By Amanda Engel
Features editor

Kayla Kaplan and Benjamin Douek on their Mitzpeh Matchmaker date at Starbucks. Photo courtesy of Kayla Kaplan.
Kayla Kaplan and Benjamin Douek on their Mitzpeh Matchmaker date at Starbucks. Photo courtesy of Kayla Kaplan.

Benjamin Douek is a junior history major from Potomac, Maryland. He said he signed up for Mitzpeh Matchmaker “to be in the Mitzpeh and to get free things.” Kayla Kaplan is a senior hearing and speech sciences major and plans to attend graduate school at this university in the fall. She decided to sign up for Mitzpeh Matchmaker since she “didn’t have much luck with UMD Connects,” she said.

The two met for their Mitzpeh Matchmaker date at a Starbucks on the snow day shortly before Spring Break.

Was this your first blind date?

Benjamin: Yes, it was. Well, actually I’m not sure how to answer that. I could clearly see Ms. Kaplan in the flesh. I was not wearing a blindfold. So, to answer your question no I did not go on a blind date.

Kayla: Yes.

What were you expecting going into this date? 

B: Oy vase mere was I nervous! I mean there is porta potty nervous and then there is blind date nervous. I could not sleep the night before the date. There was so much at stake! Who knows who I could meet? I could walk into the date and meet the mother of my children! I was expecting a Jew. I was also expecting a student of the University of Maryland, College Park. I thought my date would probably be a young lady perhaps between the ages of 18-23 but that was just a wild guess. I made sure to take a shower beforehand. And on top of that I shampooed my hair! I know, Fancy!

K: To be honest, I was expecting to meet my beshert. The moment Ben walked through the door, I knew there was potential because he was holding a bouquet of flowers.

What did you guys order at Starbucks?

B: I ordered a delicious mouthwatering kosher cup of chai tea. It was just full of flavor and smelled so good. Just to explain what my drink was for readers: it is a paper Starbucks cup filled with hot water. The barista places two chai tea bags into the cup and then places the lid on the cup. I ordered a hot cup of chai tea because chai is Hebrew for life and I want to live a long life with Ms. Kaplan. But why a hot cup of tea you ask? Good question. I ordered a hot cup of tea to melt our hearts with love.

K: We both ordered tea, but I could tell Ben really identifies with Judaism because when he ordered chai tea, he pronounced the “ch” as if he was speaking in Hebrew.

What did you talk about?

B: She bought me flowers! I mean so unexpected! She immediately stole my heart. The flowers were the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen. It was not just like love at first sight, it was something more. I could not stop blushing! We even synchronized our sips of tea which suggests there must be some kind of supernatural connection between us, right? For much of the date I was lost in her exotic dreamy eyes. When I stare into her eyes I see my future. But yes what did we talk about? We discussed what we did earlier in the day, our activities on campus, in addition what the future holds for us.

K: Since there were no seats in Starbucks, we ended up sitting in Noodles and Company, so we talked a bit about the menu. We also talked about Purim, Israel, family, plants and extracurricular activities. We were delighted to discover that we’re both on the Kiddush committee.

What’s the most surprising thing that came up?

B: I was so surprised to see so many people in the Starbucks! It was the afternoon and the place was packed! I was also surprised to hear about Ms. Kaplan’s pet plant Wanda. Wanda sounds like a lovely plant to have as a pet. I also surprised how fun the date was! Going into the date I was so nervous and I was so sweaty my deodorant needed antiperspirant for its deodorant.

K: The most surprising thing that came up was Ben’s extensive experience in running a radio show and interviewing different types of people on the show. I learned that he had a guest on his show who sells alpaca fur, and another guest who is an oyster farmer!

How would your rate the date on a scale of 1-10? 

B: Tough question. I do not feel comfortable rating my wife. To me, she is perfect.

K: I’d rate it a 9. I would’ve said 10, but unfortunately, Ben was running on Jewish time, which didn’t give me the best first impression.

Do you think you guys will go out again?

B: Well, considering that we are going to meet with our financial advisor to discuss how to save for our children’s college tuition, I’m not sure if I’d call it “going out” y’know?

K: Considering that when we parted at the end of the date, Ben told me that he was looking forward to our marriage, I think that another date is unnecessary. Next time we see each other will be under the chuppah.


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