Much like the plot of a current animated movie, Zach and Ricki, two Jewish superheroes, spent the first years of their lives in the same area before being scattered for college. Only recently did they reunite in Washington, D.C. at a Shabbat meal.
Note: Although they look incredibly adorable sitting side-by-side in the photograph below, Ricki and Zach are actually not dating. But many thanks nonetheless to the friends from Massachusetts who have already congratulated them on finding each other.
GTJ: Did you know Zach was Jewish Guy of the Week material when you first re-met him? Or did it take a little while to discover?
R: Jewish Guy of the Week at first sight – that’s a bold statement right there. But in all seriousness, Zach was definitely a Jewish Guy of the Week at first sight since everyone I meet seems to know him, including my home and camp friends, as well as several college friends who are now in DC.
GTJ: And Zach, you must have met a bunch of other Jewish girls at the Shabbat dinner where you two reunited… What set Ricki apart from the other ladies?
Z: There’s not a single person that I know that she doesn’t already know.
GTJ: You two grew up in the same area, have a ton of the same friends, and went to Jewish camps in the same foundation. How did you manage to miss her during the first 18 years of your life?
Z: I think our paths actually did cross a couple times in Marblehead, MA – but I was 2 or 3 and don’t remember much from those years. Other than that, I think it can be largely attributed to Ricki’s broken ankle and our mean camp director.
GTJ: Was Zach as dashing at 2.5 years old as he is now?
R: Oh, absolutely. When 2.5 year old Ricki met 2.5 year old Zach, dashing was definitely the first word that came to mind.
GTJ: He stayed in Massachusetts for school; you went to Chicago. Who made the right decision?
R: This might be a biased answer – but although his winters were slightly better than mine, I’d have to say I made the right decision because it made me realize I want to ultimately end up close to home. It was also great to spend 4 years in a completely new city and pick up some Midwestern habits, like learning to not always be in a rush (which is always a challenge for us east-coasters).
GTJ: But Zach, wouldn’t you say this gives you a slightly higher claim to being the better Patriots fan?
Z: Of course I would say that. I think my Tom Brady desktop, the picture of him I carry in my wallet, my attempt at the Tom Brady hairdo, and my overall die-hardness give me this edge, too. I also think that Ricki’s decision to study in the city of the Bears, the team that handed the Patriots a crushing Super Bowl loss in the 1985 season, raises some questions about her allegiance.
GTJ: Wow, quite the accusation… Ricki?
R: Hey, I have my Brady jersey! But no, I don’t carry a picture of him in my wallet so Zach gets a couple extra points right there.
GTJ: If you had to marry Zach off to a female biblical character, which would it be? Why?
R: I’m no biblical expert, but after a little research I think I’d go with Esther. Aside from being the best person to dress up as for Purim, Esther had a strong spirit, was strikingly clever, and seemed to embody the Jewish values that govern our lives. Esther obeyed the orders of King Ahasverus but always stood her ground and knew the ‘right thing to do’; she seemed to epitomize what we would call a true mensch. Above all, she proudly identified herself as a Jew (once Haman was out of the picture, of course) and led Ahasverus to give Jews the right to defend themselves against their enemies. These seem like pretty admirable qualities, but if nothing else, I can totally see Esther as a Patriots fan…
GTJ: Zach, do you accept?
Z: Esther? How could I say no? Age difference might be tough though.
GTJ: You recently invited Ricki to a group Shabbat dinner at your place. What dish did she bring? What do you think this says about her?
Z: Ricki brought a bottle of wine. Ricki has been quoted as calling this a “cop out.” In some books this may be true. But in the book of Friday night dinners, this must mean that Ricki loves the Shabbos.
GTJ: If you’re together chosen as Jewish Guy and Girl of the Year, and win the $1 million prize that had to be used together, what would you want to do?
Joint response after some discussion: Of course we would invest one quarter of the winnings back into Gather the Jews. We would put a $250,000 down payment on the project to fund Fenway Park renovations. We’ll send Sam Zuber through med-school in exchange for free medical care for life. The rest will be used to take all of our friends on a wicked trip to Israel.
GTJ: Oxford American Dictionary recently named Sarah Palin’s “refudiate” to be the invented word of the year. If you could add one word to the English Dictionary to better describe Ricki or a thing she does, what would it be, and what would it mean?
Z: Jwoww – Jewish Woman of the Week. Wooo.
GTJ: What do you want to say to the Jewish community on the last day of Hanukkah?
Z: Since Hanukkah fell so close to Thanksgiving this year, I’d like to mention 8 of the many things that we can be thankful for as Jews: 1) Latkes 2) “bubbe, bubkes, chutzpah, feh, klutz, nosh, etc…” 3) GTJ 4) Shabbat 5) Amare Stoudemireand Shyne 6) Rabbis 7)Israel 8)Jdate
R: When you light candles tonight, think about Jews all over the world who are doing the exact same thing, reciting the exact same prayers – it’s pretty neat. And, of course, I hope you found some time to get together with friends to eat latkes and play some dreidel.