announced the arrival of the bride. Guests rushed outside to the chuppah (wedding
canopy) under the clear night sky in the Judean Hills at the Neve Ilan wedding
venue. Every wedding is exciting, but tonight's is thrilling because 13 years
ago, the young woman being married-- Adi Hudja--was on the verge of death in
the trauma center at Hadassah University Hospital.
Adi and new husband Eliran Peretz
Adi and Prof. Rivkind
ago, Adi was scheduled to have her leg amputated. Now, she is walking easily
down the aisle. Guests are applauding.
“Did you ever
think you’d see her walking like this down the aisle?” whispers Barbara Sofer,
Hadassah’s Israel Director of Public Relations, to the man standing to her
He can’t speak; he
shakes his head “no.” This is Prof. Iri Liebergall, the head of Orthopedics at
Hadassah, who saved her leg.
to the chuppah is Prof. Avi Rivkind, head of the Trauma Unit. “Her
cousin said I promised I’d dance with Adi at her wedding,” he says with wonder.
Prof. Rivkind saved her life.
December 1, 2001
was a cold, clear winter night in Jerusalem. After Shabbat, Adi, then 13, and
two cousins went downtown to Ben Yehudah Street for some fun. Just as they were
about to return home, one of the cousins decided to get ice cream. Adi and cousin
Racheli were waiting for her to return when a suicide bomber exploded next to
Adi. That night, two terrorists and a car bomb exploded downtown killing 13
people, wounding hundreds.
lightly injured. Adi had devastating injuries--shrapnel throughout her body,
but mostly in her legs. She was rushed to Hadassah. The bleeding was so profuse
that no matter how much blood she was given, she seemed to be bleeding to
death. Doctors speculated that the nuts and bolts that had penetrated her
skinny body had been soaked in rat poison or a similar substance to increase
the amount of bleeding.
temperature was dropping. That’s when Trauma Surgeon Prof. Rivkind decided to
try the very expensive experimental drug, Nova 7. It had been developed for hemophiliacs,
and it wasn’t supposed to be used for trauma victims.
But thanks to the
Nova 7, the bleeding slowed. He gave her another dose.
had been in Europe at a conference when he heard about the blast in Jerusalem.
He headed for the airport to come home. When he landed early Sunday morning, he
went straight to the hospital. He examined Adi. His staff thought she needed to
have a leg amputated in order to save her life. Her mother had given her
consent with a heavy heart. ”Anything to save my daughter,” she said.
“This was a
dilemma for me,” said Prof Liebergall. “A dilemma means that you don’t know if
you have the correct answer, but I felt we could save the limb and her life.”
And so, Adi began
a long series of operations. The last was only a few months ago.
medical journals and text books tell the story of her miraculous recovery. But everyone
knows that miracles do not happen in a vacuum. It takes a special team and a
It took Adi a
while to get her life organized after so much surgery, but she is now a
university student, majoring in communications.
The night of her
wedding, however, she is pure bride, as her dark hair frames her delicate
features above the white dress. Her tall, handsome groom, Eliran Peretz, is
waiting to put a ring on her finger.
Sephardic Rabbi pronounces the blessings. Her mother, Mali Houdja, is wiping
The groom breaks
the glass and recites:
“If I forget thee
is in no danger of being forgotten.
Cheers and laugher
prevail. In the line-up to hug the bride, Adi’s cousins begin to shout: “Adi!
Here’s Prof. Rivkind. Here’s Prof. Liebergall.”
The crowd parts for
these precious hugs.
“And I hug Adi,
too,” relates Mrs. Sofer. And I
say,”This is the hug from 330,000 women and men of Hadassah. We’re all here
with you tonight.”