Nearly 30 years ago, little Alona Metz was starting first grade at Sinai Akiba Academy in Los Angeles. Luckily, Alona found a great bestie from the get-go. Her name was Dana Shaked and she and her family had recently moved to LA from New York. Alona and Dana used to play all the time, which proved to be super convenient for their moms because Alona had a little brother (Mikey) who was around the same age as Dana’s little twin brothers (Adam and Oren).
For six years, the wars raged between the girls and the boys. Oren, Adam and Mikey attempted to mount attacks from their fortress as Dana and Alona snickered at these feeble attempts to hang out with the cool kids. When the Shakeds moved away to Philadelphia, Dana and Alona stayed friends, attending each others’ Bat Mitzvahs, chatting on the phone and eventually, becoming college roommates freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania.
Unbeknownst to Alona, Oren (at the time a lowly high-school boy), developed a big fat crush on his older sister’s roomie. He’d visit their dorm room and wonder if he’d ever have a chance with this college chick. At the time, he did not. :(
Many years passed. Both Oren and Alona moved into adulthood: Alona becoming a lawyer and subsequently moving to Israel and founding her own non-profit. Oren pursuing his passion for medicine and becoming a surgeon. Both of them dated and experienced relationships, but by August 2017 neither of them had found “the one.”
Luckily, Dana had. She married Tommy Conrad on August 27, 2017 in a beautiful farmhouse outside of Philadelphia. Alona wouldn’t have missed it for the world and made the journey from Israel to the U.S. to see her oldest friend tie the knot. A few months before the wedding, Alona sent Dana a text message to find out who else was coming to the wedding that she would know:
Alona was standing in the lobby of the hotel, and all of a sudden, in walked little Oren Shaked - just not so little anymore. Time had turned this boy into a man; but while she was intrigued, she worried Dana would not be pleased by a union, and decided to keep her distance. Oren, on the other hand, smitten, was determined to make it happen. He pursued Alona until she could no longer resist. Thankfully, Dana gave them her blessing.
After the wedding, they had their “first date” at a cozy wine bar in Philly. It turned out they had way more in common than they had thought and the conversation flowed easily. And then, sadly, they parted ways - Alona heading back to Israel and Oren to San Francisco. Though any hope for a future together seemed small, they both recognized how special this new-found connection je ne sais quoi was, and a WhatsApp flirting chat began.
Alona shared her confusion with several friends in Tel Aviv: “I (re)met this amazing man and am so into him! But there’s no way it can work. He lives thousands of miles away!” Her friends told her to suck it up and just see if he’d be interested in meeting up again. She gathered some courage, and after a glass or two of wine went for it:
Last November, Oren and Alona met at Charles De Gaulle airport for the most romantic second date in history. 6 days in the gorgeous Loire Valley and Paris left no doubt in their minds - this was love. And then Alona made a decision that forever changed the course of their lives. She’d consider moving to San Francisco if necessary. After 10 months of long distance, Oren asked her the one question that could have ever gotten her to leave her beloved home in Tel Aviv - to be his forever (girl)friend.
Oren and Alona now live in San Francisco together. They chose Israel as their wedding venue to honor their shared heritage, and to spend their most special day in a place that they both will always call a home away from home. They can’t wait to share the magic of Israel with you!