A Letter from Jerusalem, Part Two

Last night Shira, her brother Daniel, our father, and I took Yeshayahu, his parents, and one of his brothers out for a pre-wedding celebratory dinner at Focaccia, a steakhouse in Jerusalem on Emek Rephaim. This would be our opportunity to create time out of time, to stop and own the largeness of this moment, Yeshayahu’s last evening as a unit of one. The next night, May 12, Yeshayahu and Adi would become a unit of two.

We ordered a bottle of Gamla Merlot, and went around the table talking about what we love about Yeshayahu. He is truly one of the most impressive human beings I have ever met. His intellect (STEM at Technion), humility, humor are one of a kind. But mostly people talked about his decency and caring. My father in love, who tends to the stoic, uncharacteristically wept when telling of the many times that Yeshayahu took loving care of his late grandmother when she was vulnerable in her last chapter.

We toasted to his future with Adi. We were so happy for them. We ate. We drank. A perfect night.

Then Yeshayahu’s cell phone rang. It was his fiancé Adi. I have to take this. He left the table. A few moments later he returned, his face ashen. We are not going to be able to get married tomorrow. The missiles. The sirens. The war. The beginning of a call-up. But Adi said we have to be strong.

Just then the waiter came. Can I interest you in dessert? No dessert, just the check, please.

They had already delayed their wedding once due to Covid. Now twice due to war. The wedding is tentatively rescheduled for later in May, but who knows, given the vicissitudes of war, and that his unit may well be called up. Yeshayahu is in infantry.

Tonight our family will drive to Haifa, to be with Adi and her parents, Tzvika and Yosepha, and her three siblings. May 12 will not be the wedding they had dreamed of. But it will be a night of love and strength.

Israel and Israelis—the fine art of affirming life, hope, and future in the face of what is.