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Hiking was his passion, and he loved the desert, but Uri Meller had second thoughts when his friend Einav pressed him to go on a hiking trip. Uri and Einav had been friends for about 11 years when she invited him to join the four-day outing. As a first-year medical student, Uri took his studies very seriously. But the desert beckoned.
"One of the best decisions of my life was to skip class that week," he says. "That's how I met Michal."
Einav recalls that she and Michal Alter had been close for years, and they had originally planned that hiking trip for just the two of them.
"I suggested we also invite Uri Meller, since I knew that he, too, loved to hike. We were going to be together for four days, so I had to be sure that we would all get along, And I was sure, since I loved them both. I was confident that they would love each other. But who can predict romance?"
When he was a child, Uri's family would take him on family trips to the Sinai. Michal fell in love with the desert during her army service.
The trio spent four days hiking near Mitzpe Ramon. "When I said good-bye to Uri at the bus station on Thursday night," remembers Michal, "I already felt that something good could come of the relationship. There was something unspoken in the air."
Michal was ready to move forward the next day, but Uri needed an additional day. "I had neglected my medical studies for a week. I needed at least a day to do some catch-up." The two got together on the following Saturday and have been together ever since.
"With Michal, I have it all," he says. "In some cases, opposites attract, but in our case, we are very much alike. In fact, the only way we are different is that Michal is more organized."
Uri, 29, graduated high school in Haifa, served in the IDF and received a BA from Columbia University in New York. He is currently a student at Sackler Medical School at Tel Aviv University. Though a full-time student working on her BA in Far Eastern studies at TAU, Michal, 28, finds time to volunteer at Mesila, which helps foreign workers. She already has a degree from the Technion and her choice of hi-tech jobs.
It's not surprising that Uri and Michal would have their wedding in the desert. Actually it was a gift from Einav, who coordinated a group effort in planning a four-day celebration, which took place exactly one year after she introduced them. The couple exchanged vows on October 10, 2006 in a candle-lit ceremony under a tent-like wedding canopy. "It was magical," says Michal.