Matchmaker: How Josh met Robyn
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Matchmaker: How Josh met Robyn

Two Cornell alums, Josh Tamaroff and Robyn Finklestein, bonded over their love for animals and NYC

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.

He says: “We met at Cornell University in 2004. I was a freshman, and I tried to pick up Robyn at a fraternity party.” She politely disagrees: “We met six years later when we were neighbors in a Manhattan apartment building. We first noticed each other on a day when I was wearing my Cornell sweats and doing my laundry.” Who is right? “We agree to disagree about when we met,” says 30 year-old Josh (Joshua) Tamaroff. Robyn Finkelstein, 31, adds: “But we agree that we were lucky to have met.”

They dated several times before Josh moved to a different apartment, but in the same neighborhood of Murray Hill. In the course of the move, Robyn met Josh’s mom, who encouraged Josh’s relationship with Robyn. “And not just because she was Jewish,” says Mrs. Tamaroff. “I instantly liked her.” She told her son: “Robyn really likes you.” Josh himself wasn’t sure how Robyn felt and wondered how his mom knew. “I could just tell,” says Mrs. Tamaroff.

Mom knows best and in 2010, Josh and Robyn became a couple. They are both energetic and hard-working, love to explore Manhattan and love their jobs in the city. For the past seven years, Robyn has been an Interior Designer at HDR Architecture and Josh is a Vice President at Avista Capital Partners, a private equity firm.

The couple has fond memories of Cornell University, where Robyn received a BA in Psychology and Josh, a BS in Industrial and Labor Relations. “I always dreamed of marrying someone from Cornell,” confesses Robyn. Robyn later received an MS degree in Interior Design from Pratt Institute and Josh, an MBA with honors from the Wharton School of Business, where he was a Palmer scholar.

Both Robyn and Josh have a love for pets. She grew up with a cat and he always had a dog. “Though we are without pets today, that may change,” suggests Josh. On Valentine’s Day 2014, Josh proposed. Though they chose the ring together, Josh wanted to surprise Robyn with the packaging. He went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and selected a tuxedo for Robyn’s favorite stuffed dog, Remington. When Robyn came home that Friday night, there was the ring in the paws of Remington.

When looking for wedding gowns, Robyn found the dress of her dreams – designed by Judd Waddell. Waddell’s background in architecture was a match for Robyn’s tastes. Robyn’s twin sister, Alyssa, also loved the dress. And since Alyssa was getting married in June 2016 (also to a Cornell alumnus whom she met at a Cornell reunion), the sisters decided they would share the dress. “It became our dress,” smiles Robyn.

Robyn and Josh were married on November 1, 2015. Josh’s cousin, Rabbi Sandy Zisser, officiated. 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.

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