(Rotem and Tzachi. Credit: Noa Magger)
Rotem thinks it was maktub (Arabic word for destiny) and Yiddishists would call it bashert. Secularists would say it was just a coincidence. But whatever you want to call it, this is what happened: Rotem Palit was working at the Hebrew University Mt. Scopus library on June 4, 2012 when Tzachi Shickman came in to return some books.

“It wasn’t even my shift,” says Rotem, “but I stayed a little extra that day. And I wasn’t at the Returns Desk when Tzachi walked in carrying a huge pile of books.”

“I was exhausted,” says Tzachi. “I wanted to put the books down on the closest table.” He remembers his first conversation with Rotem:

Rotem: “The books don’t belong here. They go there.”
Tzachi: “But there is only a chute for the books. The books could get hurt.”
Rotem laughs.
Tzachi: “Books have spirit!”
Rotem (to herself): This guy is sweet.
Tzachi (as he starts to leave): “Can I have your phone number?”
Rotem: “Yes, but you forgot to ask my name.”

They began texting each other and Tzachi recalls that is was actually “text-message flirting.” When he asked her out for the first time, they had another interesting exchange.

Tzachi: “How about a coffee shop?”
Rotem: “I don’t like coffee.”
Tzachi: “What about a pub?”
Rotem: “I don’t like beer.”
Tzachi (thinking to himself): She seems like a weird nerd. But then again, so am I.
For their first date, two days after meeting in the library, they went to a festival in the Old City.

Several days later, he asked her out again. Rotem recalls: “I really liked Tzachi, but I was concerned. I was then 26 and working for my second degree in Education and Counseling at Hebrew University. Tzachi was 23 and just beginning his first degree. I was ready for a serious relationship. I didn’t know about Tzachi.”

Rotem talked it over with a friend at the library. Her friend’s advice: “Go out with him. You have nothing to lose.”

Dr. Helen Friedman, a clinical psychologist in private practice in St. Louis, notes: “I know a number of couples who might never have met or married were it not for a friend's encouragement to see beyond some imagined concern. A friend's approval or disapproval can sometimes make or break a relationship early on.”

After their second date, Rotem and Tzachi became a couple.
He: “Rotem has a really good heart. She always thinks about others.”
She: “I like who I am when I’m with Tzachi.”

They enjoy doing many of the same things: cooking, running, hiking, dancing, and most of all, family. Rotem’s roots are in Nahariya and Tzachi’s family lives in Jerusalem.

2012-2014 were transition years for the couple. They moved in together. Tzachi began his second degree in Educational Leadership and Management from Hebrew U. He also started a job, helping young blind people to become independent. Rotem finished her second degree and started working as a high school guidance counselor.

In the spring of 2014, as they were watching the TV show, Friends, Tzachi proposed to Rotem over a bowl of Tapuchips. They did it their way.

Tzachi and Rotem were married on February 27, 2015 at Kibbutz Glil Yam in central Israel. Mazal tov.

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