Israel is not just a place I love, it is the place where I have taught love. In 2017 I moved to Israel to gain experience with Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) for one year. I didn’t know that my soon-to-be husband Ben also arrived in Israel around the same time to do Aliyah.
We were introduced to a mutual friend in Haifa and quickly became friends. We got to know each other over several weeks. We connected through our love for Israel and the experience of moving there. And like most people, we talked about all the little things, like our favorite soccer teams and what foods we liked and disliked, but also about the big things, like the challenges we had faced before and what we both wanted to achieve in life , Over time, Ben became an honorary member of the MITF family.
At first, none of us were interested in a serious relationship. However, we continued to spend time experiencing Israel together. Imagine my surprise when Ben, who said he wanted to be casual, soon took the bold step of calling me his girlfriend when he spoke to other colleagues in my program. The directness of the Israelis seemed to extend to him, and for the better.
Ben was part of a football team in Haifa. It was an activity that connected him to his home while he was living abroad. Unfortunately, he was severely attacked a few months after our relationship. We rushed to the emergency room and Ben had to undergo surgery. During this difficult time, I knew that I would rather do nothing than be with him. All I wanted was to take away all of his pain and make sure he never saw it again. I realized that I had fallen deeply in love with a boy who had lived only one state at a time, but whom I had to travel around the world to meet.
And then it happened. On November 16, 2018, I went shopping with a friend and we stopped in the rose garden near the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa. As soon as I came around the corner I saw my friends standing and waiting for me. Ben was in front of them with a big grin on his face. On the other hand, I looked at her in confusion and shock. Ben took my hand, knelt on one knee and pulled out a ring. I tried my best not to cry when I said yes. It was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.
We got married on October 19, 2019 in Milton, Delaware, surrounded by family and friends. Now that we’re back in the States, Israel is still an important part of our home. This is where our story started as a couple and we learned so much about ourselves as an individual and as a unit.
Ben and I have dual citizenship and we hope that in the future we can return to Israel with our children so that they too can experience the beautiful country where our love story began.
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