How Steve met Sarah…


It was like a Hollywood romance. They were at the top of the Eiffel Tower, the winter of 2006, when Steve popped the question – actually two questions. He asked Sarah to be his wife and to be Noah’s mom.

“Noah has already asked me to be his new mommy, ” said Sarah. “Yes and yes. “

Dr. Steven (Steve) Trauben was 41 when his wife Ellen died from cancer in May, 2005. In addition to managing his chiropractic practice, Steve had to take over his household and had total responsibility for parenting his 5-year-old son, Noah. “I didn’t have much time or much interest in the Washington, D.C. social scene, ” says Steve.

Soon friends began to nudge him and push him forward. Joel Atlas Skirble would not take “no ” for an answer. He prodded Steve “to put his toe in the water. ” Joel was a generous contributor to AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and wanted to introduce Steve to Sarah Fertig, its endowment director.

Sarah, too, had changed her marital status in 2005. Sarah went from being a Mrs. to being a Ms. In accordance with Orthodox religious custom, married women generally cover their hair. “As a divorced woman, I started to go hatless, ” explains Sarah. “At the age of 38, I was starting a new stage of my life. But I was still committed to Modern Orthodoxy. “

Sarah did not become endowment director of a major league organization by being meek. By nature, she was proactive. And that was her approach to dating. She conducted a national search. “I used online dating services; I networked with friends; I networked with rabbis; and I networked with the AIPAC volunteers. I networked, networked, and networked. I knew I was planting seeds and hoping that there would be some yield. “

“Sarah told me to find her a husband, and I was determined, ” says Joel Atlas Skirble. On February 1, 2006, Joel succeeded in bringing Steve to an AIPAC event, and he met his goal of introducing Steve to Sarah. “There was an immediate connection between us, ” recalls Steve. “And when I asked Sarah for her phone number, I knew that I wanted to call her. I just thought I’d wait for a few days. “

As aggressive as she was in the search process, Sarah had a different style when it came to developing a relationship. “I let the guy lead. “

But she also gave him a little help. The day after the AIPAC gathering, Sarah emailed both Joel and Steve some photos from the event. “That was the excuse I was waiting for, ” says Steve, “to call her sooner rather than later. The same day, I phoned her, and we talked for two hours and 15 minutes. “

Three nights after they met, Steve did some score boarding. “On the one hand, I was looking for a strong woman with a good sense of self. That was definitely Sarah. I liked the fact that she was detail-oriented, and I was a concept person. On the other hand, I was Reform, and Sarah was a practicing Orthodox Jewish woman. That could be problematic. Yet, we both loved Israel. But was I ready to leave my cocoon? I remember saying, ‘Sarah, I’m just not ready to meet you yet.’ “

By their 10th date, they were both ready to commit to an exclusive relationship. “I had a list of 35 qualities that I was looking for in a partner. Sarah had 33 of these qualities. No one’s perfect. “

Steve continues: “Sarah knew how to deal with adversity – in earlier years she had to mourn the premature death of her mother and of a very dear friend. This helped her understand what Noah and I were going through. Also, she is not a jealous person. This was extremely important, as she would be coming into a house where the photo of Noah’s mom, Ellen, hangs on the wall; she would be planning a wedding for three families – mine, hers, and Ellen’s. “

Perhaps the background of their meeting suggests Nora Ephron’s movie “Sleepless in Seattle, ” which presents the new widower as an ideal catch. Ephron has written: “Part of what makes widowers so attractive is that they didn’t fail in love. “

For Sarah, Noah was an added plus to her relationship with Steve. “I loved the idea of a ready-made family. And I love Steve and Noah. “

Noah was pretty proactive himself. He proposed to Sarah six months after meeting when he asked her to be his new mommy. In the speech he gave at their wedding, he said: “I feel really good because I have another person to love and to take care of me besides Daddy. I feel really happy because of Sarah. “

Sarah and Steve were married on March 18, 2007. 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

How George met Leora

How Marty met Ila

How Gary met Lindsey

How Uri met Michal

How Etan met Marcel

How Lloyd met Shira

How Ronen met Amy

How Eliezer met Sararose

How Jay met Jamie

Published Jan. 23, 2008