My favorite aspect of the jewelry business is interacting with clients. Behind each diamond we set is a story, and the lessons that I’ve learned from our customers are infinitely more valuable than the stone itself. 

Josh and Yael came in about half a year ago to choose a necklace in honor of their upcoming wedding. I was intrigued by their obvious differences, though as a couple they seemed to be totally in sync with each other. He’s all-American, down to his hobbies; yachting, golf, deep-sea diving. Yael comes from an eminent Yerushalmi family, each generation with its own set of talmidei chachamim. She has barely travelled. He’s been religious for a bit over two years, she grew up frum.

The two met, and they both realized that although their backgrounds couldn’t have been more dissimilar, their objectives and goals were the same. Which is what brought them to me, in search of a necklace. They found what they wanted, and got married a few weeks later.

Two weeks ago, they came in again. This time, they were looking for earrings that would match the necklace. I knew that it wasn’t their wedding anniversary, nor her birthday, so feeling like a character out of a well-known children’s book (“…he was a good little monkey, but always curious”), I actually broke a cardinal rule of never asking personal questions, and asked, “What’s the occasion?”

They looked at each other, and they both beamed. “Well,” Josh answered, “I’m buying Yael a gift to thank her. Because of Yael, I was just zocheh to make a siyum on Shas Yerushalmi.”

I thought that I misunderstood. “You made a siyum on which masechta?” I questioned.

“No,” he corrected me, “not one masechta. The entire Shas Yerushalmi!”

I sat down, shocked. So many questions were swirling through my mind that I didn’t know what to ask first. But my husband had caught the tail end of the conversation and he was bursting with his own questions. “How long did it take you?” he wanted to know.

“I was in yeshivah for 16 months before we got married. And then I learned one seder a day of Yerushalmi. But afterwards, Yael encouraged me with such passion, that I changed my schedule. So nowadays I go to sleep right after Maariv, around 8:30 or 9:00, and at 3:00 every night Yael wakes me and gets up to bring me a hot drink and snack. Then I learn uninterrupted for four hours straight. And because of her encouragement and devotion, I was zocheh to make the siyum last week.”

This wasn’t a seminary teacher trying to inspire students with their potential of being an ezer k’negdo. This was Real Life, with a true-to-life Rabbi Akiva and Rachel right in front of me! (Albeit, I don’t think that a golden crown of Yerushalayim is what he had in mind, but rather, the set of earrings that they walked out with….)

They left, with his wallet perhaps feeling lighter, but I was enriched for life. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 596)