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A Very Special Israeli Wedding

August 2017

“Love makes my heart flutter because you are the love of my life.  Your beauty pulls at my heartstrings.  Please hug and kiss me.”  Simona said these words to Yechiel as they stood under the chuppah, and he answered with an expression of his own love for her.


Simona and Yechiel’s story is a love story like many others:  They met.  They fell in love.  They decided to get married.  What sets their story apart is that they met and fell in love while residents at Israel Elwyn’s (IE) Community Residential Services, in Herzlia. Given their intellectual disability, their story might not have turned out as joyously as it has.  People with disabilities (or “with difficulties” as many prefer to call it) who fall in love and choose to marry face far more obstacles than do normative couples; their success in reaching the chuppah cannot be taken for granted.  That this couple did is a testimony to their love, their resilience, and the help and support they receive from Israel Elwyn.  On July 14, Simona and Yechiel were married in a hall that reverberated with the excitement and joy shared by their families, friends and guests.


Simona and Yechiel each began living in an IE supported apartment in Herzlia at different points in time.  After meeting, their relationship gradually developed, going through the ups and downs experienced by many couples.  By the time the day of their wedding arrived, they had been known as a couple for four years.  During that time, IE’s support staff worked with them to help them learn how to succeed as a couple and navigate life together.

Once the couple felt secure in their relationship and recognized their shared desire to live together, they asked IE for its help.  At first, they asked to be allowed to share a room in their 6-person apartment.  Later, they asked to move to their own apartment, where they could live as a couple, with the requisite privacy.  IE’s professional staff worked to organize this and even helped them in their search for the apartment of their dreams.

Today, Simona and Yechiel manage their own lives, needing only the supports they request from IE staff.  Yechiel notes, “Our social worker gave us the tools to work out any problems.”   “When you’re part of a couple, you have to know your partner and learn what to do for recreation.  You need help to understand what it is to live with a partner,” Simona points out.

When it comes to being a couple, explains Yechiel, you need to be aware of one another’s needs. “For instance, let’s say something hurts her.  Partners support each other when something happens.”  Simona says, “We live together and do lots of things together, including the cleaning.”

The couple’s families organized the wedding, taking the couple’s special requests into account.  Like many other Israeli brides, Simona had a henna party, a common Israeli bachelorette party, before the wedding.

Under the chuppah, Simona and Yechiel declared their mutual love and commitment.  When Simona performed a dance she had choreographed in honor of her late mother, whose absence she felt greatly on this special occasion, there was not a dry eye in the hall.

We wish Simona and Yechiel many years of joy together and intend to continue providing them with the tools and supports they ask for along the way.

Lets Connect

We'd love to hear from you! Also, please let us know in advance of your next trip to Israel and we will give you a tour of the Israel Elwyn programs.

You can also contact one of our North American offices: United States: (267) 225-5132 or Canada: (416) 649-1655.

If you would like to make a contribution either online or by check, please see the details below.

David B. Marcu, Chief Executive Officer

IE's mission is to develop and provide a wide array of supports and tools for people with disabilities, while constantly striving for excellence of service and the creation of a just society. Together with people with disabilities and society at large, we shall continue working as an innovative and cutting-edge organization.

Please support the work of Israel Elwyn to provide state-of-the-art services in the areas of childhood early intervention, rehabilitation, assisted living, vocational training and employment services for persons with disabilities by making a gift:

At PayPal:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn

By check payable to:
American Friends of Israel Elwyn, PO Box 828284, Philadelphia, PA 19182-8284
Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, 74 Tycos Drive, Toronto, Ontario M6B 1V9

To donate in Israel:
Please click this link:
Mail checks: payable to "Israel Elwyn", at 20 Henrietta Szold St., Jerusalem 9650200

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