Every day, I scour emails from newraanana, InHasharon, tanglo, CIWI searching for doctor recommendations, potential yoga students, writing events and other random information. All Yahoo groups, they were created for the English-speaking communities of Israel to keep people up to date, informed, in touch. Most of the time, I read and delete. Then, one rainy Monday late in January, while perusing the email, I found a posting that begged me to answer:
Wanted: Buddy to watch Indy Movies
Posted by: “Ruty”
Recently moved to Ra’anana and looking to meet friends. Anyone into indy movies looking for a companion with whom to share? I am single woman, late forties from England and New York.
Without hesitating, I replied:
I loved your post today!
If I had to write one in a similar vein it would read: married woman in mid-ish/late-ish forties (how do we count 46 1/2?), just moved from NY to Raanana, loves indie movies and looking for someone to go with.
Seriously though, my name is Jennifer and I am new-ish here too (long story). I teach yoga and am a writer, trying to set up both businesses here and it’s full of challenges. I love to hide in the movies.
Within an hour of sending my message, the mystery movie-goer and I had a date. Since she had already seen The Descendants (and hadn’t loved it) and I wanted to see Women on the Sixth Floor with Philippe, we settled on another French movie called The Silence of Love for the following Tuesday night.
“But what if she’s a burglar?” Simone asked, utterly incredulous when I told my family about my upcoming date.
“Or a serial killer?” said Daniella.
“No, but seriously, did you at least look her up on Facebook?” Benjamin asked as if checking out someone’s name, birthdate, level of education, photo and other friends was entirely par for the course before actually meeting the person.
“Come on you guys. Who made you so cynical here? I’m not like that,” I said, trying my best to convince my kids that I believe in people’s inherent goodness.
Philippe had his own opinion. He thought maybe she was a lesbian looking for a date, someone to see porn with perhaps.
One by one, they left for school and work and I was alone. Quietly, guiltlessly, I walked upstairs to my office, sat at my computer and logged onto Facebook. Since I didn’t recall more than my blind date’s first name, I had to look back at her original post for her last. I entered it and only one person appeared under that name. As soon as the page came up, I knew it was her based on the little I had learned: Studied at University of Cambridge; Lives in Tel Aviv, Israel. I looked at her photo, quickly deciding she didn’t look like a burglar, a serial killer or a porn-goer and that my family was too neurotic and facetious for me.
As the week wore on, I could see that the Tuesday of our movie date wouldn’t work and took another risk, emailing Ruty with a question:
Do you keep shabbat? Reason I ask is because there are 10am movies on Saturdays in the Park theater and a really fun morning, if you ask me. Just curious. My own story is complicated so I understand if yours is too.
Within minutes, she had responded:
I do not keep shabbat and would be happily available for a 10am.
Looking forward to sharing our stories:)
Have a great day.
That Saturday, while Philippe was at synagogue and my older two kids were sleeping, I went downstairs to have breakfast with Simone.
“Don’t you think it’s weird to go out to the movies with a total stranger?” she asked as I was loading the dishwasher.
“No, I think it’s a great way to meet someone new and maybe make a friend.” How many times had I gone to the movies by myself over the years because I couldn’t find a friend to accompany me?
“I hope she’s not a burglar…” she called after I kissed her goodbye and closed the door behind me to meet my date in the driveway.
A woman with a round face, dark eyes and chestnut brown hair smiled at me as I opened the car door. As I strapped on my seatbelt, I started laughing my outrageous cackle, unable to contain myself.
“Hi. Before we start in our stories and talk I just have to confess to you… firstly, I am blogging about my new life here and want to know if I can write about you, this, how we met? Secondly, I have to share with you what my family thinks of all this…” With that, I broke the ice, though there wasn’t any to begin with, and we began to talk. She had no problems with being the subject of a blog post and she laughed like I did at my family’s inner thoughts. On our ride north to a movie theater in Even Yehuda, we began to fill in the gaps, the backstories, about how we arrived in Israel, our upbringings, our jobs. She was easy to talk to and interesting, telling me about her Afghani parents and British childhood.
Two hours later, when the movie was over and we walked out, we discussed what we thought and agreed that we’d like to do it again. A few minutes before we pulled into our street, I asked Ruty if she was free for Shabbat lunch and wanted to join us, knowing my family was waiting for me. I also knew they’d be eager to meet her and know that my blind date with a serial killer had gone well.