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How Ben and Loren Met
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How Ben and Loren Met

Making a new home thanks to Chabad, their home away from home.

Dr. Leah Hakimian is a Jewish Week online columnist. She 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.

Ben Arbov and Loren Ben-Shimon grew together during the pandemic, and plan a 2022 wedding. (Mark Kopko)
Ben Arbov and Loren Ben-Shimon grew together during the pandemic, and plan a 2022 wedding. (Mark Kopko)

Ben Arbov first noticed Loren Ben-Shimon at a Shabbat dinner of the Chabad Young Professionals in Chelsea, New York in 2018. Ben was then 27, and Loren, 25. 

Loren: “There was no assigned seating and it just happened that we found places next to each other.” 

Ben: “I liked her from that first evening, though we didn’t talk much. I thought she was pretty and nice. But I backed off when I learned that she was in a relationship.”

Still, the couple continued to meet at Shabbat and holiday dinners and Ben continued to check on Loren’s relationship status with Rabbi Levi Shmotkin, director of the Chabad YP. 

Ben: “Our relationship happened organically and continued to evolve from one Chabad event to the next.”

Loren: “Rabbi Shmotkin and his wife, Perel, who is a co-director, are very warm hosts who make everyone welcome and comfortable. It’s a great environment to meet new people.” 

At the Chabad YP Sukkot barbecue, Ben noted that Loren was unattached, and their relationship moved forward a step. Soon they began to date and realized that they both loved pizza.

In fact, they had much more than pizza in common. Ben was born in the U.S. and grew up in Tel Aviv. He served as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces and then graduated from Tel Aviv University with a degree in math, economics and psychology. In New York, he founded GreatestGiftApp.com, a gift registry that helps parents plan for their children’s future, which he just launched.

Ben is half Bukharian and half Ashkenazi. “I was brought up in a traditional Jewish home and my cousin suggested that I go to Chabad events when I moved to New York four years ago.”

Loren’s traditional Jewish upbringing is similar to Ben’s. She grew up in Los Angeles to Israeli-born parents, with an Egyptian/Moroccan background. 

Ben: “It was important to me to find someone intelligent, funny and energetic, and speaking Hebrew was a huge plus.” Loren and Ben say they were both raised with similar values. 

Loren started going to Chabad events at UC Berkeley, where she received a B.A. in Political Science and Government. She also attended Chabad in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she worked for Goldman Sachs. 

Loren: “Chabad is my home away from home. So it was natural for me to attend Chabad events when I moved to New York in 2018.”

Loren is currently a Senior Associate in the Transaction Banking business at Goldman Sachs. “It was important for me to find a partner who appreciates my ambition,” she said. “And that’s Ben.”

‘It was important for me to find a partner who appreciates my ambition,’ she said. ‘And that’s Ben.’

When COVID hit New York, the couple decided to quarantine together, and Ben moved into Loren’s 300-square-foot studio apartment. That March, an Atlantic magazine article, “How Not to Tank Your Relationship in Quarantine,” noted that “couples are either going to grow together or grow apart.” Loren and Ben grew together and they soon moved to a larger apartment.

In May 2020, Ben met Loren’s family in Los Angeles and later that year Loren met Ben’s family in Israel. Another similarity between Loren and Ben: Both of their families are in the jewelry business. Ben’s dad was the go-to person for Loren’s engagement ring.

On his 30th birthday in May 2021, while the couple was vacationing in Montauk, Ben took the ring, got down on his knee and proposed.

They are planning their wedding for the summer of 2022 in Israel, and hope Rabbi Shmotkin, who was there when they got together, will officiate.

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.

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