Emily Farbman and Zak Kadish matched on an online dating website while they were both attending graduate school in Massachusetts, and were eager to have their first date, but it was March 2020. Covid. Their plans continued to fall through until March 28, when Emily and Zak went on a long walk along the Charles River in Cambridge, MA for their first date.

They spent the following months together exploring New England, hiking, going to the beach, spending many a Shabbat bouncing between Cambridge and Worcester, and taking many more river walks. They continued to study hard side-by-side, as Zak prepared for moot court briefs and Emily studied for her med school exams.

May 14, 2022 started as a typical day, a morning spent studying in the library. Later that afternoon, as they walked along the Charles River yet again, Zak brought Emily to the bench where they sat on their very first date. Zak knelt, pulled out a ring, and proposed. Emily said yes.

Zak is the son of Alexia and Scott Kadish, the grandson of William Brody z”l and Stella Leontsini of Redondo Beach, CA, and Susan and Ira Kadish of Seattle, WA. Emily is the daughter of Karen (Splansky) and David Farbman of Needham, MA. She is the granddaughter of Rabbi Donald and Greta Lee Splansky (former Cincinnati rabbi at Temple Sholom), of Framingham, MA, and Kenneth z”l and Marlene Farbman, of Worcester, MA.

Both Zak and Emily’s families have strong ties to Cincinnati, and unbeknownst to the couple, were also connected in love by their mutual friend, Rabbi Sissy Coran z”l, who would have been super excited about this match!

On May 6, Emily and Zak came to Cincinnati to have their aufruf at Rockdale Temple. The couple married on May 21, 2023, at Temple Emanuel in Newton, MA, with Emily’s aunt, Rabbi Yael Splansky, and her grandfather, Rabbi Donald Splansky, officiating.

The couple will move to Chicago in the upcoming month, where Emily will begin her pediatric residency at Rush University Medical Center and Zak will be a clerk for a federal judge.

wedding photo of Emily Farbman and Zak Kadish

Emily Farbman and Zak Kadish

Driving to Chicago for my husband Gary’s cousin’s daughter Marni Roisman’s wedding, I realized that Rachel Silverstein would probably be there. We first met Rachel when she was in high school in Cincinnati where she sang for services and events, sharing the bimah with Rabbi Sissy Coran z”l. In 2005, she sang at my son Brad’s bar mitzvah.

Part of what I thought was a unique bar mitzvah was Brad and my older son joining Rachel on the bimah singing songs throughout the bar mitzvah that they all had learned from their years at Goldman Union Camp Institute. 

After high school, Rachel attended Indiana University and met Marni. When Rachel and Marni were sophomores, Marni invited Rachel to Geoff Schmelkin’s 20th birthday party. In that way, Marni introduced Rachel to the man she would marry in Cincinnati in 2015.

Rachel found her calling and went to Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York for rabbinical school and was ordained in May 2016. Her first pulpit was at Congregation Beth Israel, the only synagogue in Charlottesville, Virginia. Leaving temple one Saturday, she and her husband found themselves in the horrifying midst of a “Unite the Right” rally. It was one year after her ordination. Rachel experienced a defining moment of her rabbinate when this violent “Unite the Right” Rally happened steps away from her congregation.  

In 2018 She became active in the One America Movement and received Truah’s “Action Under Fire Award,” for her work during the 2017 Summer of Hate. This past fall, Rachel was honored as a “uniter” for her work crossing divides at the inaugural United we Stand Summit at the White House. 

This summer, Rabbi Rachel Silverstein Schmelkin will join the clergy team at Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington D.C.

I was excited to hug Rachel multiple times during the rehearsal dinner and wedding where I was able to become reacquainted with her.

photo of Rachel Silverstein Schmelkin with Marni Roisman Goldman

Rachel Silverstein Schmelkin with Marni Roisman Goldman