Editors’ note: Since October 7, the ongoing crisis in Israel and Gaza has been at the forefront of our minds and hearts here at Hey Alma. As the situation continues to unfold, we will also continue to be here, providing resources like our guide on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tips for assessing reliable news sources, community event for grieving and playlists of Jewish songs with messages of healing and hope. With all of that in mind, we also want to provide our community with moments of reprieve from the onslaught of bad news. It is our hope that the following article will serve that purpose.
I think I’m what you’d call a fair-weather member of Bachelor Nation. If you’ve followed along on my “Bachelor” journey, you’ve seen me write about Jewish contestants like Jason Alabaster and his relationship with Bachelorette Gabby Windey, Ariel Frenkel and the most Jewish episode of the “Bachelor” ever and Gabby Windey’s subsequent coming out and relationship with comedian Robby Hoffman.
However, these moments were nearly almost always overshadowed for me by the toxicity of the “Bachelor” franchise. After the particularly weird and gross ending to Zach Shallcross’ season, I couldn’t take it anymore. I decided that the bad parts of the show outweighed the good and called it quits.
But now I think I’m getting pulled back in for one reason, and one reason only: Leslie from “The Golden Bachelor.”
If you haven’t been keeping up with it, “The Golden Bachelor” is kind of like the regular “Bachelor” except it’s aged like fine wine. The titular “Golden Bachelor” is Gerry (pronounced like Gary, for some reason) Turner, a lovable 71-year-old whose wife of 43 years, Toni, passed in 2017. Sob. Now, Gerry is on his journey to find new love among the “Golden Bachelor” contestants, women who range in age from 60 to 75.
Enter Leslie. (Literally, watch her playful limo entrance here.) Leslie Fhima is a 64 year old current fitness instructor from Minneapolis who has not been afraid to show her Jewish pride on television. On multiple episodes, Leslie has worn her Star of David necklace, including in last night’s episode when she went on an ATV-riding one-on-one date! (In the meantime, the other contestants played a rousing game of Never Have I Ever that is absolutely worth watching.)
Though her Jewish identity didn’t come up in the conversation that was aired, Gerry and Leslie connected on a genuine, vulnerable level. “I think she’s giving me a piece of herself. The feeling I have with her is just really warm, affectionate closeness,” Gerry told the audience in a confessional. The date culminated with Leslie accepting Gerry’s rose before they steamily kissed in a hot tub.
I can’t wait to learn more about Leslie and her family on the upcoming hometowns episode (fingers crossed she gets there), but for now, here’s a brief synopsis of what we know about her: If her career choice didn’t make it clear, Leslie is a fitness maven! She used to be a professional figure skater, was a national aerobics champion at 25 years old and has run 10 marathons. (The next time I hear anyone say that Jews aren’t good athletes, I’ll point them to this incredible woman.) Leslie is also a mom! She has three kids Elijah, Chloe and Zack, and is a “glama” to her three grandkids Jackson, Sofia and Yoseph. She also has a mini Aussiedoodle named Billie. On the show, she tells Gerry that she’s been single for the past 22 years, but before that SHE DATED PRINCE!! (According to her son, Prince wrote the song “Sexy Dancer” about her and she broke up with him.) In other celebrity news, she also apparently knows Yung Gravy, and she’s seen Lady Gaga and Post Malone in concert. Seriously… how cool is this woman?
Obviously, our fingers are crossed for Gerry and Leslie!!