‘In the Jewish tradition, but also extremely strange’

Frankie Sandmel met Elaina Marshalek in January 2017 while the two were at a Jewish activist retreat in Berkeley, California.

After pairing up for a familiarization exercise, Ms Marshalek, 31, said there was “definitely a spark” between her and Mx. Sandmel, who uses gender-neutral polite titles. But before they could discover it, Mx. Sandmel, 31, returned to Chicago and Marshalek to her home in Berkeley.

Six months later, they reconnected at the Queer Talmud Camp organized by Svara, an organization that focuses on studying Jewish texts through an uncanny lens. While there, the spark between them developed into a formal romance.

“There was a lot of flirting that week,” Mx said. Sandmel. At a dance party on the last night of the five-day camp, the couple shared their first kiss. By the time they left, they were a couple.

Two weeks later, they temporarily reunited when Marshalek attended another retreat in Boston, where Mx. Sandmel recently transferred to begin studying catechism at the Hebrew University. Before long, however, Mx. Sandmel’s education became too costly and the couple broke up with their long-term relationship in November 2017.

Next year, as summer approaches, Mx. Sandmel and Miss Marshalek signed up to attend another part of Svara’s Stickman Story Camp without telling each other. Upon learning that each other has registered on the first day, the two decide to become a couple in the camp and the rest will be calculated later.

This time, when distance forced them to part, Mx. Sandmel and Miss Marshalek have found a way to be together. They began dividing their time between Boston and Berkeley, an arrangement they plan to continue until Mx. Sandmel was ordained a rabbi this spring.

“Frankie’s heart is bottomless,” said Ms. Marshalek, adding that she knows Mx. Sandmel is “who the whole time, despite the feeling of knowing that, to me, rationally, sounds like bananas.”

Mx. Sandmel, who was primarily raised in the Chicago area, graduated from Macalester College. Ms. Marshalek is from San Mateo, California, and graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, where she received her master’s degree in engineering. She is currently the director of programs at Svara, where she begins work in February 2021.

The two became engaged in the summer of 2021 and celebrated the occasion with a pair of events. That July, they held an engagement party in Oakland, Calif. Before that, Mx. Sandmel secretly asked guests to bring rings or candy rings that they could give to Mrs. Marshalek during the festival. A month later, the couple visited Mx. Sandmel’s parents’ home in Portland, Maine. While there, Mrs. Marshalek gave Mx. Sandmel a financier, Mx. Sandmel’s favorite cookie, with a ring in it.

They were married on January 2 outside the Brazil Room, a location on the grounds of Tilden Regional Park in Berkeley. Julie Batz, a layperson and Svara faculty member and professor at the Universal Church of Life, was officially celebrated. Both Mx. Sandmel’s parents and Marshalek were among 99 vaccinated guests in attendance, all of whom were required to undergo rapid PCR and Covid tests prior to the completely outdoor event.

At the reception that followed, Saul Goodman’s Klezmer Band provided entertainment for the couple and their guests, many of whom also took turns leading niguns, traditional instrumental songs. of the Jews. Mx said celebration. Sandmel, is “a very traditional Jew, but also extremely quirky.” ‘In the Jewish tradition, but also extremely strange’

Fry Electronics Team

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