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Marriages

BUZGON – SCLAROW

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Susan and Howard Buzgon of Huntingdon Valley announce the marriage of their daughter, Lori Nicole, to Steven Eric Sclarow, son of Audrey Sclarow of Philadelphia and the late Stuart Sclarow.

The ceremony and reception took place on Nov. 17 at The Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue. Rabbi Lynnda Targan officiated.

Sister of the bride April Pokotilow served as maid of honor. Niece of the bride Addison Pokotilow served as maiden of honor. Bridesmaids included sister of the groom Pam Russakoff and Jen Lengyel.

Nephew of the groom Jules Russakoff served as best man. Groomsmen included Mark Cooperberg, Scott Kober and Scott Weiner.

Completing the wedding party were nephew of the bride Dylan Pokotilow serving as ring bearer and niece of the groom Molly Russakoff  serving as flower girl.

The ketubah signing was witnessed by Miriam Lerner and Zak Goldman.

After a honeymoon in Hawaii, the couple lives in Philadelphia.

 

Couple Trades Registry for Honeymoon Fund

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asya zlatina and sam nemirovsky
Asya Zlatina and Sam Nemirovsky celebrated their marriage at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. | Classic Photo and Video

For young couples, honeymoons are an opportunity to explore the world, leave behind the grind and enjoy the early days of married life with one another in a special destination.

They visit historical landmarks, eat in famous restaurants and enjoy cold beverages on the beach. Not too bad, huh?

There’s one problem: Honeymoons are expensive. Very expensive. There are travel expenses and lodging costs. And those delicious meals and sunny beaches? Not free.

Asya Zlatina and Sam Nemirovsky will soon leave behind the Philadelphia area for their Caribbean honeymoon. The recently married couple didn’t have much trouble planning their trip — not after ditching the idea of a wedding registry for a honeymoon fund.

Zlatina, who is 31, and her husband have each been living by themselves for quite some time. They are fully functioning adults, with jobs and responsibilities and bills to pay. They also have appliances and furniture and enough stuff to fill two living spaces — enough stuff to make a traditional registry unnecessary.

Asya Zlatina and Sam Nemirovsky | Classic Photo and Video

“We’re not 18. We’re not 20. We’ve been living on our own. I’ve been living on my own for at least the last 10 years. I already have a lot of things,” Zlatina said. “He’s also a mature male adult. He also has beautiful things, he has his own house. Practically speaking, a lot of household items we don’t need.

“And aside from that, think about how annoying it is for guests to have to schlep gifts.”

Zlatina got the idea from her cousin, who got married about three years ago, then vacationed with her husband in Argentina and Chile thanks in part to their honeymoon fund. She suggested the idea to Nemirovsky, citing the convenience for guests.

“I’m pretty open minded. I probably erred for a couple moments, then said it was a novel idea,” Nemirovsky said.

The couple set up an online link asking for donations to their honeymoon fund. Nemirovsky harbored some nerves, hoping people wouldn’t think they needed to donate and bring a gift.

That didn’t happen.

“I was a little pleasantly surprised with how it worked,” Nemirovsky said.

Zlatina is a professional dancer, but also works on the side for Chevra, a group that organizes social and educational events for Jewish professionals and graduate students. Part of her job responsibilities include reaching out to people to attend the events and, one day several years ago, she called a stranger named Sam.

Nemirovsky started attending Chevra events and developed a friendship with Zlatina. Soon they were dating, and this past summer they got married at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, overlooking the picturesque Inner Harbor.

“The wedding was probably the most fun day of my life,” Zlatina said.

The ceremony preceded the High Holidays, so the couple was too busy to think much about their honeymoon. Zlatina then immediately left for Europe with her dance team.

She frequently travels across the world for work, so she suggested they don’t go too far for their honeymoon. Nemirovsky nixed a trip to Miami, citing his desire to check out Iceland. They compromised and agreed on the Caribbean.

Zlatina and Nemirovsky said friends and family complimented them on the idea to start a honeymoon fund. They haven’t yet heard from others interested in doing the same thing, but neither said they’d be surprised to see some of their more mature peers follow the same path.

And they’re enjoying married life.

“It’s wonderful. It’s so fun and so nice to grow and learn about one human being and share with them your world,” Zlatina said. “I learn a lot from him. He pushed me to be a better person and not to be afraid of change or growth or trying new things.”  ❤

[email protected]; 215-832-0737

Throwback: Three Generations of Weddings

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Lisa Berkowitz at her wedding | Photos by Selah Maya Zighelboim

While her mother and daughter shared stories in her well-lit kitchen, Lisa Berkowitz, 60, came to the kitchen table with two photo albums stacked on top of each other.

She rifled through the pages of the smaller album. There’s the photo of her family from just two years ago, with her daughter Emily Fridberg, 33, in a wedding dress. There’s the photo of Fridberg surrounded by her bridesmaids. Fridberg’s dress was “funky,” with a comfortable fit and a top with a snakeskin-like pattern, while her bridesmaids wore green dresses of different shades, lengths and styles.

Top: Emily Fridberg. Bottom from left: Barbara Boroff and Lisa Berkowitz

That’s something all three women had in common. They didn’t make their bridesmaids wear identical gowns.

“We think a little bit out of the box,” said Berkowitz’s mother, Barbara Boroff, 83.

Boroff got married when she was 21 years old in 1955, the same year that Rosa Parks was arrested, Lady and the Tramp premiered and the first McDonald’s opened. Twenty-eight years later, her daughter Berkowitz got married at 25 years old in a large synagogue affair. Then, 33 years after that, her granddaughter Fridberg married at 31 years old at a Chester County venue.

Berkowitz opened the second album, the one from her own wedding 35 years ago. They did a photo shoot in her parents’ bedroom, with their green floral wallpaper behind them. She wore a white dress with a lace top and simple bottom.

When it comes to the dress Boroff wore at her wedding 63 years ago, it’s something she could see on a bride today: A lace dress with little sleeves.

“[My wedding] was much less sophisticated in the planning [than my daughter’s and granddaughter’s],” Boroff said. “Nobody even had planners.”

One difference between the weddings of different generations is the price tag. Putting a wedding together has become more expensive and, Boroff noted, more complicated. She doesn’t remember the cost of her own, but Berkowitz’s wedding cost about $35,000, or close to $90,000 in today’s dollars. Fridberg’s wedding, meanwhile, cost $100,000 and had about 100 fewer guests.

Boroff met her husband Alan, who died two years ago, when she was a senior in high school and he was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. She met him through one of his fraternity brothers, whom she also dated.

“In those days, high school girls … dated the college boys,” Berkowitz said, “or so she tells us.”

They dated for several years.

Then, at Alan Boroff’s graduation, his father handed him his draft letter.

At the time, the Korean War was coming to an end, so Alan Boroff spent the next two years away, first at various military bases, then in Japan. The two wrote each other every day. Boroff kept every letter, she said, and after he died two years ago, she read them all again.

“One of the special comments was, ‘I love you very much, but I’m leaving a page blank so I can just think about you,’” Boroff said.

When he returned, the two got married at Temple Sinai.

They moved to Cambridge, Mass., after getting married, so Alan Boroff could attend Harvard Law School. Then they moved back to the Philadelphia area, where they settled down and grew their family. They were married for more than 60 years.

“We really did a lot of growing up together,” Boroff said.

Years later, Boroff played matchmaker for her own daughter, Berkowitz. During Rosh Hashanah one year, Berkowitz’s future mother-in-law asked Boroff is she could set Berkowitz up with one of her three sons.

They ended up setting her up with her son, Arthur.

“In those days, we all did a lot of blind dating,” Berkowitz said. “He didn’t call for six months, and we went on our first date in January.”

The two grew up in the Har Zion Temple community, though they didn’t know each other. The whole synagogue knew about their relationship while they were dating and, when Boroff and Berkowitz’s mother-in-law passed each other in the community, they would just shrug their shoulders. The two were dating, but there was no commitment.

After about two years, Berkowitz told Arthur that she didn’t want to just keep dating. She wanted to get married or break up. He told her he would make a decision in January, on the anniversary of when they first started going out.

The day of their anniversary, Berkowitz, who worked as a teacher, received a dozen red roses at school. The flowers came with a note that had a simple message: Lisa, yes, Arthur.

Later that day, he bought her a skirt, as she wanted to pick out her own ring.

They got married that October at Har Zion.

Their wedding was the largest of the three, with about 350 in attendance. The assemblage was so large they had to get creative with the bar, going with one that had a circular shape, so that a lot of people could get to it at one time. Rabbi Gerald I. Wolpe, Har Zion’s popular rabbi at the time, officiated.

“I do remember what this child of mine said after the wedding,” Boroff said. “She said, ‘It’s perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted.”’

“I wanted to get married,” Berkowitz added. “So I was just happy to have a party. I was just happy to be getting married.”

Emily Fridberg with her bridesmaids

In what might be a family tradition, Berkowitz also played a role in her daughter’s matchmaking as well, but with a 21st century twist. While Fridberg was a graduate student in St. Louis, Berkowitz encouraged her to try JDate.

That’s how Fridberg met her husband Jonathan. He was only the second person she met through the dating site. After graduation, the two moved to Chicago, then to the Philadelphia area a year ago.

Fridberg knew he was going to propose — they had gone ring shopping together — but she didn’t know when. After about two years of dating and during a weekend away together, he popped the question.

They were engaged for about a year and a half. Though they were living in Chicago then, they wanted to get married in Philadelphia, closer to where both of their families lived. Berkowitz ended up doing much of the planning with the help of a wedding planner. She hadn’t used a planner for her own wedding, but was glad to have the help for planning her daughter’s.

They chose the Phoenixville Foundry as their venue, and a Reconstructionist rabbi officiated.

“We knew we didn’t want to get married in a synagogue,” Fridberg said. “We wanted to get married in the place where the party would be kind of rustic-themed.”

Fridberg and her husband wanted the wedding to feel like it was just the two of them there. They also wanted the wedding to just be fun, with lots of dancing.

“A wedding is a happy occasion, a joyous occasion,” Fridberg said. “We don’t want to stress about little things.” ❤

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Longtime Couples Reflect on Married Life

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A lot can happen in 70 years.

Seventy years ago, Israel declared independence, the World Health Organization was formed by the United Nations, Mahatma Gandhi was murdered and, closer to home, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first-ever NFL championship.

But also 70 years ago, some Philadelphia couples were beginning their lives together.

And now — all these years later — they reflect on the secrets to a long, healthy marriage and the lives they’ve built since then.

Mildred “Micky” and Marshall Kline celebrated their 70th anniversary in June.

They met when they were 19 and 25, respectively, on a double date — each paired with other people.

“One of my girlfriends made it a double date for me,” Micky Kline, 89, recalled. “She was with Marshall and I was with a friend of his, and that next Monday night after we went out that Sunday, he called me. That’s how we met.”

They started dating after that, and “that was it,” she laughed.

They married in 1948 and are now proud parents, grandparents and great-grandparents.

After their kids were off to college, Micky Kline worked for Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel for 18 years as well as the Philadelphia office of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.

Marshall Kline, 95, who served as a technical sergeant in the Army attached to the Marines and earned three bronze stars, worked in business. He noted they’ve had their ups and downs as any married couple does, but they’ve come out smiling.

“We traveled to many parts of the U.S. and the world,” he wrote in a letter. “Our children are married over 40 years and we are blessed with four grandchildren, married and with six great-grandchildren. Intelligent and beautiful, all are intelligent and beautiful children. We are so lucky to have children we can praise.”

“You just have to give and take,” Micky Kline echoed. “We’re very proud of the way our children turned out and grandchildren, they’re just wonderful. We did something right.”

She offered some key advice to those who hope to reach their own 70 years of wedded bliss: Never go to sleep angry.

“You have to work at a marriage,” she added. “You have to keep being close with each other. That’s the story, honey.”

Nowadays, many couples meet via dating apps on their phones,

which allow the users to send messages to each other before they even meet.

But long before there were apps, Paul and Evelyn Becker struck up conversation the classic way: handwritten letters.

Evelyn’s brother was married to Paul’s sister, which was how the pair, who just celebrated their 72nd anniversary, first met.

It didn’t quite work out.

“We just went out a couple times, once or twice, and we didn’t hit it off,” Paul Becker, 97, recalled, noting they still saw each other at family events but “we stopped seeing each other as a couple.”

But then Paul Becker went to serve in the Army and wanted to receive mail while he was away. He began writing letters to those he knew and sent one addressed to his future wife’s family, as it was his family, too, via his sister.

Evelyn Becker, 94, answered the letter.

“And then I wrote another, and she answered that one,” he said, “so then I started writing Evelyn, and we wrote maybe for a year.”

He’d gotten a furlough from the Army and returned home and they gave it another shot and began dating again.

After he was discharged in 1945,  they continued seeing each other. They married in 1946 and raised three daughters.

“We’re just compatible,” he said. “We help each other. We respect each other’s space.”

They weren’t “mushy letters” he was writing, he noted. But they were enough that they created a relationship and led her to accept his offer of marriage.

They married at Beth Am when it was at 58th and Warrington — it later moved to to its current suburban location — and the reception was held at Paul Becker’s parents’ house. He remembered cooking turkey and briskets with his mother.

When they were younger, they liked to travel together. They spent two months across Asia, in countries such as Japan, China and what is now Thailand. They spent a month in France where they just rented a car and traveled around.

Enjoying time together is not just what Paul said is the “secret” to their marriage, but should be a tenet in any marriage or relationship.

“Do things together,” he advised. “We never felt the need for a separate vacation.”

Bernard and Ruth Spekter had a meet-cute that sounds like it came right out of a romantic comedy.

Bernard Spekter,  a World War II veteran who served in the Air Force and earned a Bronze Star, started a commercial office supply company in Philadelphia, of which he served as president and owner for many years. Ruth Spekter worked as a secretary at the time for a company he visited to solicit business.

“I just saw Ruth casually and then I met her again in Atlantic City,” Bernard Spekter, soon turning 99, recalled, “and we struck up an acquaintance.”

From there, their relationship progressed. They got engaged and were married in a rabbi’s study in 1947. They recently celebrated their 71st anniversary.

In that time, he said — as the other couples mentioned — it was hard to find an apartment. So when one became available in West Philadelphia, they seized the opportunity.

“We were supposed to be married in June, but because this apartment became available, we took it and her mother thought that because we got this apartment and married so soon that perhaps Ruth was pregnant, which was not the case,” Spekter laughed.

They lived in the one-bedroom, Murphy bed apartment for many years before moving to a larger space.

The two, who’ve belonged to Main Line Reform Temple for more than 65 years, are proud parents of two children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

In their lives together, they’ve traveled all over, met popes and fostered an appreciation for art — especially Ruth Spekter, who has long been active with the Barnes Foundation, as they lived in Lower Merion; conducted art tours throughout the U.S., Europe and Canada; and carried a suitcase of books about Albert Barnes with her when they traveled.

“I’ve been dragged through more museums that I can count, but that was my wife,” he said with an affectionate laugh.

To him, there are many pillars of a strong, lasting relationship — even in the midst of hard times.

“First of all,” he said, “the woman I married is one of the most loving caring [people]. I could never have gotten where I am without her understanding, and bringing up children that I’m  proud of today. Just love each other and respect each other and try to help each other.

“You have to be able to say you’re sorry when you do something wrong,” he continued, adding, “and fortunately, my wife is so forgiving.” ❤

SETZMAN-LEIBOWITZ

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Lynn and Mike Setzman of Richboro, and Karen Brodsky and Don Leibowitz of West Windsor, N.J., announce the marriage of their children, Robert Stuart Setzman and Jenna Meryl Leibowitz.

The wedding took place March 24 at the Ballroom at the Ben and was officiated by Rabbi Eric Wisnia and Cantor Stuart Binder.

The matron of honor was sister of the bride Mara Fox, and the brother-in-law of the bride Michael Fox was a groomsman. Brother of the groom Scott Setzman was the best man, and sister-in-law of the groom Jocelyn Setzman was a bridesmaid. The flower girls were Sydney and Payge Setzman, and the ring bearer was Ethan Fox.

The couple honeymooned in Italy and now resides in Philadelphia.

Marks-Charny

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Bonnie-Kay and Bruce Marks announce the marriage of their daughter, Hannah Sophie Marks, to David Louis Charny, son of Judy Charny and the late Rick Charny.

The wedding took place at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees, N.J., and on July 7 at Talula’s Garden followed by a reception at Warehouse on Watts. Officiants included Rabbi Aaron Krupnick; the groom’s mother; and the bride’s brother, Micah Kagan.

The wedding party included the bride’s brothers and their wives, Micah and Amy Kagan, and Aaron and Emily Marks, plus the groom’s brothers, Jacob Charny, his fiance Bassel Rabah, and Adam Charny. The bride’s nephews and niece, Levi and Gabriel Kagan, and Ethan and Molly Marks completed the wedding party.

Hannah is the granddaughter of Peggy and Stanley Goldenberg, and Elizabeth and Edward Marks. David is the grandson of Helen and the late Myron Schneeberg, and Elaine and the late Robert D. Charny.

The couple honeymooned in Peru. They reside in Philadelphia.

Levay-Warchol

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Alan M. Levay of Delray Beach, Fla., and Donna Rockhill of Hampton, N.J., announce the marriage of their children Lisa Barrie Levay and Alan Scott Warchol.

The ceremony took place on June 23 in Beach Haven, N.J., and was officiated by Paul Camuto. The wedding party consisted of Sylvia Levay, grandmother of the bride; Hope Gottlieb, sister of the bride, who served as matron of honor; bridesmaids Jessie Gottlieb and Lindsay Gottlieb; and best men Robert Warchol, Ryan Warchol and Ryan Metcalfe. The bride was given away and escorted by her father, Alan Levay.

Following a honeymoon in Grenada, the couple will reside in Mount Dora, Fla.

Fajge-Gordon

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Marsha Polin Fajge of Richboro announces the marriage of her daughter, Erica Brooke Fajge, to Jared Michael Gordon, son of Arlene and Kenneth Walters of Pompano Beach, Fla., formerly of Richboro.

The wedding took place on Aug. 11 in Stowe, Vt.

Gary Cooperstein, uncle of the groom, was best man. Cheryl Fajge, sister-in-law of the bride, served as matron of honor. Erica Jill Gordon, sister of the groom, was bridesmaid. Zachary and Ryan Fajge, nephews of the bride, were groomsmen and ring bearers. Erica’s mother, Marsha, and brother, Adam Fajge, escorted her down the aisle.

Erica is the daughter of the late Henry Fajge, and Jared is the son of the late Robert Gordon.

The couple honeymooned in Quebec and Montreal. They live in Hatfield.

Perez-Hassman

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Howard Hassman and Andrea Perez were married July 14 at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla. The groom was escorted down the aisle by his parents, Joseph and Lillian Hassman. The bride was escorted by her eldest son, Ruben Perez Perez. Also, in attendance was the bride’s mother, Amanda Perez Perez.

Cole-Occhiogrosso

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Diedre and Stephen Cole of Huntingdon Valley announce the marriage of their daughter, Ashley Brooke Cole, to Michael Cullen Occhiogrosso, son of Deborah and Francis Occhiogrosso of New City, N.Y.

The ceremony and reception took place at Union Trust on July 22, 2017.  Steven Stein, the bride’s uncle, officiated.

Lauren Ferry served as maid of honor and Lora Schlein Grasso was the matron of honor.  The bridesmaids were Julia Judd Cardamone, Meghan Cianfarini, Jessica Silverberg Konopka, and Molly Anolik Vasaturo.

John Occhiogrosso, brother of the groom, was the best man. The bride’s brother Jared Cole, Brett Harvey, Bryan Farrell, Jon Gellis, Michael Weinstein, Jon Smolanoff, and Jon Schneider were the groomsmen.

Ashley’s grandparents, Helen and Sheldon Stein, completed the wedding party.

Ashley and Michael honeymooned in Mexico City and Oaxaca, and reside in Astoria, N.Y.