By Erica Greenblatt and Matthew Borenstein
It wasn’t a typical first date, and certainly not a typical first-date conversation. But technically, it wasn’t even a first date. Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s Wisdom Pairings—a professional networking event put on by Federation’s Innovation team—served as our first meeting. A year and a half later, we got married, and Federation continued to play a big role in our wedding weekend.
What a first meeting it was at Wisdom Pairings. After hearing from the evening’s speaker, we were paired together in a breakout room, as our initial pairings both no-showed (thanks, y’all, and thanks to Erica’s manager for suggesting she attend). We talked QAnon conspiracies, living in space, kayaking, and a whole selection of random topics.
There was a connection.
When the time was up, Matthew meant to send Erica a Zoom direct message about an upcoming kayak trip. It went to the entire group. But it’s a good thing Erica realized it was for her and knew how to respond with a proper DM. That message led to a Linkedin conversation (Wisdom Pairing is intended for professional networking, right?) which led to a first date at Eventide Brewing.
A year-and-a-half later, we began the weekend of celebration with a Shabbat dinner at the Selig Center; we met through Federation, after all, and are both involved in the Jewish community in our own ways: Erica, the Director of Philanthropic Outreach for the ADL’s Southern Division, and Matthew, who serves on the Federation Innovation Committee. We continued with a Saturday morning service and Kiddush luncheon at the Selig Center before our Sunday wedding at Zoo Atlanta.
It turns out, Wisdom Pairings wasn’t our first conversation (although neither of us said anything on the initial Zoom). We were first set up, or at least the first attempt at a setup, just after Erica moved to Atlanta from New York for a promotion with the ADL. Matthew’s aunt and uncle are best friends with Erica’s sister’s in-laws. But there was no meeting, then, just a couple of texts. Life got in the way for the next couple of years—until Federation brought us together for good.
Wisdom Pairings might have been our first Federation event together, but it won’t be our last—we are excited to continue our involvement.
Erica Greenblatt and Matthew Borenstein were married on June 19 at Savanna Hall, Zoo Atlanta. The couple resides in Brookhaven, Ga.
Wisdom Pairings is a series of events that aims to create person-to-person connections. The next event is for professionals who work at Jewish organizations, and is August 22 at 5 PM. Click here to register