Now, that’s kismet.
Hit hard by recession tsoriss, down-on-their-luck Mill Basin lovebirds Regina Kaplinsky and Emil Sand little dreamed that their wedding %u2013 once a “virtually impossible” fantasy %u2013 would be a joyously lavish affair, complete with “all the bells and whistles,” at a prestigious Manhattan temple with the consul general of Israel among the 200 party-hearty guests wishing them, “mazel tov!”
The 37-year-old groom, an MTA worker with a mother suffering from multiple sclerosis to support, and his pretty bride, a 29-year-old unemployed health care administrative assistant, had their wish for a traditional Jewish wedding come true when they tied the knot at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue on the sixth day of Chanukah %u2013 simultaneously with another couple in Israel %u2013 compliments of the non-profit Taglit-Birthright Israel which footed the entire bill through its new Project We Do campaign.
Taglit offers “community building” programs exclusively for alumni of its heritage trips to Israel, such as Kaplinsky, who traveled to the Land of Milk and Honey in December 2005, and is a former participant of the group’s NEXT NY Bar and Bat Mitzvah Program.
The selfless sweethearts have weathered their hard times by continuing to give back to their community as Auxiliary cops with the 61st Precinct where they met five years ago, and by volunteering their life-saving services as rescue workers with the Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance Corps %u2013 he as an Emergency Medical Technician, and she as a dispatcher, whose family emigrated from the Ukraine before she was born “with nothing in their pockets.”
The pair’s good turns have been returned in leaps and bounds. When Kaplinsky relayed her wedding dismays to a rabbi, he immediately contacted Taglit-Birthright Israel, which set the wheels of making marital magic in motion.
After an “overwhelming response” and an “outpouring of donations,” the organization was able to secure the trueloves an elegant venue, decorations, a rollicking band and even wedding attire for their big day.
“Everybody came together for a big mitzvah, it was just hard to believe that it was happening, to have a true Jewish wedding,” exclaimed the Sands, extending their gratitude to Taglit-Birthright Israel for their “amazing experience.”
More than 200,000 individuals from 52 countries have participated in Taglit’s birthright trips since they were established in 2000 with part funding from the Israeli government.
Birthright Israel is open to all Jewish young adults, ages 18 to 26, who have not traveled to Israel before on a peer educational trip, nor participated in a study program, nor lived in Israel past the age of 12.
For more information, call www.birthr