When New York freelance writer Abigail Rasminsky published a piece in the Forward about a nontraditional Passover Seder that she had hosted with a group of non-Jewish friends, she never expected she’d get a pen pal. Certainly not one who lived on a different continent. Least of all, one that she’d end up meeting at a bus stop, surviving a hurricane with and, eventually, marrying.
And all that from a newspaper article.
Her admirer was one David Michael Goldstein, an American graduate student of linguistics living in Germany, where, he says, “I didn’t know anyone.” With plenty of free time on his hands, he was able to do something he’d long wanted to do: attend synagogue. Despite his name, Goldstein was not raised Jewish. But Judaism was beginning to intrigue him, so when a mutual friend saw Rasminsky’s Forward article about gathering together different backgrounds for a Seder, she sent it to Goldstein — and unwittingly played matchmaker.
Goldstein was moved by Rasminsky’s writing and knew that he wanted to get in touch with her. So, through their friend he sent her a quick email — or maybe not so quick.
“It was too long,” he admitted, smiling. But Rasminsky, though surprised, was unfazed.
“I didn’t really know what was going on, but I wrote him back anyway,” she said.
One email turned into several, and eventually blossomed into a whole online, transcontinental correspondence.
Finally they decided to meet, and chose a weekend for Goldstein to fly to New York. Unfortunately, that same weekend, Hurricane Irene chose to visit. In a fateful phone call late Friday night, the two decided that Goldstein should take the 7 a.m. bus up to the Catskills, where Rasminsky was staying with her family — her entire family.