How Jason met Robyn
By Leah Hakimian
The father, Dr. David Kreiner, married a nurse. Their son, Dr. Jason Kreiner, married another physician. Rites have changed in 37 years.
“I knew I’d marry someone who is hard-working,” says Jason. And indeed Robyn Epstein was working hard when the two met. In the fall of 2006, Robyn was beginning her first year at Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University, and Jason was a second-year student.
They were both far from home – Robyn is from Chicago, and Jason is from Plainview, New York. And they both chose Sackler for the same primary reason – the opportunity to experience Israel for four years. Secondly, Sackler has a fine reputation as a medical school.
It is a small school, with less than 80 students per class, so Jason and Robyn would see each other at different events. But when he’d ask her if she wanted to hang out, she would most often say: “I have to study.”
That continued until the beginning of October. At that point, Jason became an uncle, and decided to fly home for the b’rit. He would be gone for a week since school was closed during the holiday of Sukkot. He was on a lucky streak and decided to extend one more invitation to Robyn. This time, she accepted. It was a Friday night and an excuse to have a glass of wine. On her way home, Robyn received a text message: “Thanks for coming. I always hate to drink alone.”
Later that evening, she confided to her roommate that she found Jason to be a really nice guy. “I told you so,” said the roommate.”
Their first real date came a week later, when they went to the trendy Nana Bar in Tel Aviv. They found that they had more in common than just their medical studies. ‘We both work hard and play hard,” says Robyn.
They dated all through medical school, and in the summer of 2009, Jason returned to New York City for his residency at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn. They maintained their long-distance relationship for a year until Robyn finished her medical studies. Luckily for both of them, Robyn landed a residency at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx.
Experts note that lifestyle and family time are top considerations for medical students choosing specialties. Robyn works in pediatrics and Jason chose anesthesiology, permitting the young couple a life outside of medicine.
“We never get bored with each other,” says Robyn. “And we also give each other space – I like to spend time with my girl friends and Jason plays roller hockey and ice hockey.”
On November 28, 2010, while vacationing in Costa Rica, Jason, then 27, got down on his knee and proposed.
“I never thought I’d marry a doctor and I never thought I’d be the first in my group to get married,” says Robyn, who was 26 at the time.
Dual-doctor marriages are not unusual. For years, about 50 percent of female doctors have married other doctors, and the numbers seem to be increasing.
This is understandable. As Dr. Sandheep Jauhar wrote in a New York Times essay: “When you get paged away during your anniversary dinner, only another doctor will understand.”
“He would do anything for me,” says Robyn. “She goes out of her way to please others,” says Jason. “He’s funny,” says Robyn. “She’s funny,” says Jason, but he adds, “not funnier than me.” They both have a good sense of humor.
In 2006, a classmate predicted that Jason would find his wife in the incoming class. At the marriage ceremony, Rabbi Jonathan Hecht remarked how this was a union meant-to-be. He said: “Of all the possible places for the two of you to study medicine, you both chose to go to Tel Aviv University. You crossed oceans and continents to go to medical school and there find each other.”
Robyn and Jason were married on August 20, 2011. Mazal tov.