Staff of Rambam Health Care Campus (Rambam) in Haifa, Israel, helped a couple marry in the presence of the bride’s mother, a critically ill hospital patient.
Maor Charney (32), a Haifa resident, and her fiancée, Nissan Yehezkiel, had been planning their dream wedding for months. The wedding ceremony was set for August 2023. However, Charney’s mother, Zippora (73), was unexpectedly hospitalized in Rambam’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Her condition was unstable and sometimes even life-threatening.
Charney and Yehezkiel were determined to have Zippora witness their union and decided to make it happen immediately. “I wanted my mother at my wedding; she had been waiting for it for a long time,” recalls Charney. The marriage took place at Zipporah’s bedside the very next day. Instead of walking down the aisle as initially planned, the couple walked down the corridor of Rambam’s ICU, with ‘their song’ playing in the background.
The couple’s community Rabbi, David Abuhatzria, solemnized the marriage in the presence of close family members and ICU staff, who had become an integral part of their lives. What was meant to be the happiest moment of the couple’s lives was bittersweet.
Osnat Aspis, ICU head nurse, explains, “We handle complex cases. This was not the first time we were asked to arrange such an event. When Charney approached us with their request, we understood that we had do everything possible to help.”
The bride’s mother remained aware throughout the ceremony. Aspis shares, “During the ceremony, Tzippora had tears in her eyes. I believe she heard everything and understood what was happening around her.” She poignantly adds, “We had hoped to see an improvement in her condition, but that has not come to pass.”
During the wedding ceremony, before reciting the “Bride’s Blessing,” Charney turned to her ailing mother and shared her own blessing, “Mom, may you be blessed with good health. May you come back to us. May you open your eyes, get up from your hospital bed, and stand firmly on your feet.”
The young couple still plan to celebrate their marriage in August, with the prayer that Zipporah will be at their side.