Shalom Life | September 06, 2014

The Bachelor 2012: Ilona Wins Nathaniel’s Heart

Our Toronto Bachelor and winner, Ilona, have just returned from Israel together

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: September 28th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

The Bachelor 2012: Ilona Wins Nathaniel’s Heart

The Bachelor 2012: Tall, Dark, and Jewish has come to an end, sadly… but on a fantastic note!

Our Bachelor, Nathaniel, chose Ilona as the contest’s winner!

Almost immediately after making his selection, the new couple jetted off to Tel Aviv to get better acquainted.

Shalom Life would like to thank El Al Airlines, UJA’s Community Connect, and Toronto matchmaker Alison Green for helping to make our first annual Bachelor competition such a success.

Let us leave you with photos of Nathaniel and Ilona in Israel together, and their thoughts on each other and their trip to beautiful Israel.

We wish the new couple all the best in the future!


ILONA

Who would have thought that my second ever visit to Israel would be with Toronto’s Jewish Bachelor?! I certainly did not! Of course after having three fabulous dates with Nathaniel I had hoped to have the exciting opportunity to travel with him to Israel but I never thought it would become my reality. The first time I traveled to Israel was six years ago on Birthright. Those who have participated in Birthright would probably attest that Birthright is a trip of a life-time that is very well organized and all one has to do is embrace the unforgettable experience. As a participant, you don’t have to do any planning, such as contemplate your day-to-day activities, consider your transportation arrangements or worry about where you will have your meals. On Birthright all one has to do is enjoy the trip to Israel that has been thoroughly organized from beginning to end.

This trip to Israel was just the opposite! Nathaniel and I didn’t have an itinerary or a tour guide so it was up to us to make the trip what we wanted. At the start, we weren’t quite sure of how to best spend our four days together. Do we stay in Tel Aviv and tour the city or do we visit some of the major tourist attractions in Israel? Do we rely on the public transit system or do we rent a car? These are some of the questions that Nathaniel and I had to contemplate. Fortunately with Nathaniel’s Hebrew and my Russian we navigated a great trip with lots of laughter. With patience, good communication and compromise, Nathaniel and I made great travel companions and fit a lot into our short visit.

We arrived to the hot and humid climate in Tel Aviv early in the morning after a long flight and quickly ran for the train and then the bus that dropped us off in front of the Mercure Hotel on Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv. We were shvitzing and exhausted from schlepping our suitcases and almost no sleep! However, the moment we stepped into the hotel, we both felt a sense of relief from the pleasant aroma, to the friendly staff to the air conditioning! We dropped of our suitcases in the lobby, checked in and went to have a delicious Israeli breakfast at the hotel’s buffet restaurant. After checking into our hotel rooms and freshening up, we headed to the nearby cell phone store and post-office to do some administrative tasks. Before we knew it, we had befriended the clerk at the cell phone store and the security guard at the post-office! Since Nathaniel and I are both social and outgoing, making friends with locals came easy to us and this continued throughout our trip!

We became well known to the hotel staff and the servers and they looked forward to greeting us each morning. We toured Tel Aviv and traveled through some of the surrounding cities. Our days were long and busy from an early wake-up, to breakfast, to sightseeing to enjoying the city’s nightlife. Tel Aviv is a dynamic and vibrant city with so much to offer. Over the course of the trip, Nathaniel and I enjoyed authentic Israeli food, had great conversation, watched the sun set, relaxed on the beach and laughed almost to tears. We even shared a beautiful Shabbat at the Chabad of Tel Aviv and enjoyed a delicious Friday night Shabbat dinner at the Rabbi’s house. Our trip to Israel gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better and this was truly a memorable experience.

Head on over to page 2 for Nathaniel's thoughts!

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