about it, but were probably even more worried.”

Although marriage was not on their minds, by being long-distance they maintained their independence while still supporting one another from afar.

They actually tried to break up when she was studying in Botswana and later, when he was in Prague, but those separations lasted only a short time.

Each moved back home after graduation, but quickly realized they wanted to be together. Capeloto started job hunting in San Francisco and moved to the Bay Area. After choosing to live apart for the first two years, they moved in together in 2015.

In the summer of 2016, they traveled to Greece with friends, and then separated from the other couple. The proposal involved a sunset and a GoPro camera: Capeloto was fiddling with the camera to try and capture the sunset in time-lapse, and turned around to find Kurzrock on one knee. The GoPro captured the entire proposal.

A month after they set their wedding date, they learned that their 10th CIT reunion would be happening that same weekend at Newman. It was too late to change the date, so they chose to spend the Friday night before their wedding at Newman, where they could not only participate in part of the reunion but be blessed in front of the entire camp community.

“We invited all our family to camp that Friday night, so that any of them who hadn’t been before got to see where we met,” said Capeloto.

They married on July 16 at Deer Park Villa in Fairfax. Kurzrock did a mikvah on the morning of the wedding, with 20 of his friends jumping into the ocean.

A crafter, Capeloto studied calligraphy so she could make handmade signs, while Kurzrock brewed the beer served at the rehearsal dinner.

Their vows reflected how they had grown up together, with plenty of laughs, too.

“Having you by my side as we’ve grown from children to adults has not only been the biggest joy of my life, but has shaped who I am today,” said Capeloto, later adding, “I love your subtle thoughtfulness, like the time you brewed a hibiscus beer because you thought there was a better chance of me drinking it because it was pink.”

Kurzrock vowed “to keep it weird. May we always take being silly very seriously.” He also vowed to “dance like nobody’s watching, sing like you’re the only one listening, and make jokes, even if only for you. May we always easily amuse each other.”

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."