“Many people talk about the decline of civilization,” said Rebecca Kaplan, Oakland city councilwoman and mayoral hopeful. “I think there’s a real shadchan [matchmaker] shortage. The world needs more of them. People move so often, they struggle to meet their beloveds. We were lucky we had one appear.”
Kaplan was speaking of her friend Natalie Zeituny, who made a shiduch (match) between Kaplan and Pamela Rosin. The two were not an obvious pairing. But leave it to a woman who describes herself as a “modern mystic and intuitive healer,” and chances are good that she probably knows a thing or two about the age-old practice.
Given their personalities, romantic interests and Jewish backgrounds, as well as “how they expressed themselves intelligently and emotionally,” said Zeituny, of San Francisco, it “felt like a good match.”
Kaplan, 43, moved to the Bay Area from Boston in 1995. She grew up in Toronto, where she attended an Orthodox Jewish day school.
Rosin, also 43, grew up in Westchester, N.Y., without much Jewish education. She moved to the Bay Area in 2003. She is a somatic healer/counselor and restorative yoga teacher and is studying to become a psychotherapist.
Their story dates back to the summer of 2012, when “Natalie was tired of listening to us both whine about being single,” Kaplan said.
Rosin was skeptical, however, when Zeituny first told her about Kaplan.
“I lived in San Francisco and didn’t follow politics,” Rosin said. “I’m a woo-woo healer and never would have imagined myself with a politician.”
Zeituny introduced the two via Facebook, while, simultaneously, Kaplan spotted Rosin on a dating site and sent her a message.
“This person didn’t post a picture … but then I started putting it together,” Rosin said, “that it was the same person [Zeituny had suggested]: She’s a Virgo, Jewish, lives in Oakland, and I realized the no photo must be because she was a public figure.”
At the time, Kaplan was up for re-election and was a bit busy, to say the least. She told Rosin that sometimes she gives Torah talks at the East Bay Church of Religious Science, an interfaith congregation known for its gospel choir. Rosin had been there once or twice and was eager to go back.
Kaplan was invited to share some Torah thoughts at the church on the Sunday morning following her re-election in November 2012, and she immediately recognized Rosin in the crowd. “It was as if my spirit jumped out of my body,” Rosin said. “She was beaming and waving at me as if we were old friends. I’m an actor and not shy, but suddenly I felt as if I didn’t remember how to wave or smile.”
After the service, Kaplan was headed into San Francisco, so she offered Rosin a ride. “We had a half-hour together,” said Kaplan, “and have been together since.”
Rosin said she knew immediately that Kaplan was her life partner: “Even before I met her, I had this feeling that my beloved is close.” A few weeks after they met, Rosin was scheduled to attend a gathering of 100 friends in the woods for Thanksgiving. Without a second thought, she invited Kaplan along.
Kaplan says the feeling was mutual — and that Rosin went beyond in confirming it when she dressed up as Marilyn Monroe and sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” at a birthday party/mayoral campaign fundraiser for Kaplan. (Kaplan had confessed once that she always wanted to be serenaded with that song, and Rosin, comfortable performing, was more than happy to oblige.)
“She’s a radical idealist lefty who’s actually putting ideas into action,” said Rosin. ”She is all the things I wanted in a partner, but never thought it would come in this package.”
Kaplan returns the compliments. “She is incredibly creative and brings this beautiful reverent irreverence to life,” she said. “We really do make each other stronger in what we do in the world.”
Kaplan proposed at home on their one-year anniversary.
Noting that their relationship overlapped with legal marriage equality, both joined in the celebration in the Castro when the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act. “It felt really different to have the legality issues removed,” Kaplan said.
They married July 26 at a weekend celebration at Saratoga Springs Retreat Center in Lake County. The weekend included a Shabbat dinner, talent show and Havdallah. Rosin, who is big on crafting, made their chuppah, centerpieces, her own headpiece and the cake topper.
Guests wrote their wishes for the couple on long colorful ribbons that are now hanging in their living room.
They were married by Maggid Jhos Singer and Julie Batz, co-leaders of the Coastside Jewish Community in Half Moon Bay.
Rosin’s dress was in its fourth incarnation as a wedding gown; it was first worn by Kaplan’s mother 48 years ago. Rosin also wore teal cowboy boots, which matched Kaplan’s tie.
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