Israeli singer Ishay Ribo, who recently played New York City’s Madison Square Garden, performed last night at a rather different venue: a last-minute backyard wedding in which the groom took a 24-hour leave from reserve duty in order to get married.
Dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans, tzitzit and dusty sneakers, Ribo sang “V’he She’amda” and several other songs at the wedding of Maor and Gal Peretz, which took place in the settlement of Nofei Prat, near Maale Adumim.
Maor and Gal were supposed to get married in a wedding hall on Monday but the ceremony was canceled when Maor was called up along with 300,000 other reservists following the devastating surprise attack by Hamas on Israel.
The engaged couple wanted to go through with the wedding despite the groom’s callup, and neighbor Yossi Zer offered to host.
“Our neighbor’s son wanted to get married, and they didn’t have room so they asked us, and we said ‘happily,’ said Zer.
Maor had already reported for duty, but his commander let him out for the wedding. “He asked and they said sure, just come back the next day,” said Zer.
Then, the groom’s mother was getting her hair done in nearby Kfar Adumim when she told her hairdresser about the wedding. He told her he would get Ribo to perform. And he did.
“He came and sang a few songs and then left,” said Zer, the neighbor who hosted. “It was just very emotional, the whole thing.”
Zer and his wife, Mira, have eight children of their own, six of whom are currently serving or were called up for reserve duty.
The wedding was also particularly poignant for the rabbi performing the ceremony, who has a soldier grandson who was injured on Saturday in the line of duty and hospitalized at Tel Hashomer, said Zer.
As for Zer, he’s happy to host any impromptu celebrations — weddings, circumcision ceremonies, or other life cycle events.
“It’s a great place for any event,” he said. “Call me anytime.”