• Jodi Samuels

Moving In The Same Direction



We host 40 plus people each week for Shabbat meals. I don’t usually even have a seat as we are always sold out and I don’t sit anyway. We serve dessert buffet style and at that point things eventually calm down and I relax. An Israeli woman, who is a regular, came to chat with me and she said that Gavin and I are a strong couple. I asked her what she meant, how does she know?

She said that members of a strong couple move in the same direction. She said members of other couples each move their own way and then spend so much energy trying to align that they have limited energy to move forward. Because we are already on the same path, all our energy is used to move forward and that’s what make us so effective.


It’s an interesting analogy and it made me think about my relationship. Make no mistake, we have our arguments but we do fundamentally share a strong vision of our life and values. Who else would host 40 plus people with me, run over 200 events a year, work crazy hours and travel all over the world?


When Caily was born, we sent an email to 8,000 people that read, “Mazal Tov! The Samuels’ had a girl. Mom and baby are healthy.” On day three, the pediatrician raised his suspicion that Caily had Down syndrome. Gavin’s a doctor, and I have a cousin with Down syndrome. No explanations needed. BOMBSHELL. Our world forever changed. Almost four years later, I replay that scene in my head daily.


I called my parents and Slovie Wolff in a hysterical state. I then went to the bathroom and I looked in the mirror and I had such clarity. I had two miscarriages after Temira. I felt that Hashem wanted me to have this baby. I then thought about my life and the open door policy we have. Anyone who knows us knows our door is literally open and my house is a mini Grand Central Station. We open our doors to the lost, lonely, new, curious, etc. We have hosted recovering drug abusers, recovering anorexics, people in dysfunctional relationships, you name it. I realized that if I cannot accept my own child, then the life I am living is a lie.


I had so much clarity and acceptance of my situation just 30 minutes after hearing the news. I came out of the bathroom and shared my thoughts with Gavin, he agreed without hesitation, and we were both on the same path powering ahead.

My friend’s analogy is so accurate. So often I see families struggle with news and couples struggle with how the other one is dealing. There is so much power in sharing one path and channeling both partner’s energy to move forward.


That evening, some of our closest friends came to the hospital. We were happy and chatting away. When we said we had something to tell them they were guessing we had twins, all upbeat thoughts. We were so ok with the news, no-one imagined what we would say. I also recall friends and family all sobbing at the news and us being the strong ones consoling them–an inverted reality but a powerful testament to being on the same path and moving ahead.


I am so grateful to Hashem that Gavin is in my life. Who would have known when I was just 17 and a guy asked me for directions on a street corner in Jerusalem that this man would be my husband, soul mate and enabler. After all, he asked for my number and I gave him a false number. We had chatted for a few minutes, and as we were both from South Africa, we played Jewish geography. I realized he had a brother that I thought was hot. I was in a relationship and not sure where it was going, so I gave him a fake number as he was very persistent. After a moment I crossed it out and gave my real number…after all if my relationship failed he had a cute brother. Imagine how different my life could have been!


Metroimmas, work with your husbands to drive forward in one direction. You’ll be amazed at the power it gives you to accomplish new tasks, excel at difficult situations and reach your joint goals.


Originally published: January 5, 2012

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