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Israeli Couple Wed Amid War and Destruction

A Jewish wedding chuppah is seen in Tel Aviv
on May 14, 2023.

On a windy, overcast Tuesday afternoon, Yonatan Broder and Eden Farouz, whose wedding had been scheduled for this Thursday evening at the Gavna Events Hall in Gush Etzion but was postponed because of the war, were married before a small yet exuberant and raucous group of 45 guests in the garden of her parents’ home in Moshav Aderet, in the Judean foothills south of Bet Shemesh.

The wedding contained all the elements of a traditional Jewish wedding. The bride was beaming, the groom was filled with emotion, and the scene was one of joy and gladness. Yet, due to Operation Swords of Iron, what had been planned as a large event for extended family and friends was scaled down to a small event for the immediate family—parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and a few close friends.

When the war broke out on Shabbat, Eden, who was planning to begin her studies in social work and business at Hebrew University, was called by the army to join her intelligence unit. Her father and brother were also called to their respective IDF units. Speaking to this reporter before the wedding, Nicole Broder, mother of the groom, explained that the wedding was postponed on Sunday morning, and the plan was to wait to hold a “proper” wedding once the war ended.

Yet, Eden and Yonatan, who was an officer in the IDF and is currently studying for a master’s degree in biotechnology at the Weizmann Institute, were not to be deterred. “They felt that they wanted to get married as soon as possible,” said the groom’s mother, “because the war will not be over soon. They couldn’t postpone it indefinitely.”

Therefore, the wedding was rescheduled and was held Tuesday afternoon with the downsized attendees. Danny Broder, father of the groom, quipped, “It’s amazing how you can organize a wedding in just a few hours.”

Amid the booms of war in the background, the blessings were recited, the ketubah was read and the couple was married. All weddings have tears, but the ones shed in Aderet on Tuesday afternoon were unusual. Many of the guests were overcome by sheer emotion—not only the usual ones on display at most weddings, but those of a life-affirming event celebrating love being held amidst the grim seriousness of a country at war with an enemy that epitomizes hate. The groom broke down under the chuppah when the master of ceremonies, brother Alon, mentioned their 24-year-old brother Yair, who is serving in a tank unit in the South and thus was unable to attend.

Rabbi Shalom Hammer, who officiated, contrasted the tenor of recent events with the ceremony. “Our enemies attempt to hurl us backward, but the joy from this day comes from the fact that when the enemy says that they are destroying our houses, this couple declares, ‘We will build a new home.’ When our enemies say, ‘We will kill,’ the couple answers and declares, ‘We will marry and create a lasting relationship.’”

The two families prepared the food, and the meal was served in the large living room of the Farouz residence. The flowers were provided by a couple who were married in Hashmonaim on Monday.

Eden was given leave from the army and returned home last night to prepare for her wedding. She will return to the army tomorrow, as will her father and brother.

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