And the rest, as they say, is history!

Adventurous couple find connection on Birthright Israel.

Lee and Marjorie Zentner met on Birthright Israel.

Growing up, Lee Zentner often heard his father happily recount how he’d met his wife – Lee’s mom – on a trip to Israel. The story was always told the same way, beginning with his decision to go on a community funded mission; leading to the encounter with a beautiful Israeli girl through her uncle; who was subsequently begged to introduce them. Lee’s father always ended the story with a big smile and the phrase: “And the rest, as they say, is history!”

While Lee enjoyed this bit of family lore, he never thought too much about his father’s words. Having recently graduated from college and wanting to travel before beginning a Master’s degree, he was all too happy to fill-in when he got a call from the Birthright offices. A madrich (trip leader) for the young adult trip to Israel had cancelled at the last minute–Could Lee fill in?

Lee’s first encounter with Marjorie at an information session for the Birthright trip was decidedly un-eventful. The boisterous future educator and finance major had different personalities, and though they had mutual friends, Lee recounts with a sly smile, “she was not a fan.”

On the Birthright trip, the newfound acquaintances began to see each other interact with the other participants. By the end of the trip, they had become friends. So much so, that when she decided to extend her trip and travel through Israel, where Marjorie visited Lee at his old friend’s house in Tel-Aviv.    “After the trip when we met up, we really got to know each other, and that’s when I fell in love with her.”

Together nearly a decade, Lee and Marjorie are still adventurous together. And while they love all their trips – like a recent jaunt to Texas – they will always hold a special place in their hearts for Israel, where they got to know each other on Birthright and fell in love.

In fact, the entire Zentner family is an intricate tapestry of community and Israeli love stories. “Jon, my elder brother met his wife in kindergarten at a Jewish day school, where he may or may not have stabbed her with a pencil,” Lee says with a smile. “He proposed to her when they were both participants on a young adult March of the Living trip. My middle brother Eric is also married to an Israeli – like our mom.  He actually had two weddings, one here and one there.”

Lee, now a devoted educator and head of the Science Department at Bialik High School, knows that Birthright trip changed his life forever.

Recounting the story, Lee laughs at the realization that he now knows exactly what his father meant all those years ago.

So much so, that when he tells the story of how he met Marjorie, Lee always ends with a big smile and the phrase:  “And the rest, as they say, is history!”

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