SWF, 41, seeks nice Jewish family
By Ron Grossman
"Do I seem weird?" she asked a rare visitor to her apartment
HICAGO (MCT) For the
The ad ran last month between "Help Wanted" and "Legal Notices" in the classifieds section of the
"I want a family," it read.
Garibay wasn't looking for help with her medical or financial woes, though she's got plenty of each. She just wanted to join others around their Sabbath dinner table.
In retrospect, she can see why people might be put off by an adult "looking to be 'adopted' by a Jewish family," as her ad was worded.
"Do I seem weird?" she asked a rare visitor to her apartment in
She didn't give that impression to
"I really wanted to hug her," Engelhart recalled.
Garibay's submission was letter-perfect, and Englehart guessed she must be an educated person.
As she is. Garibay graduated from
On her nightstand is a copy of "Fabulous Small Jews," a book of short stories about love and loss in
As her hallway door opened, a puppy barked suspiciously and backed off.
"She's not used to seeing other people in here," said Garibay of the 8-month-old
Just as the issue with Garibay's ad was going off newsstands, she got a response. They chatted by phone for 45 minutes, and he left his number.
But she's looking for a family, not a man.
"He's lonely," she said.
It's a condition she knows well. She grew up in
She married a fellow UIC student. Five years ago they divorced, a breakup she attributes to her growing interest in religion.
"He wanted a secular home," said Garibay. She said it was the second time she experienced such discord. There was a family memory of being Jewish on her mother's side, but she said her father didn't want anything to do with Judaism.
Wanting to establish roots, Garibay volunteered at a Jewish senior citizens' center. She attended classes and went through a conversion ritual at Anshe Emet Synagogue. Tamar is her Hebrew name; her birth name was Rosalie.
"She's a sweet, sweet person," said Rabbi
Garibay hasn't gotten to the synagogue, or out of the house much at all in recent months, because of multiple health problems. Formerly an auditor with the state, she now makes do with social-security disability payments.
Her attempts to reach out to others haven't always gone well.
She lent money to a neighbor that didn't get repaid. The neighbor also enlisted Garibay in a quixotic attempt to reconnect with the woman's ex-boyfriend. That led to a back-porch scuffle, and Garibay wound up with a rap sheet.
She did community service at a shelter for homeless cats.
The episode contributed to her decision to place the ad.
"I guess I don't know how to tell someone I want to be a part of your family," she said.
She's not giving up hope. Maybe someone will still call.
"At night, I tell Peekheet, 'Don't worry,'" she said. "'We'll be OK. You'll see.'"
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