Arielle Sosland was 19 when she met Nathan at a Hillel event in 2012. “I knew that going to Hillel would help me find a Jewish man,” she says with a smile. Curiously enough, Nathan’s full name is Nathan Hillel Rubin.
Nathan was 22 when he moved to New York for graduate school and attended the “Shabbat on Wheels” event to experience Friday night services in different synagogues around Manhattan. Nathan reminisces: “I was immediately attracted to Arielle, who was leading the group. Since there were only about 12 of us, I managed to sit next to her for much of the program. At the end of the evening, we exchanged phone numbers.”
Arielle was then a sophomore at New York University (NYU) and an intern with the Hillel College Engagement Internship program to help students discover their place in the Jewish community. She and a mentor designed the “Shabbat on Wheels” initiative as an engagement project. Arielle’s goal was to engage 60 students, including Nathan.
They were out of touch for about a month and then Hurricane Sandy hit at the end of October. Nathan recalls: “Out of the blue, I reached out to her to ask how she was managing.” Afterwards, they started texting and decided to get together for a Friday night meal. Arielle invited him for dinner in her dorm.
Soon they were a couple. Arielle reflects: “Early on, I knew that I wanted to date seriously and to find someone similar to me. In addition to many other things, it’s nice that we keep kosher at the same level. The first time I met Nathan’s mom, who is modern Orthodox, she wanted to know when we were getting married.”
Arielle continues: “We both know what we want and try to find a way to make it happen.” Nathan graduated from Macalester College and earned a master’s degree in organizational behavior from the N.Y.U. Tandon School of Engineering. He founded a media group, Millennial Politics, to raise the profile of next generation progressive candidates and organizations. He’s also a manager in the talent management department of Axis Capital.
“Actually, we’re both driven,” says Nathan. “When Arielle had the idea for “Shabbat on Wheels,” she made it happen. When she was only 22, she created, directed and produced an Off- Broadway show – “Can Do Duck: The Musical” – based on a children’s book written by her dad, Dr. Morton Sosland.” Arielle is an NYU graduate with a major in educational theater and is currently a drama teacher in a Brooklyn public school.
After three years of couplehood, they formalized their relationship. First, Arielle insisted that Nathan receive a blessing from her parents. He received two. They bought the engagement ring when visiting Nathan’s parents in Sarasota, Florida. But Arielle wouldn’t wear it until there was an official proposal and she wanted to be surprised by the timing.
And so, the box with the engagement ring remained unopened until Nathan got down on his knee in the presence of friends and family at a housewarming in their new apartment. The housewarming party then became a proposal party.
The couple’s mantra is from “Can Do Duck”: I say I can. I make a plan. I get right to it. And then I do it.”
Rabbi Abigail Sosland, the bride’s aunt, officiated at the wedding. She noted how Arielle and Nathan share the same interests and values. “They have a basic belief in improving the world.”
Arielle and Nathan were married on July 3, 2017 at the Mansion on Main Street, an event space in Voorhees, New Jersey. Mazal tov.
Dr. Leah Hakimian currently researches the question: How Jewish couples meet and marry. In the 90’s she founded two nonprofit Jewish matchmaking programs, and continues to champion the role of community in helping singles meet. She resides in Jerusalem and Great Neck, New York.