I clearly remember the first day I met my future husband, Yonatan Markus. It was on the second floor of Hillel, my first time getting dinner at Allen’s Table. I walked into the room unsure of where to sit, but there he was, in the corner at a table, quietly eating his food, and I knew I had to talk to him.
In the coming days and weeks I would see Yonatan all the time at Hillel. In the “living room.” In the boardroom. Studying. Not studying. He had a quiet, contemplative presence that was entirely the opposite of my talkative and quick-to-act self. He was grounded, even when there was chaos around him.
If it wasn’t for Hillel, Yonatan and I wouldn’t have met. He was an engineering student. I am an English Major. He was an observant Modern Orthodox Jew. I am a fuzzy non-observant/culturally Jewish/if I had to put a label on it, Reform Jew. He had lived in Thornhill all his life. I couldn’t seem to stay in a country for longer than a year. Naturally, we didn’t often find ourselves in the same space.
Two months after that first interaction at Allen’s Table, I received a text from Yonatan: “Megan, I’ve got a question for you. Do you want to hang out tomorrow? Like as a date.” I smiled. Of course, I wanted to. He was perfect. I wrote back, “that would be nice!” I had to decide how many exclamation marks I should put. Wanting to sound “chill” I settled with one, but inside, I could have put 100.
Our first date was laughs, smiles, and nervous glances at one-another. I fell in love quickly. Sitting at Hillel we would study (or more accurately, I would study & Yonatan would be reading Urban Toronto, keeping himself – and subsequently me – up to date on Toronto’s latest construction projects). We ate lunch together. We ate dinner together. Our lives were quickly becoming intertwined.
On May 3rd, 2021, exactly 1.5 years from our first date, Yonatan got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. On August 15th, 2021, I married my best friend. I trace it all back to that moment, when I walked into Allen’s Table, and the man who I sat across from, changed my life forever.
- Megan Hill, Hillel UofT Alumna