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Now here is a love story from the land of milk and honey…
While I don’t believe in divine design of an Eros-like entity, the circumstances which led to meeting my wife stretch the limits of coincidence.
I traveled to Israel in April of 1980 to plan my move to Israel for later that year. My trip began with a few blissful days of scuba diving in the Sinai, but soon I had to find a way to reach a job interview in the northern part of the country. I had not considered that it was Passover and thus that there would be no space on the buses, not even to stand. Even worse, I had somehow misplaced my driver’s license and did not have much money.
I was lucky to find Sarah, who was in a similar situation with the exception of her having a driver’s license. We were able to rent a car together and decided to pick up hitch hikers to help with gas money. It wasn’t hard to find the crowd of hundreds of hot, sweaty and exhausted hitch hikers waiting in the burning sun. A Swedish couple that was first in line stuffed their giant backpacks into our back seat and somehow managed to wedge themselves in as well. They were relieved and grateful.
Sarah released the clutch and the Subaru stared to move, with some effort, into first gear. As the air conditioner began blowing, we all felt relief from the scorching temperatures.
“STOP the car!” I said. Two women in the distance caught my eye. My eyes locked onto one of the women with long, dark blonde hair. “Sorry, you have to leave,” I said, turning to look at the Swedish couple.
I signaled for the two women to come, although they were standing so far back in the crowd that it took them a minute to realize it was them I was signaling to. Meanwhile the Swedish couple refused to leave and Sarah began yelling at me, asking what was going on. It was all background noise, like a dull hum.
“Get out,” I said firmly, opening the back door as the two women arrived. Shocked, they exited the vehicle, mumbling something in Swedish. Sarah was still screaming at me, but agreed to get going once the two women were seated. The woman I had noticed with the long, dark blonde hair, Aviva, was wearing a brown tank top that complimented her sun kissed skin.
We let Aviva and her friend off at an Ashdod intersection, ready to continue on to the northern town of Haifa. As she stepped out in front of her cascading dark blonde hair, she turned back to say, “If you find yourself in Ashdod you should visit me.” We exchanged a few more details in case I should find myself in her neighborhood. Sure enough, I found myself walking to Ashdod that very next Saturday, or Shabbat.
It’s been 34 years since then and I’ve never been more in love with Aviva.