Sleepless in Los Angeles

(Photo Provided)

Erin & Andy Katz

First Connection:
December 2015. Checking out antique shops and holiday lights on 34th Street in Hampden,
followed by dinner at Grano.

Wedding Date:
Aug. 13, 2017

Beth Israel Synagogue


Favorite Activity:
Day trips, Philadelphia Flyers games, going to the Jersey Shore with friends, spending time with their two rescue pups, Izzy and Bernie, and trying new restaurants

Erin and Andy met at an event that might be among the least likely places to find one’s soulmate: the Jewish Cemetery Association of North America’s conference. Erin and Andy never were a typical couple, however.

Wearing nametags and networking all day, neither was looking for love at the time, nor did they find it among the cemetery-related booths and seminars. They did, however, become friends.

Los Angeles native and resident Erin, who worked for Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, was running the conference. Andy attended the conference representing the Beth El Congregation in Baltimore.

“We became instant friends,” said Erin. After the conference, they continued the friendship from opposite coasts.

(Photo Provided)

“It was a friendship that grew into the best kind of love,” said Andy. “We were both there for one another during difficult periods of time in each other’s lives, and that helped grow a strong friendship that blossomed into love.”

At first, the logistics of a long-distance friendship proved tricky. But then Erin was offered a job in Baltimore, and because she loved the city, she took it. She continued to be struck by how “kind and genuine” Andy was. Even though she says she had “given up on love … I thought to myself: This is the kind of person I’d want to be with.” Erin’s friends had a feeling about Andy too: “They said: I knew it, even when you were friends with him, that you’d get married.”

Erin said when she looks back at how they met, she wonders at all the pieces that had to fall into place perfectly for them to meet, become friends and get together. “I do the ‘what-ifs’ in my head,” she says. “I say to Andy: ‘What if you weren’t at that conference? What if we never developed such a wonderful, loving friendship?’”

But their friendship did develop into one that they took to the next level. For their first official date, “I took her to Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden. She loves funky neighborhoods,” said Andy. “At the end of all these crazy, Christmasy houses, there’s one Jewish house at the end of the block with a sign that says: ‘Oy vey!’”

An L.A. native, Erin loved Hampden: “It reminded me of my old stomping grounds in Venice Beach,” she said. And she loved Baltimore, calling it: “the perfect change of pace. People are real. There are real seasons. It’s a big city, but it feels like a tiny town.”

Andy proposed to Erin with a ring he overheard she liked. “I took her completely by surprise,” said Andy. He proposed in their house one weeknight while Erin was cooking dinner.

They held their wedding ceremony at Andy’s synagogue, Beth Israel Congregation, officiated by Rabbi Jay Goldstein and Cantor Jen Rolnick. The reception was held at the Bolton Street Synagogue with 65 close friends and family.

For the honeymoon, Erin said the two “are hoping to go to Aruba following the High Holidays. With Andy’s job as executive director of a synagogue, this is a terrible time to take a vacation!”

For now, the two just enjoy doing everything together.

“We’re still pinching ourselves,” Andy said. His favorite parts of being married are just the ordinary pleasures of “waking up and saying, ‘Good morning, wife!’ And then I make her coffee.”

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelance writer.

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