It was described as the wedding of life. A happy and tearful event, when 36 year old Avigdor Gavish married the love of his life, Ayelet Dikstein, 34. There were no parents at their side to accompany them on their special day. Seventeen years ago in two separate terror attacks, they each witnessed the murders of their parents and siblings.
It was a night of joy mixed with sadness. Ayelet and Avigdor’s elated brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews and many friends and relatives, accompanied them to the Chuppah. Crying, singing and laughing, hugging and supporting each other, sharing in the joyous event.
After their vows, everyone cheered and began dancing and singing, bearing the newlywed couple on their shoulders. It was a joyous happy occasion for Ayelet and Avigdor who overcame huge challenges and chose to focus on life and not dwell in sadness.
.They first met at OneFamily’s Orphans division and have known each other for many years, attending workshops, seminars and meetings. But it was during a nine day trip organized by the orphan’s division to the United States two years ago, the two became aware of their feelings for each other. Since, under the watchful eyes of their siblings, their relationship blossomed.
In January this year, they celebrated their engagement, an occasion described as one of joy mixed with sadness, a story of bereavement and triumph of life over death. They began the day visiting the graves of their parents and siblings before announcing their marriage plans to friends and family.
It was Passover 2002, Avigdor was a young soldier serving in the IDF. As the family gathered to celebrate the festival, a terrorist broke into their home and opened fire. Avigdor’s parents, grandfather and brother were mortally wounded in the horrific attack. Avigdor protected the rest of his siblings until security forces arrived and killed the terrorist.
Months later, the Dikstein family were driving to visit friends, when terrorists ambushed the car and opened fire. Ayelet’s nine year old brother and mother were critically wounded. Her father got out of the car to help them when he was shot dead. Her brother and mother succumbed to their wounds at the site. While the terrorists continued to shoot at the vehicle, Ayelet courageously assisted her brothers and sisters until help arrived.
Now they are building a new life and home together.
Avigdor tells his bride they will rebuild their destroyed home
As the two orphans stood under the Chuppah surrounded by family and friends, Avigdor Gavish asked his bride Ayelet Dikstein , to wear her “garments of glory, come to my house, our house.”
Supported by their siblings and friends, they pledged their love for each other and Avigdor declared they would “rebuild their destroyed home,” and “share the light,” they had been granted.
“From the territory of Joseph, the evil began. Father David and mother Rachel are murdered. And from the other side, in the south of the country, in the territory of Judah, father Joseph and mother Chani are murdered. Kingdom touches kingdom, mingling and shattering into pieces. Unthinkable, unfathomable sights. I saw a fox walking out of my home, and all of me wept.
And I saw the covenant that had been made between us and I smiled: ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning.’ For many days, I read this verse with yearning and with tears. When will I be able to fulfill it? I walked around with a feeling that it was promised. You promised that You would gather, that You would watch over, that you would be here.
And behold! After many days, the house of father David and father Yosef meet again, this time to build our very own home. And the covenant is pulsing and alive. Today we reestablish our destroyed home, rebuilding one of the ruins of Jerusalem. With the grace of God and great Providence, we give thanks for this miracle. We give thanks for the wonderful people we have met on the way to our home. We give thanks to friends who are close to our heart. We give thanks to our beloved brothers and sisters and their families. And we request at this time to share the light we have been granted and to bless with health those who seek healing. To bless with a partner in life those who seek love, and they should be blessed and merit salvation. Bo’ee kallah, come my bride. Wear your garments of glory. Come to my house, to our house.”
For more about Ayelet and Avigdor’s story, see here: