Talk about a slam dunk!
On a recent Saturday night Eli Lunzer popped the question to his girlfriend, Yosefa Heber, in front of about nearly 20,000 people at Madison Square Garden (MSG).
Lunzer has been hosting events for Jewish singles in New York City for more than 15 years and claims 40 couples have gotten engaged after meeting at his parties. It was now finally his turn.
“I knew I had to go big,” Lunzer told The Jewish Week. “I wanted it to be epic and memorable and kind of crazy. I wanted it to be unexpected and I love the Knicks and the Garden.”
Lunzer, 40, who lives on the Upper East Side, said he called MSG during the week but was told a proposal on the court was impossible. He persisted and spoke of some contacts he knew. He finally got the necessary permission and was told that he could do it under the ruse of a staring contest between him and his girlfriend that would take place during a timeout in the second quarter. The game between the Knicks and the 76ers took place on Jan., 18, 2020.
“I was nervous as hell and I didn’t sleep [the previous] Friday night,” Lunzer said. “I knew she’d say ‘yes’ but didn’t know if she’d agree to the staring contest.”
Heber, 31, an attorney who is originally from Miami, said she was surprised and cried tears of joy when he proposed.
“Even though there were 20,000 people, it felt like it was just the two of us,” she said.
Lunzer is the founder of Eli Lunzer Productions and coordinates events and branding campaigns for athletes the likes of Carmelo Anthony and Victor Cruz, as well as for numerous Jewish organizations including Migdal Ohr. Though he’ll be at the Super Bowl next week, the Academy Awards and the NBA All-Star Game, this was his big night.
Heber and Lunzer met three years ago when she hired him to plan a birthday party she threw with a friend.
“He was tall and good looking,” she said, “The minute I saw him, I knew there was an instant connection. As we got closer, I saw he wore his soul on his sleeve. I saw [that] he was kind and gentle and feels pain when people feel pain… I think that’s a special quality.”
Lunzer said he got great advice from his grandmother who was a Holocaust survivor..
“She really wanted to see me get married and start a family,” Lunzer said of his grandmother who passed away two years ago. “But thank God she did get to meet Yosefa and she loved her.”
He said that besides being beautiful, caring, honest and coming from a good family, his girlfriend showed patience and understanding.
“I realized I couldn’t live without her,” he said.
Lunzer, who can be found mixing with NBA stars, Chabad rabbis, or a bunch of singles at a party, recommends a proactive approach to dating.
“If you’re interested in someone, go start a conversation,” Lunzer said. “Don’t wait for them to come to you. Be nice. If they’re not feeling you or if there’s no spark, you can move on. But there’s no reason not to try. The right person for you is out there.”