Bagels, lox and NFL marathons – that’s how Ilan David Cooperman grew up spending almost every Sunday at his childhood home in Roslyn, NY
“There is nothing casual about watching football at my family’s home,” said Mr. Cooperman. He knew when he met Sydney Marissa Berger in October 2018 that she would fit right into his football-obsessed family.
Mrs. Berger and Mr. Cooperman, both thirty, grew up sharing not only an almost religious zeal for the sport, but also the faith they practiced. They have attended Temple Beth Sholom in Rosslyn since they were children, though they went to different high schools. But it wasn’t until 2015 that Mrs. Berger, while at the Yom Kippur house, noticed Mr. Cooperman and his “electric grin” from across from the temple.
It took another three years for Mrs. Berger to ” muster up the courage ” to ask her best friend’s mother, a friend of the Cooperman family, to inquire whether Mr. Cooperman was single. At the time, he was living in West Hartford, Connecticut, and she was on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Turns out he was on a date — if she didn’t mind the distance.
In October 2018, the two met for the first date at the now closed café in Union Square. They bonded over their shared history and similar interests: Besides growing up in Roslyn and attending the same temple, they were avid sports fans and — most importantly — loved the New York Giants football team.
“Once we started talking, it was as if we’d known each other forever,” said Ms. Berger.
But there was one contradiction. Ms. Berger grew up in a divided family: her mother has Yankees roots, while her father was a Mets fan. Out of loyalty to both parents, she never chooses sides. On their first date, Mr. Cooperman, a die-hard Mets fan, tells Ms. Berger that “if this is going to get deep, you’re going to have to take a side.” I went all out on the Mets.
It wasn’t the only team I fell for. In December 2018, Mr. Cooperman took Ms. Berger to her first New York Islanders game. At the time, she wasn’t a fan of ice hockey. But after just one game, she said, “I was hooked.” “We have so much fun experimenting with our teams together.”
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
Mr. Cooperman graduated with a BA in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His personal passion for the sport is evident in his choice of professional career very rarea cryptocurrency-based fantasy sports game company, where he is a content program manager.
Ms. Berger graduated with a BA in Public Policy from the University of Michigan. She is the Director of Social Media and Communications at Global flourishBehavioral change technology company.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the couple had been dating long distance between Connecticut and New York City for over a year when they moved into Ms. Berger’s parents’ basement in Roslyn. What they thought would be a three week stay turned into a year. The couple also added a new member to the family: Jerry Garcia Berger Cooperman, a young Bernedoodle.
In August 2021, the couple (and Jerry) moved into an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where they still live. After a year spent “bonding” with Mrs. Berger and her family, Mr. Cooperman says he knows Mrs. Berger is Mrs. So, he made a plan to propose to her.
“I told Sydney I was celebrating a surprise birthday for my dad at the synagogue – that’s where she saw me for the first time,” said Mr. Cooperman. When Mrs. Berger arrived, the temple was strewn with rose petals, 60 feet of string lights and pictures from their last few years together. On the podium was a banner reading “Marry me?”
“A friend said he had never heard of an engagement in a house of worship,” Ms. Berger said. For her, the courtship is “full circle”. They met and got engaged at the temple.
On June 18, the couple married Rabbi Alan Lucas, their childhood rabbi, in front of 274 guests at Liberty Warehouse, an event venue in Brooklyn. “Being under the spell with Elan is something I will never forget,” said Ms. Berger, who takes her husband’s surname.
Towards the end of the night, Mrs. Berger and Mr. Cooperman’s parents surprise the couple with two special guests who join the party: Mr. and Mrs. Met, the official mascots of the New York baseball team, strut in celebration. “When they came in our jaws they fell to the ground,” said Mr. Cooperman.