Jessica Khorsandi, 25, broke a so-called dating rule when she sent the first message on JDate. “I had never messaged a guy first before, but I’m glad that I had the courage.” Michael Mahgerefteh, 27, smiles: “Me too.”
When they met in January 2015, Jess and Michael were both living in Manhattan. Michael, who graduated cum laude from Rutgers University, was working as a consultant at Deloitte, the New York accounting and consulting company, where he is currently a senior consultant. Jess, who had graduated cum laude from New York University, was working as an editorial assistant at DuJour Magazine. She is currently a senior editor of Skincare.com, a website of L’Oreal.
Jess was ahead of her time when she took the initiative in reaching out to Michael. CNN would later report that “a woman can increase her chance of going on a date with a man who is attractive to her by sending the first message.”
Jess prefers phoning to texting. A day after Michael received Jess’s message, he responded, and they began about 10 days of hour-long telephone conversations. Jess agrees with dating consultant Beela Gandhi, who says: “People can hide themselves in a text message. The phone keeps people from hiding.”
Before they met, Jess did not follow Michael on social media – not on Facebook and not on Instagram. From his JDate profile, she liked his look and reasoned that they had similar backgrounds. In fact, both the Khorsandis and the Mahgereftehs are Persian Jewish families who immigrated to the US from different cities in Iran. Michael grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Jess in Roslyn Heights, New York.
“I was really nervous before our first date,” admits Jess. “I finally just convinced myself that I need to face my fears.” Their first date was at a bar in Murray Hill. “It was so nice that Michael wanted to make it convenient for me and meet in my neighborhood.”
Michael remembers: “From the beginning, it felt good. I had never had such fun conversations. But I didn’t want to get my hopes up.”
Jess remembers: “After the first date, I knew that I really liked him a lot and wanted to continue seeing him. After about three months, I knew I wanted something long-term.”
They both agree about what makes them a good couple: “We come from similar families and share the same values; we’re both on the same page; and we communicate really well.”
After receiving a blessing from her parents, Michael proposed to Jessica on February 11, 2017. He engaged a caricature artist to meet them at a bar near Madison Square Park. The artist put the marriage proposal in writing as Michael knelt down on one knee.
The couple asked Rabbi Zevy Freundlich to officiate at their wedding. Michael attends the rabbi’s weekly Torah classes in the city. In fact, he even attended the class on the night of his first date with Jessica.
Jessica and Michael were married on November 5, 2017 at the Woodbury Jewish Center in Woodbury, New York. Mazal tov.
Dr. Leah Hakimian currently researches the question: How Jewish couples meet and marry. In the 90’s she founded two nonprofit Jewish matchmaking programs, and continues to champion the role of community in helping singles meet. She resides in Jerusalem and Great Neck, New York.