Everyone wants to find their soulmate, what in Yiddish is called a “beshert.”
2006 was a year of love and besherts for the Baltimore Jewish Times. Every issue that year included a story of love from a local couple in a section called “Beshert.” The stories spoke of how the couples met, their first kiss, engagement and wedding stories.
Fifteen years later, the JT got back in touch with two of these couples to see where they are now.
Samantha and Michael Kravitz: Lawyers in love
Samantha Kravitz (then Samantha Shenk) and Michael Kravitz of Gaithersburg met 18 years ago in 2003. At the time, Michael Kravitz was a lawyer and Samantha Shenk was a producer at CBS.
Samantha Kravitz, now 41, had given up on the fruitless ways of online dating. Just as she was about to delete her JDate profile, she saw a message from Michael Kravitz, now 46.
On their second date, Samantha Shenk and Michael Kravitz shared their first “real” kiss. That night, the whole world disappeared, Samantha Kravitz said. That magic that the couple shared during their first kiss never went away.
“The spark for me has turned into a deeper love and connection,” Samantha Kravitz said. “It’s not always easy so you have to pick your moments.”
Now, Samantha Kravitz is a practicing divorce lawyer while Michael Kravitz is the associate administrator for the Wage and Hour division at the Department of Labor.
The couple has 8½-year-old twin girls, Madelyn and Hailey Kravitz. It is important for Samantha and Michael Kravitz to impart the Jewish values they learned as kids to their own children.
As lawyers, Samantha and Michael Kravitz work hard at keeping their lawyer skills out of the relationship.
“We both use our mediation skills and try not to ‘outlawyer’ the other person,” Samantha Kravitz said.
Being a married divorce lawyer can be difficult, as the job can be somewhat depressing at times. However, Samantha Kravitz loves helping people who are going through really difficult times in their lives. She keeps it separate from her personal life.
“I have a wonderful, supportive family,” Samantha Kravitz said. “But not everyone has that so I get to help when it is time for them to separate from their families.”
After a long and hard day at work, Samantha Kravitz is able to come home and appreciate her husband even more.
Samantha and Michael Kravitz say that communication is key to a successful relationship: Talk to each other, not to other people.
Jenn and Elie Zussman: The marriage experts
Jenn Zussman, 42, and Elie Zussman, 40, of Gaithersburg met on Dec. 1, 1999, at the base of Masada in Israel. Jenn Zussman noticed Elie Zussman first. Wanting a reason to talk to him, she asked if he could put her journal in his backpack. The pair then spent the next week and a half together in Israel.
Years later, they have two daughters and a pet. Jenn Zussman is able to spend lots of time with their daughters Maya, 8, and Zoe, 10, as she works from home as a skin care consultant. Due to COVID-19, chemist Elie Zussman also works from their home office in the basement.
While the two have not been back to Israel together, they both went on separate Momentum trips in 2019. The couple hopes to go back to Israel as a family for their daughters’ bat mitzvahs.
“Elie is from San Francisco, I’m from Baltimore and we both went to colleges in Georgia, which is why we were able to be on the same Birthright bus,” Jenn Zussman said. “So it’s kind of beshert that we even met in general.”
During the pandemic, the couple used the time at home to help their kids explore their talents. Their oldest daughter Zoe is fascinated by frappuccinos and teas from Starbucks. However, when Starbucks closed for the pandemic, she saw an opportunity to sell her frappuccinos in her neighborhood. Their youngest daughter Maya is an artist. She draws pictures of animals for her business, Pawsitive Pets.
As parents, Jenn and Elie Zussman focus on treating their children like young adults. They want their children to be independent and autonomous.
“Jenn looked at me and said that our role as parents is to prepare our children to be able to navigate this world without us,” Elie Zussman said. “In order to succeed as parents, they need to know that the world isn’t all rainbows and butterflies.”
To do good for their community, the Zussmans and their children chose a family in need to bring food to. They also pick someone in the neighborhood to give their extra challah to every week.
“As much as we love to give our children trips and a beautiful home, we also want them to realize that it could be taken away at any moment so do not take anything for granted,” Jenn Zussman said.