A OneTable Love Story for Tu B’Av
It’s Tu B’Av, sometimes referred to as Jewish Valentine’s Day, and to help everyone get into a celebratory mood we have quite a OneTable love story to share!
In late 2019, Allie Egrin had just decided to stay in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a new job even though it wasn’t her dream destination. Raised in Detroit, Allie was familiar with Jewish organizations and events for young adults and thought that becoming more involved in the local young adult community could help her make new friends. She was familiar with OneTable from being involved in Hillel during college, and thought it would be a great way to meet new people. Unfortunately, the first Shabbat she attended just didn’t feel like a good fit for her… until a man in a velvet blazer walked in.
To Allie’s surprise, the man in the blazer, Louis Padnos, struck up a conversation with her that continued organically for hours. They chatted for so long that their host eventually had to ask them to leave, but not before Louis got Allie’s number.
The pair went out to dinner soon after, during which Allie was honest with Louis that she was leaving for two months in Europe in just a few days to celebrate her college graduation. They went out every evening until her departure, and stayed in touch daily throughout her travels. Upon her return in February 2020, Louis invited Allie to travel to New York City for a weekend and she agreed, figuring that the worst that could happen is she might have a bad time and then just visit her own family and friends.
A month later the world turned upside down during the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Louis brought Allie to his parents’ house for Shabbat dinner when it was determined that the pandemic had come to the United States and everyone should stay home and quarantine. They did, and it turned into a three month stay with his parents.
“This was the second time I had met his parents, and on the Sunday of our weekend visit the governor told everyone to stay right where they were. I was looking around at the three of them, waiting for someone to say they’d drive me back to my house about an hour away. Instead, they all just assumed I’d stay there with them, so I did.”
In the months that followed, Allie and Louis got through a hip surgery and recovery, the continuing pandemic, social isolation measures, and more. Their first months together included more potential challenges than many couples face in a decade. Despite it all, their relationship grew stronger and they saw it as confirmation that they should be together, forever. They also began to host OneTable Shabbats as a way to intentionally bring Shabbat into their lives.
In spring 2023, they returned to New York and were walking through Central Park on their way to brunch when Louis proposed. He told Allie that he’d known three years before, on their first visit together to Manhattan, that he would eventually bring her back one day to propose.
“He intentionally had brunch reservations in Central Park at Tavern On The Green so that I would be dressed up for brunch, and wouldn’t suspect anything,” she said. “I always said that our relationship felt like a romantic comedy, and he told me that the best rom-coms always have a proposal in Central Park.”
The couple has since moved to Detroit, where they have attended several OneTable Shabbats and expect to begin hosting themselves in the near future. Their wedding is scheduled for August 2024.
“OneTable really worked out for me, I met my soulmate, my besheret,” Egrin joked. “But really, it’s such a great idea and concept of people opening their homes to celebrate Shabbat—they’re really trying to bring people together. I absolutely encourage people to check them out. You never know what will happen or who you might meet!”