Drew Feldman noticed the profile of Danielle Lavey on the message board of the CoronaCrush Facebook group. He messaged her on Friday, April 24, 2020, and she responded two days later. Drew was then 29, and Danielle, 27.
Danielle: “At the time I was quarantined at home with my parents. I didn’t like dating apps, so I accepted my friend’s offer to post for me on this Jewish Facebook group. When I read Drew’s post, I wasn’t wowed by his being almost tall, since I’m 5’8.” But I liked the fact that he was shomer Shabbos and that his friend described him as cultured. I also appreciated Drew’s customized response in paragraph form.”
Drew: “And I liked knowing that Danielle was adventurous and did all these crazy hikes while bringing along kosher delicacies.”
Drew was in Dallas at the time and Danielle was in Knoxville and they started chatting on Facebook Messenger and continued on Zoom.
Was it love at first sight? Drew smiles: “No, though I was attracted to Danielle’s beautiful smile, we actually bonded because of our shared values. In retrospect, I’m not sure we would have connected on a conventional first date at a restaurant. Video-chatting on Zoom helped our relationship develop as we spent hours focusing on each other. It was low-key and our seamless conversation often flowed until 2 a.m.”
After a month online with each other, Drew flew to Knoxville to meet Danielle in-person. He was warmly welcomed by her parents. On their first day together, the couple had their first date — at a coronavirus testing center. Drew: “Already on that first date, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Danielle.”
After Danielle met Drew’s parents in Dallas, Drew moved to Knoxville, where he continued to work remotely.
Drew notes: “Nothing overlaps in our resumes, and even as children Danielle was always picked first for sports and I was picked last.”
Drew grew up in Texas and has a BFA in acting from Oklahoma City University. He is a performance director, based between the United States and Israel, whose work spans narrative and documentary film, TV, music videos and commercials.
Danielle grew up in Los Angeles and received a BA in Economics and Psychology from Northwestern University. She is a healthcare management consultant
Danielle: “Drew is mostly a feelings person and I’m a thinker. Still, I was the first one to say: ‘I love you.'”
Before getting engaged, the couple wanted two checks on their relationship. First, they made a Zoom call to Shifra Bader, an astrologer Drew knew in Israel. Drew: “Shifra isn’t a fortune teller but she reads your charts and makes an assessment. Her summary: You were meant to be more than just friends.'”
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And second, they got positive results from JScreen, a service that offers at-home genetic testing to detect carriers of certain Jewish genetic diseases. JScreen’s tagline: “Couples who spit together stick together.”
Drew produced a movie to celebrate their courtship: ‘A Quarantined History of Danielle and Drew.’
On Nov. 6, 2020, Drew proposed to Danielle in the backyard of her parents’ home in Knoxville. Drew’s parents came for the occasion and both families enjoyed a movie produced by Drew: “A Quarantined History of Danielle and Drew.”
As Danielle also wanted to propose to Drew, she arranged a counter-proposal in February 2021 at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens.
Danielle: “We’ve never seen each other in a large social setting. Our wedding will be the first time we’re at an event with 60 other people.”
The wedding is planned for early May in the Smoky Mountains. Mazal tov.
Dr. Leah Hakimian currently researches the question: How do Jewish couples meet and marry? In the ’90s she founded two nonprofit Jewish matchmaking programs, and continues to champion the role of community in helping singles meet. She lives in Jerusalem and Great Neck, NY.