Two students who recently made aliyah to Israel, each from a different country, were married 5:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon at the Ariel University Center.
Igor Kachalov from Ukraine is now Peretz Kachalov since making aliyah, and Alyona Stelmachenko from Russia became Ruth Stelamchenko. Both Peretz and Ruth completed a four-month special study program at Ariel University sponsored by Masa, a program that helps foreign students to build a life-long relationship with Israel and a firm commitment to Jewish life.
During their semester at Ariel University Center they not only learned about their Jewish Heritage, but met each other and decided on a life together as citizens of Israel.
After the completion of their course a few months ago, each returned to their home countries to complete the process for aliyah and prepare for marriage. They decided that since they would be living their married life in Israel and because AUC and the Masa course was so meaningful, they would be married on the campus where they first met.
The wedding was preceded by a graduation ceremony for another Masa class. One notable piece of music performed was composed by Evgeny Chubara, a current student from the Republic of Moldova, as an anthem for the city of Ariel. The words of the chorus are: “Ariel, may your heart be brave and your people safe forever.”
The wedding was conducted by Rabbi Shalom Zadok, Chief Rabbi of Ariel, and Amos Tzuviel, Manager of the Jewish Council of Ariel. Following the blessings, singing, and the bridegroom’s breaking of the wine glass, a great cry of rejoicing went up from the hundreds witnessing the occasion as Peretz and Ruth became a married couple.
The Masa Program brings 100 to 120 Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel twice a year for a total of eight months. Since the program began, 160 of the graduates have made aliyah.
Ariel University Center is located in the largest Samaria settlement of Ariel, with a student population of 12,000 and with majors that include engineering, communications, architecture, and biology.
Courtesy of the Shomron Liaison Office.