CHICAGO, IL — One month before their wedding, Nathan Levine of Skokie and Rayna Greenblatt of Highland Park were devastated to learn of a Jewish geography connection they had overlooked: in a shocking twist of fate, they discovered they are 3rd cousins.
Levine and Greenblatt had been dating for just under two years and were planning their wedding for the end of the month, when they realized that they had both invited Herb Blumenthal while going over the guest list, as he is first cousin to both of their grandfathers.
Their grandfathers’ mothers were two of twelve siblings, many of whose descendents never had any reason to meet each other, as they were dispersed across Europe, Israel, and the United States. But Levine and Greenblatt have nonetheless been horrified at their own failings of Jewish geography.
Levine, an alum of Camp Moshava, NCSY, and Columbia University, and Greenblatt, an alumna of Camp Ramah, BBYO, and the University of Maryland both pride themselves on their ability to map out their connection with nearly any Jewish person they meet.
“I remember our first date,” Greenblatt said. “By the time the food came, we knew that I babysat his dentist’s daughter and his dad was college roommates with my kindergarten teacher’s brother-in-law. So I just can’t express how embarrassing it is that we missed out on our own familial relation.”
“I’m just mortified that I had to tell my old camp buddies the wedding was off just because I broke my streak,” said Levine, who has gone nine years without meeting a Jew he couldn’t figure out his relation to, provided that they were from the Northeast, Midwest, or certain parts of Florida.
Their mothers, Sara Levine and Dafna Greenblatt, are equally distressed, both about the years the couple wasted with each other when they could have had kids with other partners by now, as well as the failure on their own part to recognize their relation to each other (2nd cousins) when they were first introduced. They have since realized that they were in fact at the same cousin’s wedding 25 years ago.
“I’m bringing my family tree on first dates from now on,” said Levine.
“I promise I’m not bad at Jewish geography,” said Greenblatt, who is this reporter’s niece’s best friend’s algebra tutor.