Two rabbis in the making swore to themselves the same sensible vow: They would never fall in love with a fellow rabbi, bli neder – without making a formal commitment.
In the fall of 2006, Erin Glazer, 26, started her third year at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York (HUC-JIR). She made friends with two new arrivals, second-year students who had spent the first year studying in Jerusalem.
“From the beginning, we were good friends,” says Erin. “Actually, we were a threesome.” It was Erin, Joe and Matt.
As the year progressed, the dynamics began to change, and Matt noticed a chemistry between Erin and and his good friend Joe Skloot. He suspected how each really felt about the other, and decided to nudge them into action. He had never played matchmaker. “When the thought dawned on me to set them up, I thought, of course, it will work.”
He invited Joe for a Friday night dinner. Then he called Erin, told her that Joe was coming, and gave her Joe’s phone number so they could come together.
It worked out nicely. Joe and Erin, who at the time both lived on the Upper West Side met at the 96th Street subway stop and rode the train together to Brooklyn. By the end of the evening, on the train ride back, Joe asked Erin out on a date.
“I’m batting a thousand,” says Matt, aka today as Rabbi Matthew D. Soffer of Temple Israel in Boston.
A 2010 study, sponsored by the National Science Foundation, titled "The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary,” found that just under 30 percent of couples in the survey met their partners online. But one old-fashioned source beats the Net in making introductions: friends.
“We connect on an intellectual level,” says Erin. Joe received his A.B., cum laude, from Princeton University in modern European cultural and intellectual history.
“We connect on a spiritual level,” says Joe. Both Erin and Joe are ordained rabbis from HUC-JIR.
“And we complement each other,” says Erin. Joe does all the cooking and though he’s a vegetarian, he cooks meat for Erin.
“Our friends at HUC were delighted to see us together,” says Joe. As a matter of fact, he adds: “It’s not uncommon for two Reform rabbinical students to become a couple.”
“I never thought I’d be interested in a guy younger than myself,” says Erin. “But our one year difference in age never became an issue.”
Joe had planned his proposal for January 2009, and his cat helped the action along. The cat broke a light fixture in his apartment, and Joe took Erin out ostensibly to buy a new fixture. On the way the couple stopped under the arch at Washington Square Park. Joe bent down on one knee and proposed.
Eight of their friends were waiting for them that night to celebrate. And the celebration continued in Richmond, Virginia with Erin’s parents and with Joe’s parents in Durham, North Carolina.
The couple now lives in Westfield, New Jersey. Joe commutes to Columbia University, where he is a Ph.D. candidate in Jewish history and recipient of the Jacob K. Javitz Graduate Fellowship. Erin is assistant rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, which has more than 1,000 member families.
Rabbi Erin Ruth Glazer and Rabbi Joseph Aaron Skloot were married on May 30, 2010. Mazal tov!