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Last Stop: Meah Shearim

Riki Goldstein

Every wife must adjust to her husband’s personality and sensitivities, but it’s a rare brave and holy woman who can cross cultural boundaries to marry into the close-knit Yerushalmi strongholds.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Shifra was visiting Eretz Yisrael during her seminary year when a friend invited her to come along on a hike. The day-trippers turned out to be Yerushalmi women and girls. One lady — the organizer of the outing — was struggling to keep up, and Shifra good-naturedly helped her climb. When Shifra returned to her sister’s home that evening, her brother-in-law informed her that someone had called to inquire about her — this lady, who had a son! “I was like, what on earth!? I just joined them for a trip!” Shifra recalls. “But once my parents had been called and it emerged that my brother-in-law knew this boy personally, we decided to go for it. The parents were both interested, so we met in my sister’s house. “I saw there was chemistry, it definitely had potential. I said, ‘It’s okay with me,’ and there was a l’chayim and vort. I had come on the trip an oblivious seminary girl, and I returned a kallah.” And that’s how a Yankee girl ended up married to a bona fide Yerushalmi. Shifra’s story is not that unusual. While the majority of Yerushalmi men marry within their own communities, there are several American and European women who have married into the gold-caftaned Yerushalmi groups. Most commonly, as in Shifra’s story, someone close to the bochur knows the girl and thinks the match would work in terms of personality and goals. As in many communities, a girl whom a friend or relative knows personally is an attractive shidduch prospect.

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