'' 'Attn s OK WITWC ,
If you haven't seen them before, you're likely to see them again
on the engagement page.
RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER
The couples agree that the
Leadership Network is a laid-
back, low-pressure forum where
young people feel comfortable. It's
safe to be yourself, they say, and
As 20-something, sometimes-
enjoy the fact that everyone in
dateless males, the two friends
the group shares a Jewish back-
often accompanied each other to
Carolyn Ruskin, 27, and Steve ground. Membership is about 150
weekend movies. Afterward,
they'd hit the nearby Ram's Horn Cohen, 28, are tying the knot and events attract between 10
for a bite to eat. Empathy ran next spring. Ms. Ruskin began and 200 people. There are jazz
going to Leadership Network fests, comedy outings, bowling
"I felt sorry for you," recalls Mr. events when she moved home leagues, happy hours, coffee-
from Chicago to attend Univer- house nights and monthly com-
Elias, partly joking.
"I felt sorry for you," Mr. sity of Detroit Law School.
ways, the Lead-
It's not like
they were des-
of B'nai B'rith is
perate. Not at
similar to Fed-
all. It's just
that, well, the
time had come
and Hillel of
for these sub-
which also cater
lors to look for
to young adults
— single or mar-
ried — in De-
Nov. 18, Mr.
three groups of-
Elias will mar-
ry Gayle Neff.
In August, Mr.
take as his
Mr. Elias and
bride Wendy Top Row: Robbie Franklin and Scott Sherman, Wendy Cuttner and Philip Arnold.
Cuttner. These Bottom Row: Steve Cohen and Caroline Ruskin, Gayle Neff and Darrin Elias, Sylvia Ms. Neff met at
a baseball game
four young Sherman and Randy Wolf.
adults — along
It was October 1993, and the ago. They started talking over the
with six of their friends — met
through the Leadership Network Leadership Network board was phone frequently and worked to-
of B'nai B'rith, a group for Jew- holding elections. Mr. Cohen was gether to plan Leadership Net-
ish young adults, ages 20 to 40. sitting in the meeting room when work events.
"We had the same friends,
By next spring, all ten will have Ms. Ruskin arrived.
"Carolyn walked in and I had, same interests, same tastes," says
taken wedding vows.
"We didn't really join the group at that point, an intuition that I Mr. Elias, who serves as the
thinking we were going to fall in was going to many her," he says. group's president. "Gayle could
Ms. Sherman, who had be- have been my twin if I didn't al-
love," says Robbie Franklin, 28.
"You don't go in thinking I'm go- friended them both, wasn't sur- ready have one."
(Mr. Elias's twin, David, is sin-
ing to meet someone and get mar- prised when the Cohen/Ruskin
team announced its engagement. gle. That's a hint, girls, Darrin
ried. You join to make friends."
"The way they laughed to- says.)
That's what Ms. Franklin did.
Now that Mr. Elias has found
To jump-start her social life, she gether," she says, "I could see it
Gayle, does his partner in Sat-
became active on the Leadership coming."
Sometimes, a pairing off leads urday night movies and Ram's
Network's executive board. She
established a close companion- to a letting go of other friend- Horn meals take offense? Not a
ship with Sylvia Sherman, an- ships. Not in this crowd. The five chance. Philip Arnold and his 23-
couples double-date and triple- year-old finance, Wendy, are too
other board member.
Now here's where the Network date. They quintuple-date. They busy planning a wedding of their
participate in Leadership Net- own.
love story gets complicated ...
Ms. Sherman, 31, has a broth- work activities together, and will
er named Scott, 29, who is good attend each other's weddings.
"We all ended up being coupled B'rit
friends with another guy, Randy
off, but we all share the same so- 7
cial circle. We're intertwined,"
Ms. Sherman met Mr. Wolf says the soon-to-be-Mrs. Wolf.
arrin Elias and Philip
Arnold envisioned better
through her brother. Ms.
Franklin met Mr. Sherman
through his sister. Today, each
couple has wedding plans: Sher-
man/Wolf and Sherman/
Franklin. But wait, there's more
Jeff Katzen's Oak Park house.
Why Rent A Roof?
Young adults live with the benefits of
JENNIFER FINER STAFF WRITER
t home one weekday af-
ternoon, David Goldman
warms lunch in his mi-
Not only is the microwave his,
but he owns the house, too.
At 24, Mr. Goldman is the
proud proprietor of a 1,450-
square-foot home in Waterford
where he couldn't be happier
about his living conditions.
"I love it," said Mr. Goldman,
who rented a house in Royal Oak
for a few months before buying a
home of his own. "I don't have to
live by any landlord's rules and
I'm not throwing money away
like I would be if I were renting."
Mr. Goldman is among a slow-
ly increasing population of young
adults who say the benefits of
home ownership heavily out-
weigh the more popular option of
While these young homeown-
ers said their monthly mortgage
payments are far less expensive
than the rent checks they were
writing, they do admit making a
down payment on a home, pay-
ing property taxes and having
emergency money on hand for re-
pairs and renovations require
careful financial plarming. Still,
they feel a home is a smart in-
When Matthew and Elena
Gross decided to get married, one
of the first things they seriously
discussed was plans to buy a
"We're lucky," said Ms. Gross,
25. 'We were able to save from
the very beginning and we re-
sisted the temptation of spend-
The couple, now married 2 L'2
years, first lived in Connecticut
where Mr. Gross, a 24-year-old
jeweler, designer and gemologist,
had an internship. During the
time they lived out East, the cou-
ple rented an apartment and in-
vested their wedding money so
they could purchase a home
when they returned to Michigan.
There was no question where
the young couple would live. Be-
cause they liked the neighbor-
hood and school system, they
focused their search on homes in
north Oak Park, where they
found an 1,100-square-foot three-
Jeff Katzen, 27, is quickly ap-
proaching his two-year anniver-
sary of home ownership, also in
north Oak Park.
Mr. Katzen saved money by
living with his parents and
moved directly from their house
to his own place.
The major hurdle for this
Michigan State University grad-
uate was making a down pay-
ment on the $59,900 house he
decided to purchase. With the
bonds he had received 14 years
earlier for his bar mitzvah, Mr.
Katzen was able to make a 20
WHY RENT? page 108