The couple at their wedding
The couple at their wedding Sveta Gotfried

Last Wednesday, September 16, Ronen Plot, mayor of Nof Hagalil, posted about a special man who underwent circumcision, celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and wedding - all in a period of one month.

"Opening the year on an optimistic note and wishing Yaakov Baranov of Nof Hagalil, who, at the age of 70, completed the three most important ceremonies in the life of a Jew within a one-month period - circumcision, Bar Mitzvah and wedding," the mayor wrote.

"Despite the coronavirus and his advanced age, Yaakov insisted on undergoing a circumcision about two weeks ago and on Wednesday of this week completed the conversion process, donning a tefillin. Immediately after recovering from the operation, he re-wed the love of his life Galina according to Jewish Law."

"I met Galina while living in Moldova. I was a singer and she was an instructor for voice development. We fell in love and had a civil marriage. She was Jewish and I was partially—from my father's side," he recalls.

The topic of conversion to Judaism remained in the background throughout their mutual life together. While the two maintained a Jewish household, and their elder daughter even took up religious Judaism, they felt something was amiss.

"All these years I was afraid to ask Yaakov to undergo conversion because of the circumcision. I was afraid he'd get hurt during the operation and eventually made up with the fact that it wouldn't take place," says Galina.

But about a year ago, Yaakov surprised everyone when he turned up at the Haifa rabbinic court. Ilana Raz, who accompanies converts on their way to Judaism, recalls how despite his advanced age, he didn't give up on a single Torah lesson and passed all the conversion tests with shining success.

The two have been together for 47 years during which they have brought two children and eight grandchildren to the world. "They say it's never too late for love. It's not," concludes Yaakov.