Hillel Nadler ’10-’11 sat at the piano. As his hands moved back and forth across the keys, he began to sing Sam Cooke’s 1957 love song “You Send Me.” When he came to the lyric, “Now I find myself wanting to marry you and take you home,” he turned expectantly to his then-girlfriend Tova S. Weiner Nadler ’10. She looked quizzically back at him.
“She hadn’t really figured it out yet,” Hillel said. “So then I added ‘Tova, Will you marry me?’ a number of times. She turned to me and she said ‘For real?’ And I said yes. And then she said yes.”
Tova and Hillel were married January 17, 2010, in Los Angeles.
The two met their freshman year at Harvard Hillel. Though they were friendly, they did not begin dating until winter break of Tova’s junior year—Hillel’s sophomore year, as he had taken time off to study abroad. They both say that the other’s commitment to Judaism was one of the things that drew them to one another.
Tova said Hillel proved that sense of commitement extended beyond religion early in their relationship. A former computer science teaching fellow, she recalled complaining to Hillel over Google chat one day that no one ever came to her scheduled office hours. He suddenly signed off and was in her office within minutes, stayed with her until the end, and walked her home.
“The first thing I would say is that he is really sensitive and caring and good at helping me through whatever I am dealing with,” she said. “He is really supportive and caring and a really committed, loyal person.”
Hillel spoke of Tova’s personality as one of her most attractive qualities.
“As anyone who knows her will attest, she is full of joy and happiness and very outgoing and happy and engaging,” he said. He added jokingly, “She is really smart, too and helped me with my CS homework.”
By August, Hillel was ready to pop the question. He and Tova were scheduled to be in Toronto, Hillel’s hometown, for a mutual family friend’s wedding. Before Tova arrived, Hillel and his sister scouted out places downtown to ask her, eventually finding a music store he liked. After Tova came accepted his proposal, they went outside to be greeted by his flower-laden sisters. The engagement party was the following Saturday.
“His mom had been baking things all week for the party,” Tova said. “I thought she just liked to bake.”
The two were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City. Tova said that many of their mutual friends flew out from Harvard to attend.
“It was very surreal for both of us,” Hillel said. “A lot of friends from Harvard and from Hillel came. It was great to celebrate it with them.”
Next year, Tova will be working as a software engineer at Google in Cambridge while Hillel finishes up his senior year.
—JAMISON A. HILL