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Anniversaries

Krain

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Mayer and Deborah Krain celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary July 16 with their children, grandchildren, family and friends.

Soltoff

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Sandy and Paul Soltoff of Cherry Hill, N.J., observed their 60th wedding anniversary on Nov. 10. The milestone event was celebrated with their children, Brad (Liz) Soltoff and Ilyse (Jonathan) Shapiro, and grandchildren, Marissa Soltoff and Emma and Molly Shapiro.

Couple of 25 Years Made Love Connection over Feline Infatuation in Exponent Purr-sonal Ad

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It was love at first — meow?

For anyone else, a personal ad depicting himself as a cat rather than a human being would probably be a turnoff, but it was meant to be for Mike and Anne Ginsberg.

Mike placed a personal dating ad in the Jewish Exponent’s classifieds section in 1990 — from the perspective of his cat, Otis.

He was seeing someone at the time — who was not Jewish — but knew it was going nowhere, so he thought, “Well, I can put it in the Exponent and she’ll never see it.”

The $87 ad led with “SNC: Single Neutered Cat.”

The Ginsbergs kept an original copy of the classifieds ad that Mike posted in 1990. | Photos provided

“She was afraid of my parents’ miniature poodle,” he recalled. So when it came between choosing her or Otis, it was an easy decision.

The ad was a hit.

“I just thought it was a creative way to stand out,” he said.

Anne’s ex hated her cat, too, so Mike seemed like a claw-some catch.

“I thought, ‘OK, I have to meet the guy that wrote this,’” she said. She responded to the ad on theme: “I’m a single female cat and I’m sick of having my person come home after yet another blind date from hell and tell me that there are no nice Jewish guys out there, so prove her wrong!”

Mike felt indifferent about most of the inquiries he received, but decided to give it one last shot. On the final day he could check his voicemail responses, there was a message left only 10 minutes prior. It was Anne.

Their first date was the following day, Dec. 29, where he took Anne to see a movie at the Ritz on Walnut Street.

In his signature mullet and two earrings — the look has since faded, fortunately — Mike drove up with his flesh-toned Ford Escort, decorated with Grateful Dead stickers. He didn’t think he stood a chance; he thought Anne was too sophisticated for him.

“His hair was longer than mine at the time,” she laughed, “wearing more earrings than I was.”

With nothing to lose in Mike’s mind, all the anxiety of dating went out the window. They held hands on the walk from a bar to the Ritz, and when Mike later met Anne’s cat, grinning down at it, Anne checked out his “cute” smile.

“I was shocked that we were connecting,” Mike said. A couple weeks later, he threw away a box of roughly 115 letter responses to the ad (unknown to Anne until 25 years later).

But their connection shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since the two had actually met three years prior at a Halloween party.

A few beers in waiting for his friends to show up, Mike chatted with Anne, cloaked in a witch’s hat, but just didn’t seem to “click.”

When his co-worker asked Mike where he wanted to sit at the party, he said, “As far away from that witch as possible.” It didn’t help that she happened to also have a cackling laugh.

Fast forward to their second date at a Grateful Dead cover band concert.

“She doesn’t have to love them, but she can’t hate them,” said Mike, a huge Dead fan. The couple had a good time, and have since seen the real band 12 times and danced to “If I Had the World to Give” at their wedding.

They fit into each other’s lives seamlessly, meshing with each other’s friends and families like they’ve been there all along.

They got engaged on the anniversary of that first date, and married Sept. 6, 1992 at Congregation Kesher Israel. Mike’s father blew up that Exponent ad where it all began as the cover for their wedding guest book.

Mike and Anne Ginsberg

They resided in Queen Village until 2011 with daughter Maddie, who is now settled in Nashville.

They’ve been together through everything: new jobs, synagogue life, travel, a lot of moves, the loss of parents, the birth of their daughter (also announced in the Exponent).

“It takes a close relationship,” Mike said of the loss of both his parents within a short time. “You’re dealing with something that you don’t want to deal with, but it’s a part of life. I can’t imagine having that and not having your best friend, who happens to be your wife, get through that [with you].”

“You need to know that you can lean on each other,” Anne added.

After 25 years of marriage, the jubilant and ever-laughing couple said a lot of love, tolerance and humor has kept them going.

It also helps that they’re not joined at the hip (though it may sound like they are). They enjoy separate activities with friends, but come back and share it with each other.

“We don’t have to be with each other 24/7,” Mike said, which adds to a healthy relationship.

“I’ve known some couples that say, ‘Oh, we never fight. We do everything together. We like all the same things.’ And I think to myself, ‘How boring is that!’” Anne exclaimed.

The family continued to grow with each new pet, too, with subtle persuasion by Mike and Maddie. They wore down Anne with Oliver the pug, one of six in a litter.

“The only thing cuter than one pug puppy is six pug puppies,” she said adoringly, so they adopted the one to join their three cats.

Mike and Anne Ginsberg with daughter Maddie.

Expanding their musicality beyond the Dead, the pair later discovered a mutual love of opera after a random splurge subscription to The Met. They’ve met tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo, as well as soprano Denyce Graves of Carmen notoriety, who Maddie — full name Madeline Denyce Garcia (after Anne’s old roommate, not the Dead’s Jerry) Ginsberg — is named after.

They don’t always agree on music, however. (AC/DC without earplugs didn’t sit well with Anne.)

But when Metallica came to the Mann Center one season, Anne told Mike “the only way I’m going to go with you” is if he also bought tickets to the ballet.

“I thought, he’ll never agree to this,” she laughed. But Mike showed up to her workplace with an envelope with four tickets: two for the ballet, two for Metallica. “Well, I guess I gotta go now!”

Though he got rid of his rocker demeanor, Mike has since added a handful of tattoos to his look after his 40th birthday, something he never thought he’d do.

Maddie, now a 17-year-old high school senior, plans to get a matching one with her father — most likely an infinity symbol with three hearts — once she turns 18.

All of their different interests keep the family grounded.

“My dad used to say to me, ‘How can anyone not get high on life?’” Mike said. It may be a corny connotation, but he believes in the statement. “Watching [Anne and Maddie] together, even if they’re just sitting on the sofa hanging out, that’s the most important thing in the world.”

Although they’ve grown together the past 25 years, Mike said he doesn’t feel any older — and grateful they met each other when they did rather than put up with the anxiety-producing dating app era of today.

“We’ve been married five years and we have 20 years of experience on top of it,” he joked.

“Sometimes I look at him and it’s like we just got married, and sometimes I look at him and think it’s been 250 years,” Anne laughed. “[But] when it’s the right person, you will know.”

Sometimes, that right person is a cat.

[email protected]; 215-832-0737

Mazer

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Dr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Mazer of Boynton Beach, Fla., formerly of Glenside, recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary with family and friends. Dr. Mazer practiced podiatry in Glenside and Willow Grove for 50 years. They have three children, the late Alan J. Mazer, Carol Dershaw (Stuart) of Huntingdon Valley and Jody Franco (Ken) of Ninety Six, S.C. They have four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Wolkoff

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Sherry and Mark Wolkoff of Marlton, N.J., observed their 50th anniversary on Sept. 3. The milestone event was celebrated with a clambake given by their children Stacey (Jason) Mandel and Lauren Wolkoff (Elliott Crooke), and grandchildren Maxie and Leo Mandel, in keeping with their love of the beach. The event was held at the Moose Lodge 216 in Atlantic City. The Wolkoffs have spent the past 41 years vacationing with their family at the Jersey shore, and look forward to many more years by the sea. Sherry Wolkoff is a former writer for the Jewish Exponent‘s special sections.

Grossman

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Reba and Izzy (Isidore) Grossman celebrated 60 years of wedded bliss on August 10. They were surprised in June with a luncheon given by their children and grandchildren, including Harvey and Adriane, Danielle, Renee and Adam, Sharon and Alan, Brett and Jared, Jill and Chuck and Selena and Jeramiah.

Staiman

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Mr. and Mrs. Marvin H. Staiman of Williamsport will observe their 70th wedding anniversary on August 17.

They were married by the late Rabbi Samuel Blinder of Congregation Ohev Shalom. Mrs. Staiman, the former Jean Alpert, is a native of Williamsport. She is the daughter of the late Rebecca and Benjamin Alpert. She graduated from Williamsport schools and from the former Dickinson Junior College, now Lycoming College, with honors.

Mr. Staiman, also a native of Williamsport, is the son of the late Rose and Walter Staiman. He served in the Army and attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania before joining the family business, Staiman Recycling Corporation, as a third generation member. He is a former city council member and current chair of the Williamsport Planning Commission.

Jean and Marvin are recipients of honorary doctorates from Lycoming College: Marvin in 2000 and Jean in 2015.

They are the parents of six children, 19 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren. The Staiman family will celebrate this special occasion, along with Mr. Staiman’s 90th birthday, with a family reunion in Teaneck, New Jersey on August 20.

Spekter

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The family of Bernard and Ruth Spekter congratulates them on their 70th wedding anniversary. The couple celebrated the joyous occasion on April 20th with a luncheon at the Radnor Hotel. They are parents to Michael Spekter, Barbara Ghen (Emil) and the late Robert Spekter, grandparents to Matthew (Anna), Evan (Terri), Katie (Neil), Eirinne and great-grandparents to Isabelle, Willem, Olivia, Elsbeth and Jacob.

Weinstein

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Arnie and June Weinstein of Langhorne celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary on June 22. Their children, Eileen and Joe Donahue of Kawaii, Hawaii; Hal and Denise Weinstein of Atlanta, Ga.; and John and Valerie Weinstein of Holland, Pa. held a beautiful luncheon in their honor. Their nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren were also there to celebrate, along with other family and friends.

 

Kline

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Mickie and Marshall Kline of Warminster celebrated their 69th wedding anniversary June 19. Joining in the celebration was their daughter Joy and son-in-law Artie Slakoff, son Jeff and daughter-in-law Michelle Kline, grandchildren Abby, Danielle and Kevin, Beth and Matt, David and Amanda, and five great-grandchildren Louis, Micaela, Jack, Gianna and Claire.