How Lawrence Met Esther

“Esther, my queen” is how Lawrence Koss describes his bride. And Esther was born in Persia (today’s Iran) on Purim night. That was in 1925; the couple met in 2006.

“I call it a miracle how I met Lawrence,” says Esther. For 20 years she had been living in Florida. “I was living on the 26th floor, and I used to go out on the balcony and pray: ‘Dear G-d, if there is someone out there for me, please send him to me. I don’t want to live my life alone.'”

Esther Roubin had been widowed 40 years earlier. She was then living in Kew Gardens, New York. “Though I was surrounded by supportive siblings, two sisters and a brother, the responsibility to support my three children rested on my shoulders. I did what I knew best – yoga – and I began teaching yoga in the ’70s. ” She both loved to practice it and to teach. “Yoga helped me through some very tough times,” says Esther.

It was not usual then for Persian women to practice yoga. And certainly not to leave their close-knit community in New York and move South.

Esther had learned to be independent and was open to change. Her children were grown, and the move not only gave her a kinder climate but also led to a healthier lifestyle. She began to avoid red meat and soon became a vegetarian. Also unusual for a Persian woman.

“I loved my life in Florida, says Esther, but I did not like living alone.”

Loneliness is a major factor in the rising rate of remarriage among older adults. Dr. George Grossberg, professor and director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at Saint Louis University, writes: “With people living longer and staying healthier longer, especially women, loneliness among widows and widowers becomes a more pressing issue. Consequently, second and even third marriages in later life are becoming and will be increasingly common.”

Still, the odds favor the men. According to the 2006 U.S. Census, in the 65+ age group, 40% of the women were married and 71.5% of the men.

Esther was feeling it was again time for a change and had put her apartment up for sale. Meanwhile, a friend wanted to introduce her to a widower.

“I wasn’t interested, ” says Esther “I had made up my mind to move back to New York. But her friend did not give up, and “she finally convinced me to meet Lawrence, ” says Esther.

The meeting was set up at a shopping center, at an outdoor caf é. As casual as the surroundings were, Esther says the moment was dramatic. “As soon as I stepped out of my car, I saw this good-looking man stand up and walk towards me. I felt an immediate connection. It was love at first sight.”

Lawrence, too, remembers the moment as a vivid experience: “I just knew that this was the woman I was to meet.”

Esther continues: “After going out just three times, Lawrence proposed. He wanted to marry me. This was my dream coming true. ” She says she dreamed about meeting a prince. Lawrence Koss was tall and slim. He had standing as a certified public accountant; he was a good man and an affectionate person; a vegetarian who practiced a healthy lifestyle; and a traditional Jew who liked to go to daily services at the synagogue.

On the other hand, Esther and Lawrence came from different cultures. She was Persian-born, and he was from Brooklyn, a second-generation American. “And besides, he was seven years younger than me, ” says Esther.

“I had to sort things out. I was in my 80’s. What would my children think? My siblings? My community? Would they understand? Would I be ostracized?”

At the website of, another woman of similar age asked this question: “Is it all right in Judaism to seek male companionship or marriage at my age?”

Chana Weisberg, a well-known author who writes on relationships, replied: “There is nothing at all wrong with looking for a spouse at your age. You are still a person, and you still need love, companionship and emotional support. “

But Esther was not comfortable telling her family about Lawrence. “With great hesitation, I broke the news to my three children. And I had a wonderful surprise. Not only did my kids approve, but they were truly happy for me. My siblings felt the same thing. They told me ‘don’t let him go.’ My happiness was complete.”

Lawrence, too, was being happily surprised by life. “I was gaining a new wife; adding new Persian family members; and enjoying a new food adventure. To some, low-fat kosher Persian food is a contradiction in terms. But Esther makes it happen.” Esther, he says, is one of a kind.

Lawrence and Esther went to New York for Rosh Hashana, 2007. They were glowing. Essi, a neighbor in Great Neck, described the couple as a pair of lovebirds.

Lawrence and Esther were married on September 9, 2007. Mazal tov!