By Jon Harris, Yeshivat Lev HaTorah alumnus

My wife and I were both on our gap year in Israel when we met. I was studying at Lev Hatorah in Ramat Beit Shemesh, and she was studying at Machon Ma’ayan in Beit Shemesh (I believe they moved since).

One of my yeshiva classmates, Josh Buchman, was having a birthday party where he wanted to spend all night in Jerusalem and go to the Kotel at sunrise along with friends from yeshiva and elsewhere. One of his friends who he knew before arriving in Israel was Raquel “Kelly” Kabel. We met each other at the party.

alt="jon and kelly at the kotel in 2008"

Me and Kelly at the Kotel soon after we met

I was the quiet one, she was the loud one of course, so we didn’t hit it off immediately, but we went as a group another night to a movie in Jerusalem, Tropic Thunder. Some miscommunication later (me thinking I was supposed to bring a friend to what was actually our first date) and we were on our way to dating. Of course we were quite young, but we stuck together all throughout college.

One sunny day in St. Louis I handed her a book that she had asked me to read about relationships, and when she opened it to see my “notes” there was actually a secret compartment with a ring inside. Fast forward a few years and we are expecting our first child (a daughter) in late March.

alt="jon and kelly at the kotel in 2015"

Me and Kelly recreating the picture above in December 2015, our first time back in Israel since our gap year.

Jon and Kelly live in St. Louis. Jon works in market development for Creative Home Engineering and Kelly is a professional organizer and head of JGrads, the Jewish Graduate Student Associate of St. Louis

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