How George met Leora

How George met Leora

East-West Magazine

reports that about 40 percent of men at, a popular internet dating service, now say they are willing to date a woman five or more years older, which is up from about 27 percent in 2002.

Ever since she entered the dating field, after her divorce, Leora dated younger guys. “I wanted someone who was able to keep up with me, ” she explains. Leora is an assistant professor of mathematics education at City College of the City University of New York and directs the Collaborative Communities of Practice professional-development initiative for middle-school teachers for the New York City Department of Education. And she always makes time for her married sons and daughters-in-law, and for her grandchildren.

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George Hellman’s position as director of planned giving at the United States Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C. is more than a 9 to 5 job. After his divorce, with limited time available, Mr. Hellman, an attorney, figured that an Internet dating service was an efficient option. He chose, whose purpose is “Jewish dating for marriage.”

On Leora’s profile at, she said she was looking for a man who has A KISS, that is, a man who has: Attractive appearance, Kind heart, Intelligent mind, Sense of humor, and Sincere religious values. That describes George Hellman. Here is the story of how they met, in their words.


“Why would I ever want to date a Marylander?” could be the title of Leora and my improbable betrothal.

Her profile first caught my eye in September 2005, when I noticed her warm, radiant smile peering out from under her Kangol baseball cap. As I read her profile, I was intrigued even more. So I wrote her an e-mail in which I tried to charm her into meeting me, even though she lived in New York City and I in Silver Spring, Maryland (although I was a life-long New Yorker myself, until my move to the DC area in October 2002). The unfortunate reply was that she had ‘very recently begun a relationship.’ Disappointed but undaunted, I wrote back wishing her the best of luck, but provided my e-mail address so she could contact me at a future date if I were off Frumster and if things didn’t work out in her new relationship (‘which I am absolutely NOT wishing on you,’ as I put it).

Life continued, and in mid January 2006, I noticed Leora viewed my profile again. Perhaps she clicked on it by mistake? Or to show it to a friend? I decided to wait until it happened one more time as quasi-confirmation of a newfound curiosity beyond mere randomness or mistake. I didn’t need to wait long for the second viewing…so I took that as a sign of interest, and wrote her again on January 15th.

Her reply was encouraging, as she admitted to being intrigued by my profile; but her reluctance to enter into a ‘long-distance’ relationship also then emerged. After a couple of e-mail exchanges, she finally agreed to speak on the phone. Our first conversation took place on January 16, and it lasted until nearly 2 AM (and it was a ‘school night’). I will always remember her description of what she thought would be the best indicia of a good marriage: “When you are waiting for your man to come home, and you hear the key in the door, and you hear yourself saying ‘YES!!!!’…”

Several more conversations followed, but it still wasn’t smooth sailing to our first meeting. Hers was a busy February, filled with many work commitments. And she was still reticent about the possibility of embarking on a long-distance relationship, utilizing the somewhat Orwellian logic that dictated that we shouldn’t bother to meet if we know we will really hit it off (as we had both suspected we would) if we also know it could never work (as she thought she had convinced herself).

Finally, a breakthrough appeared on the horizon–the son of a close friend was getting married on March 16, and I would be staying in Brooklyn for the wedding. Could we meet Motzei Shabbos (Saturday night)? I would be coming to New York anyway, so there was no added pressure on her. She agreed to meet on March 18th, after Shabbat, although she made it very clear that she could only spare an hour or two at most, as she had a very busy Sunday ahead of her.

Well, our first date still hasn’t ended, and it looks like it never will. I asked Leora to marry me on August 5th. I guess we both decided that when it comes to love, Maryland and Brooklyn are right around the corner from one another.


It is said, “Man plans, and G-d laughs. ” I had a few firm rules about the men I would date, one of which was “no one who lived outside the tri-state area.” I did not want to move and leave my loved ones, exciting career, and beautiful new home. Besides, how could a meaningful relationship be developed if we would be separated not just by miles, but by entire states???

Then in September 2005, George, a Marylander, wrote me a charming message. And, wow, what pictures and profile! So, although I wasn’t interested in meeting him at that time, I couldn’t help but send a message back that would “leave the door open ” in case of a lapse in judgment… um, I mean, a change of heart.

Four months later, in moments of weakness, I took a couple of peeks at George’s profile, and he contacted me again. We had a few great phone conversations and exchange of messages, and George was persuasive about coming to New York to visit me. But after a few days of deliberation, I reluctantly told him that I thought meeting would be a lose-lose situation. If we didn’t “click” we wasted our time, and if we did “click” we had no place to go with it. He lived four states away!

George didn’t give up so easily. So, he told me that in two months he would be coming to New York for a wedding, and we could meet then. There would be no pressure on me because he wasn’t coming to New York especially to meet me, and we could have dinner. I asked him to call when he arrived in New York and we could decide then.

Well, the rest of the story moves more quickly. George came to New York, and although I had decided to tell him that I still didn’t think it was a good idea to meet, after another great conversation, I said that I could go out for an hour or two, but that I didn’t want to get home late because I had a full schedule the next day. So…

When I came out of my building and first saw George, I thought… well, at least this won’t be a waste of time! And from the moment I got into his car and we started to talk… it just got better and better. We immediately “clicked,” and through most of the dinner we were laughing together. And forget about an hour or two, we were wishing the evening didn’t have to end.

George came back to New York the next weekend and just about every weekend after that. I also went to Maryland several times and was welcomed into his warm community. We became engaged in August and our marriage plans include time spent in both our Maryland and New York homes, sharing the best of both our worlds.

Never dismiss an out-of-towner, especially a Marylander!!!

George and Leora were married on October 29, 2006. Mazal tov!

Read past installments of Leah Hakimian’s column, ‘Godsend’

How Larry met Shelley

How David met Luba

How Aaron met Cynthia

How Zali met Michal

How Hadi met Rosa

How Richard met Talia

How Yuvi met Rachel

How Shai met Liora

How Dov met Miriam

How Aaron met Jennifer

How Simon met Rhea

How Dan met Simone

How Phil met Julie

How Michael met Amy

How Zvi met Daphna