A Summary of Our Lives Before We Met
This is the story of Alanna bat Palpiel v’Blima Rut and Rivkah bat Shmuel v’Fagel. They were born in July in 1983 and 1984 respectively. They were both raised in wonderful loving families and had wonderful loving friends. They didn’t know each other until the summer of 2003. (Yes! How’s that for a summary?)
So, How Did You Meet?
In the summer of 2003, both Alanna and Rebecca decided to participate in a leadership conference for Jewish students. We had both chosen to take the provided bus to the campsite where the conference was being held.
Our first conversation (outside a Jewish day school waiting for the bus
Rebecca: (yeling out car window
) Hey, does anyone know where I should park?
Alanna: No, sorry! Why don’t you ask inside?
A romance was born.
Alanna and Rebecca were inseparable for the rest of the bus ride (well, I mean, we didn’t change seats or anything) and the rest of the 5-day conference. Neither of us had ever felt that kind of instant closeness with anyone before. We shared our life stories, our fears and insecurities, and some very deep religious experiences in those 5 days.
Since we had been assigned to different cabins, we dragged our mattresses outside and slept under the stars in the middle of the field. We went on boat rides in the lake; we took long walks in the woods; we learned Jewish texts…. It was idyllic. Alanna’s first gift to Rebecca, presented on the last day, was a parsnip with many beautiful and sweet compliments. Luckily, Rebecca thought that vegetable-wooing was adorable.
We spent the next month commuting back and forth to each other’s campuses (Goucher College [Baltimore] and the University of Delaware). We saw each other several times a week… and we are eternally grateful to those of you who provided rides for us or lent us their cars in order to make this happen. We are also eternally grateful to our roommates who put up with a whole lot of nonsense. One month later, on September 18, 2003, the weatherman informed us that a hurricane would be hitting the Washington/Baltimore area. In a very interesting decision, Rebecca boarded a train to Baltimore. Not sure why. But it was a good thing. Eventually. Trust us.
That night we stood out in the middle of an open field watching Hurricane Isabel rage around us. (Again, just trust us – it worked out well, even though we had awful judgment) There is nothing like acts of God to inspire intense emotion. We watched the green lightning that night and huddled together against the wind. The next day we shared our first kiss.
The College Years
We spent the next two years in a similar way, commuting back and forth between the schools, enjoying each other’s company, and becoming part of each other’s lives and communities. Again, thank you to our friends and family who welcomed us so seamlessly into the other’s world. Our favorite activities in those days included driving to White Clay Creek Park at midnight, sneaking in, and telling stories under the stars, and spending long Shabbat afternoons studying Torah and playing games. We are still waiting for our honorary diplomas from each other’s colleges, as we both feel that we spent more time at the others’ school than our own, (obviously, this is a mathematical impossibility) and that the amount of time we spent helping each other with our schoolwork should merit a second bachelor’s degree.
We have lived together in Wilmington (Delaware) , Old City (Philadelphia ), and Mount Airy (Philadelphia). Alanna is currently studying to be a Rabbi at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Rebecca is a high school Spanish teacher at Germantown High School. Our family was expanded in April 2007 to include a small, adorable, gray cat named Naomi.
Alanna and I are excited to formalize our commitment to each other this summer, and we are so happy that all of you will be witnesses to this exciting moment.
L’cha Dodi Netzeh Hasadeh
Hopefully, you noticed that in our story, many of the pivotal moments happen in fields, under the stars (or hurricane!). For this reason, the verse “Come, my beloved, let us go out to the field” from Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs) is very meaningful to us. (Also, very coincidentally, it is from Chapter 7, verse 12… 7/12 – f Our wedding date!) Please join us as we go out again to a field to be married, and see us off as we venture into new fields and new adventures.