‘We have so much to celebrate’
By Ellen McCarthy,
For decades it seemed that Kera Rennert and David Shuster had circled in each other’s orbit without really stopping to meet.
In the 1980s, he was a counselor and she was a camper at an upstate New York camp for Jewish teens. In the 1990s, they both worked for Fox News, then in its infancy, and while there was one inter-office phone call and talk of getting together for coffee, it never happened.
For almost 10 years they lived less than two miles apart, he in Georgetown, she in Glover Park. Her cousins were best friends with some of his best friends, so they often heard reports on what was happening in each other’s lives. Somewhere along the way, they became friends on Facebook.
David, a television correspondent who spent eight years at MSNBC and NBC, knew that she had married, just as he had. And he was told, a few years later, about her divorce.
By 2010, Kera had moved to New York and was thriving in her job writing network promos. For years a fellow Camp Tel Yehudah alum implored her to come to his annual Christmas Eve party. She always declined. In December 2011, the friend sent one more e-mail, promising she’d know people at the party, including David.
Although Kera, who divorced in 2008, didn’t feel as if she really knew David, she sent him a note, asking whether he was actually planning to attend.
“I even said, ‘Are you bringing your wife? Should I bring somebody?” remembers Kera now 41. It was clear from the flirtatious nature of the response that he was no longer married — “or if he was, he was a real jerk.”
In fact, David was single again, and reeling from what was unquestionably the toughest year of his life. Along with grieving his marriage, he was also faced with the grave illness of his father and job loss after a disagreement with the network when they discovered he’d taped a test episode of a talk show for CNN.
“The pillars of life — work, family, spouse — were all just falling apart. It was such a bizarre and sad time.”
By the time David got Kera’s note, he was just beginning to date again. He was struck by how beautiful she looked in her Facebook pictures and intrigued by all the connections they had in common.
He told her he was going to go to the party and made an excuse to go to New York to take her to lunch. Kera’s cousins had warned him that she was seeing somebody, but they said they didn’t think the relationship was serious.
“She looked adorable. She has a little hop in her step and a lot of energy,” David recalls of their lunchtime meeting. “I was a little standoffish because of the boyfriend, but we had a great time. Certainly the chemistry was there.”
They saw each other again at the party a few days later and wound up spending hours talking as they walked through the city. “We had both sort of come from the same place and had had a lot of similar life ups and downs,” Kera says. “I think it was very eye-opening for both of us.”
Within weeks, Kera broke things off with the man she had been seeing. By the end of January 2012, David was thinking of marriage.
“I felt like within a couple weeks that I knew,” says David, 45. “I think she was sort of freaked out because within a month I was like, ‘When we have kids, this is what we’re going to do.’ I think she was taken aback by how forward and committed I seemed right from the very beginning. I just sensed that we were cut from the same cloth.”
In fact, the feelings were mutual. They spent time with each other’s siblings and by late spring were talking about next steps.
After David’s birthday dinner in July, they went for a walk in Central Park. In the middle of a meadow, he got down on one knee and said, “I never want to go through another birthday or any other life event without you. Will you marry me?”
She agreed and in early fall, knowing they both wanted children, they went to see a fertility specialist. The couple was told that their reproductive health was fine but that, because of their age, they shouldn’t wait to try to conceive. Two weeks later, Kera was pregnant.
“We couldn’t believe it,” says Kera, who is due in June. “We have so much to celebrate.”
On Feb. 16, the pair exchanged vows at the Angel Orensanz Center, a gothic-style synagogue in Manhattan. Kera’s college friend, a cantor, officiated the wedding along with David’s brother, who spoke about the couple’s paths toward each other. Their nieces and nephews read the Seven Blessings before 190 guests.
Sometimes, David says, he is amazed at how much his life has changed in the past 15 months. “When I think about where my life was a few years ago or just how sad I was — I didn’t think that life would come back together quite as quickly.”
The wedding, he added, “is really a celebration of happiness.”