Friday, June 22, 2012

And now the story: "With these rockets I thee wed... "

Nitzi Yaakov..
Israel Hayom..
22 June '12..

A white wedding dress, white flowers, a happy groom and ... an Iron Dome rocket defense battery in the background. This is how Rinat Shickler chose to document her wedding day a few hours before the ceremony, which was supposed take place at Kibbutz Alumim in southern Israel on Thursday. At the last minute, however, the ceremony was moved to a wedding hall in the center of the country due to concern that the security situation in the south would deteriorate. A total of eight rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Thursday.

Rinat, 22, from Alumim, knew from a young age that just like her two older siblings she would stand alongside her soul mate on the sprawling kibbutz lawn and marry the man she chose to spend her life with. At the last minute, however, the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command refused to allow the wedding to be conducted at the kibbutz, which was supposed to host 650 guests.

Despite the "small" change in plans, Rinat indeed said "yes" on Thursday to N., 24, whose identity cannot be revealed because he serves in one of the IDF's elite units.

Friends and family quickly began to make feverish logistical changes, locating and reserving a substitute wedding hall and calling all the other guests to notify them that "there is a wedding, but at a new venue." The young couple's exhausted team of friends finally completed their mission.

"It was quite the ordeal to transfer the wedding from the south to the center in a few hours," said a gushing Rinat. In the morning, the couple found Tzion Sasportas, the owner of the Tropigan wedding hall in Petach Tikva, and asked him if they could celebrate their wedding there. Sasportas immediately made himself and his staff available to make the impromptu ceremony happen.

"This is the quickest flash wedding we've ever had here," said Sasportas with a warm smile. "Two nights ago their kibbutz told them they couldn’t have the wedding there because of the situation, and yesterday morning they called me. I knew right away that we could get something done and by the late afternoon they had already started the craziness of calling everybody and moving everyone here from the kibbutz," he said.

On the way to Petach Tikva, Rinat made sure to add the one final detail that would help immortalize her wedding day: She and N. stopped their car near the town of Netivot and took photographs with an Iron Dome battery in the background. "It was obvious to us that our wedding day photos would be taken with the Iron Dome battery in the background," Rinat said on Thursday. "It's a reminder for us and for the future generations."

Sasportas described the intensive preparations for the event, saying "We are all Israelis — one people, one heart; if we can't help each other during days of war then when can we?" He said of Rinat: "A beautiful, tiny, broken girl stood before me. It was clear to me that I would support them all the way to the end of the ceremony. It was my duty. As for them — they still had a lot of work left."

The happy father of the bride, Adi Shickler, said with excitement, "I'm standing here in the hall and seeing the flow of people arriving — and slowly but surely the place is filling up. All the guests are arriving — it warms my heart," he said.

"Rinat wanted to get married like her big brother and sister on the kibbutz lawn; it was a childhood dream of hers to have it among the familiar scents of home and family. I have no doubt that when all is said and done this is a wedding we will never forget. It was certainly the best alternative we could have dreamed of," said the proud father.


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