Teri Jedeikin and Josh Rosenstein
First Date: All night desert hike south of Jerusalem on Tu B’Av, 2009
Wedding Date: 22 Sept 2013
Venue: A Sukkot tent in the Milldale Campsite at Pearlstone Conference Center
Favorite Activities: adventure travel, hiking, being in nature, music
South African Capetown-native Teri Jedeikin met Israeli Josh Rosenstein on an all-night, full-moon desert hike south of Jerusalem. Teri was six weeks into a seven-week Jerusalem trip where she studied at a yeshiva and participated in a Jewish leadership summit.
Josh said on the hike that he and Teri “walked next to each other, whispering all night.” He fell in love with her “at first site,” he remembers. “I just saw her sitting there and she had a pink bandana and pigtails. I said, ‘I’ll have that one.”
All night he and Teri “were sharing our secrets and telling our stories and I was having this profound experience,” Josh said.
He credited serendipity for bringing them together on the hike. “My friend organized it and invited me to come because I had a car,” he said. “She just randomly heard about it and reached out. And at the last minute there was an extra spot available.”
It had happened on Tu B’Av, the Israeli holiday of love! It was clearly destiny, he thought.
For Teri? Not so much.
“I just saw him unashamedly checking me out. I was like: ‘Ugh. Arrogant Israeli,” she said.
The 20 or so hikers were instructed to choose a buddy to ensure nobody wandered off in the desert. “Josh made a beeline for me,” Teri remembered. “Josh said: ‘Will you be my partner?’ I said: ‘Is that a proposal?’ And he said: ‘Be careful what you ask for.’” In the morning, Teri remembered: “He said: ‘Let me cook you breakfast.’”
But Josh, smitten, did not give up. “I was like: ‘Really? You’re just going to walk away from that amazing connection? Come on!’” Josh got her number from a friend and convinced her to go out with him. “We had some magical dates,” he said. “Our last date was me taking her to the airport and putting her on an airplane for a one-way trip to South Africa.”
Teri nonchalantly told him he could always visit, “not believing he’d follow up with it.”
Alone and bereft, Josh said he “spent a good five months aggressively trying to forget her.” Nothing worked. Even his jobs, working freelance in landscape design and agriculture, seemed dull. “I was in a gut-wrenchingly boring municipality meeting and I was texting Teri: ‘What if I came to visit South Africa?’”
She texted back: “Only if you like swimming in crystal mountain streams, walking on spectacular beaches and seeing amazing wild animals.”
Just like that, Josh said he “was about to drop $1,500 to see a woman who may or may not be interested in seeing me.” To justify the trip to himself, he “set up a bunch of opportunities so if indeed it was a total bomb it wouldn’t have been a total waste of time and money. I signed up to volunteer at an organic farm,” and made arrangements to meet people involved in South African agriculture.
Teri was “a little nervous” about the visit. “It may or may not” happen, she reasoned, but “unless you take the risk, you’re never going to know.”
Josh spent the first week in Cape Town, and the next week on the organic farm. That, Teri said, made her miss him, and she visited him on the farm. It was peak fig season, and Josh said he was “busy canning up a storm of a fig jam.”
From there they took a “three-week odyssey road trip around South Africa,” said Josh. “It totally delivered” on Teri’s promises. “There were Indian Ocean beaches with crashing surf, elephants, swimming in crystal streams.”
“That was that,” said Josh. “Then I left.”
They’d planned to see each other again in about eight months. “One month later, we’re like: ‘Wait, we’ve got to figure this out,’” said Teri. “Then I was on a plane to Israel and we had our Israel odyssey.”
They knew they wanted to find a home together, or at least live in the same latitude. But where? They had a lot of options, then Baltimore called. “Pearlstone offered me a job and Teri a volunteer opportunity,” said Josh.
It suited them, said Teri, because “we both longed for that intentional community that was earth-based, and farm-based.”
But moving to America wasn’t easy. Although Josh was half-American, Teri wasn’t a citizen. “I needed to figure out how to stay in the country and earn and figure out a visa,” said Teri.
She rejected Josh’s first marriage proposal – she worried he proposed to get her a green card – but said yes to his next proposal the following year.
They married during Sukkot on September 22, 2013, at the Milldale campsite at Pearlstone. “We transformed it into a farm-y Sukkot festival,” said Josh. As Pearlstone’s farm manager, “I grew the majority of the food.” Josh and Teri then flew to South Africa for a second wedding party and a honeymoon: a five-day rafting trip down the Orange River in Namibia.
Since moving to Baltimore, Teri has earned her master’s degree in social work. Josh has started his own business, Edible Eden, a company that incorporates farming and home-grown food into landscaping design. They have a dog, Minka, and a two-and-a-half-year-old son, Malakai.
Josh and Teri love being outside in nature. “We love going for forest walks. We take beach walks along the Chesapeake Bay, where Malakai can run around and Minka can get off her leash.”
Josh is the cook of the family. “He loves to prepare food,” said Teri. If left to herself, Teri said she is “the type of person who would only eat bread and peanut butter.” With Josh she said she has “somebody to nourish me.” Josh replied: “If I cooked a beautiful meal every evening and had nobody to share it with, I’d be very lonely.”
Teri said she sometimes jokes that she married her grandmother, because her grandmother loved to cook as well, and because Josh shares personality traits with her. “All the things I loved about my grandmother are things Josh has,” says Teri. “He’s got that extravert element. He’s got that confidence and chutzpah. He encourages me to take risks in life.”
Josh finds Teri “extremely entertaining” and loves Teri’s “huge heart. Her capacity for love and care and kindness and compassion are inspiringly significant,” he said. “And she’s hot,” he added.
“We both have been wandering Jews,” Teri said. But these days they are “creating a home that isn’t geography bound.”
Erica Rimlinger is a Towson-based freelance writer.