Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Svetlana's Angels: UBA Arad makes a wedding

Moshe and Svetlana are both 26 and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union. They met each other in Beer Sheva and fell in love. Svetlana recently lost her mother to cancer and has no contact with her father. Moshe also lost all contact with both his parents after making Aliyah on his own. The couple wanted to marry, but had no resources to afford a traditional Jewish wedding.

Svetlana with her UBA Arad angels
When Mevaseret Feld, a 12th grader from Ulpanat Bnei Akiva Neot Avraham in Arad heard about the couple's plight while volunteering in Beer Sheva, she immediately consulted with her classmates, and they collectively decided to "adopt" the young couple, and make them a wedding they will never forget.

For four months during the period of their matriculation exams and their summer vacation, the girls assumed the roles of parents of the bride and groom, wedding planner, caterer, florist and dressmaker. They even raised the money needed to buy wedding presents: all the household goods the young couple would need to establish
a kosher Jewish home, from A to Z. The school, for its part, encouraged the girls by donating the use of the campus dining hall for the event.

On the night of the wedding, everyone in attendance was touched by the spirit of love and chesed that filled the air. Rabbi Yaakov Mendelson, Arad's Chabad rabbi who officiated at the wedding, compared Moshe and Svetlana to Avraham Avinu and Sarah Imenu in Parshat Lech Lecha, leaving the land of their birth to come to Eretz Yisrael, the homeland of every Jew for all time.

The celebration lasted late into the night, and as it wound down close to midnight, Moshe and Svetlana took the microphone to thank the Ulpana girls for what they had done for them: "We have no words to describe how excited and thankful we are that so many people took us into their hearts and worked so hard to make this such a joyous occasion. The warmth and caring you showed us in preparing this wedding is proof that we made the right decision to make Aliyah. This is where we belong, with our people. This is our home. We had to come here to meet our guardian angels."

View a video clip of the wedding ceremony