With help from preschoolers, Beth Tfiloh rabbi proposes to preschool administrative assistant

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From left: Rabbi Eli Yoggev and Phaygi Chinn
From left: Rabbi Eli Yoggev and Phaygi Chinn (Courtesy of Beth Tfiloh Congregation)

Normally on Fridays, Beth Tfiloh Congregation has a Kabbalat Shabbat service for its preschoolers. But something different happened at the service this past Friday.

Beth Tfiloh Rabbi Eli Yoggev asked Phaygi Chinn — the shul’s nursery camp director, administrative assistant and teacher resource — to marry him.


“I ended up bringing all the preschool kids in there, and then we started singing some Shabbat songs, like usual,” Yoggev said. “And then we sang ‘Esther, won’t you marry me?’ which is the song that sometimes kids sing around Purim time. … And then I shifted it to ‘Phaygi, won’t you marry me?’ and I think I had surprised her very well.”

Yoggev then gave Chinn a ring and proposed. And Chinn said yes.

Yoggev and Chinn had been dating over the past two months, Yoggev said, though they have known each other for four-and-a-half years.

The idea to propose in this way came to Yoggev that Friday morning, he said. At first he was nervous, but “once I had the idea in my head and I had some people who could help me implement it, it felt pretty good,” he said.

After Chinn said yes, Yoggev said he felt “on top of the world.”

Yoggev and Chinn are still discussing the details of when and where the wedding might take place, but Yoggev noted that they would like for all of the preschoolers to be in attendance.

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