How Jonathan met Edna

Was it by chance that two Bombay-born young people decided to get married on Valentine’s Day? “Nothing happens by chance, ” says Jonathan Kolet. When they met, Jonathan was 25 and living in Israel. “I returned to the city of my birth, Bombay, and attended a camp program sponsored by the Joint Distribution Committee Center. There I met this beautiful girl, ” says Jonathan.

Edna Moses, 22, was working for the Joint as an assistant teacher. She had spent the prior year in Israel studying at the SHALEM program in Jerusalem. “I liked living in Israel, but I decided to return to Bombay to impart the knowledge to my community that I gained in the program, ” says

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“Right on, we became friends, ” continues Jonathan. “Edna was different. She

had a certain independence that I very much admired. And we were totally comfortable with each other. “

Edna recalls they had met one summer as children. “The Bombay Jewish community is not such a large Jewish community, numbering about 5,000, ” she says. “And though our families went to different synagogues, and we went to different schools, he and I did attend the same family camp. “

Now, they had met again in a camp program. The following year, in 2005, Jonathan returned to Bombay for a computer course. By the time he left Bombay, “we had become best friends, and we continued our friendship by email and instant messaging, ” says Jonathan.

While Edna’s family and job were in Bombay, Jonathan’s family was in Israel — his parents and their four sons and one daughter. Jonathan had made aliya in 1998, finished his army service and then began working.

Edna took the next step. On September 6, 2006, she made aliya. Edna recalls: “This wasn’t easy for my parents – not only I was moving out on my own, but I was moving to another country. It wasn’t easy for me either, but I eventually found a job in the Diamond Exchange. And, most importantly, Jonathan’s parents in Ashkelon made me feel welcome in their home. “

The Indian tradition of arranging a marriage is still common, and Jonathan says his parents would have been happy to arrange one for him, but he took the initiative. In the spring of 2007, he asked Edna to marry him, and when she said yes, they asked for permission from their parents and became engaged that June.

The couple began to plan their wedding. It would be in Israel, where they would live, but it would follow the traditions of their community. The Jews of Bombay (which became Mumbai in 1995) are known as Bene Israel. They observe special ceremonies between an engagement and wedding that Orpa Slapak describes in her book, “The Jews of India: A Story of Three Communities. ” One ceremony is a memorial service to honor departed relatives. Another, “unique to Bene Israel, ” is called Malida and marks almost all rites of passage and is a ceremony of blessing and thanksgiving.

And then, as in other communities that have long lived under Muslim rule, there is a henna ceremony, in which henna paste is painted on the skin to provide protection from the Evil Eye. Among Bene Israel this ceremony is held on the eve of the wedding with henna put on the bride’s and bridegroom’s ring fingers to ensure them good fortune.

Jonathan and Edna’s wedding albums are full of bright colors; wreaths of flowers; ceremonial dress, special foods, the exchange of gifts — and looks of love.

And there seems to be a reason for everything. Edna wore a green sari to her henna party. Why? Green is the color of renewal and freshness. Why were there sugar cubes set out on a serving tray? To assure sweetness and pleasure. Why the coconut? It represents nourishment. Why were wreaths of jasmine tied to her forehead? That was to ensure fertility.

When asked why she wore a Punjabi dress to the Malida ceremony, Edna says: “Some things are just a fashion statement. “

Jonathan and Edna were married on February 14, 2008. Mazal tov!

Read past installments of Leah Hakimian’s column, ‘Godsend’

How Larry met Shelley

How David met Luba

How Aaron met Cynthia

How Zali met Michal

How Hadi met Rosa

How Richard met Talia

How Yuvi met Rachel

How Shai met Liora

How Dov met Miriam

How Aaron met Jennifer

How Simon met Rhea

How Dan met Simone

How Phil met Julie

How Michael met Amy

How Zvi met Daphna

How George met Leora

How Marty met Ila

How Gary met Lindsey

How Uri met Michal

How Etan met Marcel

How Lloyd met Shira

How Ronen met Amy

How Eliezer met Sararose

How Jay met Jamie

How Steve met Sarah

How Andy met Stacey

How Ami met Shoshana

How Guy Met Mali

How Shanon Met Naomi

How Joshua Met Amy