Religious Israeli TV star's recipe for successful marriage

Former MTV DJ Eden Harel tells story of her spectacular odyssey to Judaism.

Tags: Eden Har'el
Uzi Baruch ,

Eden Harel
Eden Harel

An appreciation dinner was held on Sunday in honor of mothers of Bnei Akiva yeshiva students at Neve Herzog in Nir Galim, near Ashdod.

"This evening is dedicated to giving thanks to those mothers who work constantly, yet because of our busy routine we just don't get to stop and say thank you," said Shimon Iluz, manager of the yeshiva.

The evening opened with a long row of stalls, all intended for mothers including cosmetics, clothing, and toiletries. In addition, mothers were treated to a luxurious dinner in their honor. Afterwards the women gathered for a talk with the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Meir Edri.

TV host and actress Eden Harel told the women how she left home in the north of the country at 17 and began to integrate into the Tel Aviv scene as a bartender. Then, without too many expectations, she went to audition for the role of presenter for MTV, beating 700 competitors, some of whom were very well-known figures in the worldwide entertainment industry.

Once she received the coveted post, Harel says she still felt something was missing. "I realized that I needed to seek spiritual answers so I started learning yoga in London, looking for the essence and purpose of my life and to try to understand what I'm really doing here in the universe."

Harel's search for spirituality led her to leave the entertainment world and travel to far-off India. "Through yoga I found a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in London, a bit similar to Judaism."

When she reached the monastery she hoped to draw the spirituality that she was so urgently seeking, but a surprise awaited her: "I came to the head of the monastery and told him I wanted to be a Buddhist nun. He laughed and asked me,'What, are you Jewish?' I replied: 'Yes, there is a problem?' He replied: 'I have no problem, but you have a real problem: You don't belong here. So I spent a year in an Indian monastery, but I felt like this isn't it; I'm missing something."

Returning to Israel she met Oded Menashe on a television program. They married and today have a religious Jewish home with five children. Harel marvels at Judaism. "We must tell everyone about Shabbat and family purity; this is the recipe for a good relationship. If everyone would know about family purity there would be less divorce in Israel. It does magic for a relationship".

A particularly moving moment of the evening occurred when letters written by the children in advance were waiting for the mothers in one of the classrooms.

Quite a few mothers were moved to tears. "It's so exciting and satisfying to take part in an evening dedicated entirely to us mothers. When I read the letter my son wrote, I could not help but cry," said Yifat Nahari, a mother, adding, "In today's world, the importance of interpersonal communication is very significant."