"Mukudeshes, mekudeshes, mekudeshes."
Hagaon Harav Yisrael Nissim Lugassi, head of Ahavat Yisrael institutions in Bat Yam, officiated at the wedding.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house when P. stepped under the chuppah last week with her future husband. While every wedding is emotional, the tears that flood so freely among her parents and close friends at Yad L'Achim revealed a story of spiritual triumph.
The emotional highpoint came when the Rav officiating at the wedding, Hagaon Harav Yisrael Nissim Lugassi, head of Ahavat Yisrael institutions in Bat Yam, proclaimed in a loud voice, "Mukudeshes, mekudeshes, mekudeshes – she is betrothed," to which the crowd responded with a resounding, Mazal Tov!
That moment crowned a story that defies belief. P., the daughter of a fine home in the Jerusalem area, was 16 and a half when she got involved with a young Arab. When her parents learned of the relationship they did everything they could to convince her to break it off, to no avail. To their utter shock she expressed her desire to marry him and convert to Islam.
At this point, the desperate parents brought Yad L'Achim into the picture. P. only agreed to meet with Yad L'Achim's social worker out of consideration for her parents. She thought she'd show up for a few meetings, go through the motions, and then feel justified in proceeding with her plans.
But something happened. P. discovered that there are extraordinary Jews who truly care about her; Jews who were losing sleep in a determined effort to keep her in the embrace of the Jewish people.
"In the beginning it wasn't comfortable for me to see how much effort the social worker was making for me, how much faith she had in me, so I cooperated," P. recalls. "Later, the wise things she said to me penetrated my heart and I understood the big mistake I was about to make."
A few months after severing ties with the Arab, with Yad L'Achim still an active part of her life, P. became engaged to a Jewish boy from a good home.
At the joyous wedding, Yad L'Achim activists danced together with family members, expressing their gratitude to G-d over the soul that was saved and the future generations that will, with G-d's help, come into the world as kosher, believing Jews.