They were both looking for community. “That’s what we found at Moishe House St. Louis,” says David Elias, 30. And that’s where they found each other. In the words of its founders: “Moishe House is a place for young Jews to connect post-college. Moishe House is a community.”
David, a St. Louis native, lived in Houston, Kalamazoo, and Kansas City before returning to St. Louis, where he co-founded “Next Dor STL,” a community driven-space, somewhat like Moishe House. “At the time, I was always hosting or attending events,” says David.
Jacqueline (Jackie) Medintz, 29, a Florida native, moved to St. Louis in 2010. She recalls: “Though I came with my family, I was still looking for a community of peers.” A message on Facebook alerted her to a Halloween event at Moishe House, where she and David had their first conversation. The connection came six weeks later.
It was New Year’s Eve, 2011, and David was hosting a celebration. Jackie came to the party with three of her sisters. “Not only did I click with Jackie that evening, but I also introduced Jackie’s younger sister to my good friend. As it worked out, they got married a year before Jackie and me,” David said. For the Medintz family, it was a very happy New Year.
Both David and Jackie are passionate dog people. “It was a good omen when David connected with my beagle, Lexi, on our first date,” said Jackie. “Lexi ran out the front door, through the snow, and David raced two houses down to catch her.”
David remembers two other things from their first date. “I felt bad that the phone kept ringing, but I noticed how Jackie took it in stride. On the back of a napkin, I wrote in Hebrew: Ani ohev otach, which translates – I like (or love) you.”
Soon after they started dating, David moved into Moishe House St. Louis, where the residents receive a subsidy in exchange for hosting a number of programs each month. Some of the residents are grad students, some are young professionals and they are all Jewish leaders.
David, who works as an accountant, has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in Jewish studies from Miami University of Oxford, Ohio, and a double master’s degree in accounting and business administration from Lindenwood University.
When there was an opening for a new resident at Moishe House, the roommates asked if Jackie could move in. Generally, residents of Moishe House don’t date. But there was some precedent. “And since David’s roommates initiated the move, I was happy to accept,” explains Jackie.
Jackie’s resume met the criteria. She has a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing from the University Of Texas Health Science Center of San Antonio, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Texas. She recently completed her master’s of science in nursing from Maryville University and currently works as an oncology nurse.
David is a sentimental guy. Before proposing in August 2014, he asked his prospective father-in-law for permission. At their formal proposal, David showed Jackie the napkin he had saved from their first date.
After their wedding, Jackie and David would like to visit Quito, Ecuador, where Jackie’s mom was born. Jackie’s grandmother still lives there – a 104 year-old Holocaust survivor.
Jackie and David are to be wed in St. Louis on September 6, 2015. 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.