By Rabbi Efraim Eisen
My wife Rosalie and I met in the summer of 1991 at the ALEPH Kallah in Bryn Mawr, PA . We were so excited by our connection that we created a workshop where single folks could meet each other in a meaningful and spiritually based way, with the byline “to meet your soulmate you must first meet your soul.”
We are so gratified as we witness strangers become friends and on some occasions life partners. Basherte has helped create bands, networked numerous business connections, given people minyons for shiva and given countless people hope.
Michael and Rena met at the 2009 Kallah in a Basherte class. It was exciting to witness these two wonderful people encounter each other and watch the love start to blossom.
Michael shared with me, “I was looking for a life partner with whom to share everyday life Jewishly. I learned that it was necessary for me to become aware of my relationship history and patterns. I enjoyed the deep personal connections that the class facilitated and the meaningful conversations that ensued.”
Rena told me, “ I learned that I was becoming available to admit, finally, my deepest desire to (1) get married, (2) to someone Jewish, and (3) to truly feel “home.” I also started to learn that, in making this admission, I was letting go of the only true barrier to sharing my life with someone: ME. My old deep belief was that the universe was withholding this from me; the course provided the space and opportunity to let go of the idea that I was the victim of the universe and, instead, affirm that I was the only one keeping myself utterly alone. I remember during the class, envisioning that I would KNOW that I had met my Basherte by Passover 2010! And so I did!
Rena told me she was surprised to discover that she could fall in love with a man, in Ohio of all places, who lived on a county road, who was barely an inch taller than her, who already had children and was in the very early stages of a divorce process . . . .who knew? She later said, “Nothing looks like what I thought it “should”; and for this, I am ever grateful. The kind of sharing we did in the class was intimate and required vulnerability; before we even knew each other’s full names, we heard each other’s feelings and longings.”
I was thoroughly thrilled when they decided to get married and asked me to officiate their wedding in a weekend long Shabbaton. Their joy is inspiring. I will always remember them, walking down the aisle.
Rabbi Efraim Eisen is the rabbi at Temple Israel, a century old Jewish community in Greenfield, Massachusetts