How Sharon met Hila


Hila never thought she would marry a short guy. Sharon never thought he would marry a tall girl. Never say never.

Sharon Daniel loved his medical school studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, but he had other interests as well. In the fall of 2008, he enrolled in a pottery class. “For three hours a week, I was in another world,” says Sharon.

When you check out the lists of “Best Places to Meet Single Guys,” one recommendation often appears: If you have a specific hobby, pursue your interest in a class. You will further your knowledge and may meet a new man in the process.

But that wasn’t why Hila Patchi studied pottery for four years. Hila liked art and needed the relaxation of something totally different from her full-time job of working with children at-risk. Anyway, what are the chances of meeting a guy in a Beersheba pottery class who is religiously observant, educated, older than Hila and the right height?

In fact, aside from Sharon, no other guys were taking the course. He was surrounded by 17 women.

But only one caught his eye – Hila, and they soon became friends. The first person to see that the relationship could go beyond friendship was Hila’s sister, Yael, a mother of five, who came along to take a pottery class. She gave Sharon the “thumbs up” and encouraged her sister to move ahead to the dating stage.

Hila coolly considered his pluses. Sharon was a good friend, and he was both educated and religiously observant. Yet two things made her uncomfortable. When they met, Hila was 28, and Sharon was two years younger. “Not significant,” concluded Hila. Her two sisters had married younger guys.

But there was the glaring second problem. She was 5’11 and Sharon was 5’5.” Now, that seemed insurmountable.

Then, in the summer of 2009, Hila took a spiritual trip to the city of Uman in Ukraine to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, as many Jews do to seek the intercession of the tzadik (righteous man).

Yedidya Meir, an Israeli journalist, described the scene at Uman the day before Rosh Hashanah. “The air in Uman is saturated with prayers. Each of the 20,000 worshippers here is also an emissary for something like 50 people at least. Everyone sent prayers with me too. And when I say ‘everyone,’ I mean everyone. Not just religious Jews, either. I was asked to pray for health. I was asked to pray for education. I was asked to pray for love. I was asked to pray for a new startup…”

Hila Patchi also carried a list of friends to pray for, and Sharon’s name was on the list.

“From the time I left Uman, I could not get Sharon out of my head,” says Hila. She returned to Beersheba and took a proactive step – she sent him a short text message, suggesting that maybe they should go out. “Just what I was thinking” was Sharon’s reaction.

Besides pottery, they shared other interests. They loved the same kind of music, and they both played the guitar and flute. And they both loved to travel and were trekkers. One of their favorite hiking spots was along a spring in the Golan Heights, where Sharon proposed to Hila in December 2009. Nobody thought any more about the issue of a few inches difference in height.

Sharon and Hila were married on February 7, 2010. Mazal tov!


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