From the Sukkah to the Chuppah

Bracha & Aryeh Goetz

First Date: Lunch at a friend’s sukkah during Sukkot, October 1978

Wedding Date: March 25, 1979

Venue: The Ramada Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem

Residence: Upper Park Heights

Favorite Activity: Reconnecting at every Friday night dinner

Bracha and Aryeh were born just three blocks from each other in Queens, N.Y., but met for the first time across the ocean, in Jerusalem, more than 20 years later. When mutual friends invited them to lunch during Sukkot, the pair clicked. “We eventually went from the sukkah to the Chuppah!” said Bracha.

Both Bracha and Aryeh had become more observant in their Judaism in adulthood after living in Israel. Aryeh says they shared not only similar backgrounds, but also the same hopes and plans. Ten weeks after meeting Bracha, Aryeh proposed at the Kotel on the eighth night of Chanukah. “They were lighting the huge torch [on the menorah], we were sitting on a bench watching, and [Aryeh] said: ‘The eighth night [of Chanukah] has the most potential for dedication, so I want to know if we could dedicate our lives to each other and to God,’” Bracha said.

Aryeh added: ”It was just me and Bracha, feeling God’s powerful presence at the Kotel, with the menorah shining beside us.”

Bracha said: “We celebrate [the day of the proposal] as our anniversary,” because it was such a “meaningful moment.”

Bracha laughingly said she and her husband really got a chance to fall in love “after the children moved out. I gave birth a year after I got married and was so nauseous during my pregnancies. It can be hard to get to know someone when you have six young kids. You kind of look up every once in a while and say, ‘You’re still here, that’s great!’ But these are now the best years of our marriage, because we really have time to appreciate each other.”

Bracha, who has written more than 32 Jewish children’s books, credits Aryeh for her professional success. “My husband takes care of all the ‘nitty gritty,’ like taxes,” said Bracha. “He encourages me to be as creative as I want to be.” With Aryeh, Bracha says she is “free to soar.”

“I try to write the kind of books I wish I read as a child,” Bracha said. “I write about the deepest things in life in a way that children can understand.”

At first, Bracha wrote books that focused only on Judaism, but now, with a different publisher, she covers universal spiritual topics of interest.

Her next book, coming out before Passover is entitled “Where is God?” Bracha says her union and partnership with her husband has worked so well because he was just what she was looking for in a partner. “I was looking for someone with his feet on the ground who could also soar spiritually,” she said.

Aryeh said their marriage is successful because they are compatible and “see the good in each other.” Bracha says their marriage is “such a big blessing. We have six children, a lot of grandchildren, and never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed what wonderful people our children would become and what an exciting life we would get to share.”

Erica Rimlinger is a local freelance writer.

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