“My late husband wished me to re-marry,” said Judy Brown, “but it took me sixteen years. At first, I couldn’t even think about a second marriage, and then when I was ready, there was no one waiting in line to meet me.”
She started asking friends about setting her up. Brown, 67, a teacher, dancer and choreographer in Jerusalem, has a huge circle of friends who adore her, but the blind dates came slowly.
So she compensated with networking. In August, 2012 she went to Ethiopia with a group informally known as the Trekkers. She asked Ellie Morris, whom she'd met on an earlier Trekkers trip, if she knew any eligible guys.
“I immediately thought about my neighbor, Trevor Davis,” Morris said. “On paper this looked like a possibility – many similarities and both had suffered tragedy.” Davis’ wife had died in 2001 at the age of 55.
Brown and Davis are both graduates of New York schools – she, from Queens College, he from Cooper Union; they both made aliyah from New York – he in 1968, and she in 1990 and they both love music – he, as an amateur, and she as a professional.
Thirty years earlier, Morris had made a successful match, and she was ready to try again. Brown and Davis were interested and they exchanged email addresses.
“The singles scene was difficult for older people like me,” said Davis, 70, but Brown met his two criteria: She had been married before and she was a non-smoker. Similarly, Brown was satisfied: Davis had been married before and had children.
They had their first date during Sukkot in October, 2012. “When he walked into my home, he immediately started showing me pictures of his grandchildren,” recalled Brown. “That was a plus for me.”
“Our date went well, but then I didn’t hear from Trevor for 10 days,” Brown noted. She decided to text him, choosing her words carefully: “Are you OK? I haven’t heard from you.”
“I was happy to receive Judy’s text,” Davis said. “I had just been busy.” A retired electronic engineer, Davis works full time as a caregiver – to his six grandchildren, two dogs and three cats. He’s also a volunteer with the Border Police in his community of Asseret, about 35 miles west of Jerusalem.
When Davis was on his way to Jerusalem for their third date, Brown heard that her father was dying in the US. Davis’ response: “I’ll take you to the airport.” For Brown, those six words sealed their relationship. When Brown returned home, Davis was waiting for her at the airport. Soon, they became a couple.
There was one issue to resolve. Brown is active in the egalitarian services of her Jerusalem synagogue. For Davis, this was a non-issue since he admits that he’s a “closet egalitarian.” For Brown, it was a compromise to sit in the separate women’s section in Davis’ synagogue.
“It’s all about compromise,” Brown said, “and the decision to spend more weekends in Jerusalem than in Asseret.” In any case, they had decided to maintain two homes after their marriage. They would start a new life together, but still maintain their former links.
“My late husband would have liked Trevor,” Brown said. “They have so much in common.”
Brown and Davis were married on November 3, 2013. Mazal tov.
Dr. Leah Hakimian currently researches the question: How Jewish couples meet and marry. She has founded two nonprofit Jewish matchmaking programs, and continues to champion the role of community in helping singles meet. She lives in Jerusalem and Great Neck, NY