As kindergartners in 1967, Kim Susan Hirsh and Jonathan Adam Fingerhut ran through the schoolyard of Thelma L. Sandmeier Elementary School in Springfield, N.J. Ms. Hirsh says she remembers her “pigtails flying” behind her.
Ms. Hirsh and Mr. Fingerhut, now both 61, grew up about a mile apart from each other in Springfield. Both are Jewish and Ms. Hirsh said seventh grade was bat and bar mitzvah season. She estimated that she attended about 70 parties as a guest and seven as a boy’s date. “It put you at the center of attention,” she said, “and I always loved a party.”
When it came time for Mr. Fingerhut to choose a date for his own bar mitzvah, he asked Ms. Hirsh. “She was pretty, she was a sweet young lady,” he said. “And probably there was a little crush.”
But their teenage courtship only lasted about a week. “I was probably ready to move on to the next bar mitzvah boy,” Ms. Hirsh said with a laugh.
The two attended separate high schools and lost touch. Mr. Fingerhut then received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Rowan College. He is now a sales executive at the Mooney-General Paper Company in Hillside, N.J.
Ms. Hirsh has a bachelor’s degree in American civilization from Brown and is the executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater MetroWest NJ in Whippany, N.J.
They continued on their separate courses. Each got married and had three children. Both then separated from their spouses — Mr. Fingerhut from his wife in 2014 and Ms. Hirsh from her husband in 2015. In early January 2016, Ms. Hirsh enlisted some girlfriends to help her create a profile on JDate, a Jewish dating site.
“I was just lifting my head up and starting to think about dating,” she said. About a week later, she received a Facebook friend request from Mr. Fingerhut. She accepted and he sent her a message saying he had a New Year’s resolution to reconnect with old friends.
Ms. Hirsh assumed Mr. Fingerhut was still married, so she asked if he knew of any available men for her. Mr. Fingerhut explained he was separated from his wife and asked her out.
A few days later, the two met at a Starbucks in Morristown, N.J., with plans for hot yoga and lunch at the now-closed Urban Table restaurant. “I remember thinking wow, he’s so grown up and so handsome,” she said.
The first date lasted several hours. “We had the same story,” Mr. Fingerhut said. “We had a relationship, it went awry. We cared for our children and that was the most important thing.”
Mr. Fingerhut told Ms. Hirsh that his children, then ages 12, 16 and 18, would have to come first if they began a relationship. “I thought, what a great dad,” she said. “I could fall in love with this guy.”
Mr. Fingerhut said he thought Ms. Hirsh was not exactly out of his league but maybe “a little too classy” for him. As a salesman, he said, he was able to sell himself to her.
Ms. Hirsh’s divorce was finalized in November 2016 and Mr. Fingerhut’s was finalized in January 2018. In September 2021, Mr. Fingerhut moved into Ms. Hirsh’s house in Morristown where they still live today. They began seriously considering marriage around the time they moved in together and Mr. Fingerhut bought a ring in November 2021.
On the fourth night of Hanukkah that year, he got down on one knee in their bedroom and asked her to marry him. She said yes, and they drank champagne and lit the menorah.
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The couple were married before 130 guests on Sept. 9 at the Mallard Island Yacht Club in Manahawkin, N.J. The ceremony, which was held in the on-site Boathouse Chapel, was officiated by Rabbi Jack Romberg, who is retired from Temple Israel, Tallahassee, Fla., and is married to one of Ms. Hirsh’s cousins.
Ms. Hirsh’s parents, Charles Hirsh, 94, and Barbara Hirsh, 87, began the procession down the aisle, followed by the partners of the couple’s combined six children. Then Mr. Fingerhut was escorted down the aisle by his three daughters and Ms. Hirsh was flanked by her two daughters and her son. Mr. Fingerhut’s father, Jerome Fingerhut, died in 2010 and his mother, Betty Fingerhut, died in 2020.
Ms. Hirsh recalled a moment during the reception in the venue’s banquet hall when she danced with both of her parents, with many members of the couple’s shared childhood looking on. “It was full circle,” she said.