Israel Hayom newspaper reports the girls of the Bnei Akiva Ulpan of Neriya adopted a bride and groom who had converted in the United States and after several weeks managed to raise over 22,000 shekels, photographers, catering, orchestra, and all that is needed to hold a dream wedding for the excited couple.
Yaakov and Leah underwent many incarnations, living in the United States until they found Judaism together and could stand under the wedding canopy on their wedding day as full-fledged Jews.
The affair began when Jackson William Munson, a young student in the United States who was unaware of his Jewish roots, went with his girlfriend Lauren to a Spanish exchange program and saw his family name among names of Jews deported from Spain in government archives. Later on, he also came to Tangier in North Africa, where he saw his family name in a Jewish cemetery. Standing before the graves, he phoned his father and received a clear answer: "Our family doesn't talk about this issue."
Munson decided if his roots were Jewish, he wanted to be a Jew. At the same time, his girlfriend Lauren decided to convert because her father was of Jewish origin. Each of them separately opened their process of clarification and conversion. Lauren emigrated to Israel and in the process of conversion with Rabbi Dinkowitz became Leah. Jackson also underwent a complete conversion process with the "Jewish Rock" organization headed by Rabbi Yaakov Benamou and changed his name to Yaakov. After a few years, they met again in Israel, this time as Jews, and they decided to marry according to Jewish law.
In addition to their decision to marry, 10th-grade girls in the Bnei Akiva Neriya Ulpan were looking for a significant event to mark the month of Adar with the joy of giving. The girls went to the Ora Institute and asked if they knew a couple that could use help with their wedding. The rabbis of the institute were happy to help, and told the students about Yaakov and Leah, who were here in Israel without any relatives at all and did not have the financial means to hold a wedding.
The Ulpana girls didn't think twice and managed to recruit in short order over NIS 22,000 and photographers volunteering to take pictures for free. Mishni Salads also took part and contributed many salads and food, and Elisha Birnbaum's orchestra accompanied the event with songs and music. The girls also took upon themselves to design the invitation, the hall, and the canopy, and to wait tables at the wedding themselves.
At the end of the wedding, the happy bride and groom came to the girls in tears and said that they had really succeeded in feeling the Divine Presence among them. "This wedding was such a joyous wedding, I'm sure you brought redemption today," noted the happy bride.
Hannah Tzuf, a 10th grade student who was among the organizers of the wedding, said, "It was the most exciting wedding I ever saw; we weren't able to stop the tears, and Yaakov and Leah didn't stop thanking us and telling us that we went above expectations. We were very excited throughout the organization of the wedding and collecting donations to hold it, to meet the broad heart of our wonderful people who were happy and excited with us from this special and important project. So many people opened their hearts and volunteered to help with their skills and professionalism."
"We're fortunate we were privileged to engage in giving with real joy on the eve of the Purim holiday," said ulpana head Rabbi Lior Halperin, continuing "we've been blessed with charming, special, and noble girls who got busy and always want to do their best. I'm proud of the girls who didn't let anything stop them and completely arranged by themselves such a beautiful and moving wedding."