and Simmy Team Up
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y., August 24 — Both were born the youngest of three children, the descendants of rabbis and with a passion for Israel, but they would have to start growing up before teaming up with each other.
Ilana Yehudit Edelman, like her brother Ephraim and sister Nava, was born in Port Jefferson, New York. As a child, she went to the Solomon Schechter Day School of Suffolk County and HAFTR. Her father is a leading Conservative rabbi.
By the time she was six years old, Ilana had been to Israel three times. She went again on Ramah Seminar in 1995 and, while attending the University of Pennsylvania, spent the spring semester of her junior year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Samuel Ron Kustanowitz, like his sister Esther and brother Jack, was born in New York and raised in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. He went to Yavneh Academy and The Frisch School in Paramus. His grandfather was a leading Conservative rabbi who came from a long line of rabbis.
Simmy’s family had been in Israel for generations, but his first stay was in 1986. In ’94, he returned with Ramah Seminar and, as he earned his degree at Rutgers, he spent his junior spring semester at the Hebrew University.
Ramah was a big part of their childhood years. Simmy started at the Day Camp in Nyack. Later, he was a camper at the overnight Ramah known as the Berkshires, and by ’95 he was on staff. Ilana started as a camper at the Berkshires, but she didn’t meet Simmy until her first year on staff. They met in the summer of ’96 and, in ’97, they worked together and became best friends. The next summer, their friendship began to deepen.
Ilana and Simmy were friends for two-and-a-half years before they started dating in 2000. The relationship continued to flourish, and they became engaged on Aug. 26, 2002. Today’s wedding was set for 363 days later. Meanwhile, Ilana worked with children while she pursued a doctorate in psychology, and Simmy developed his career as a writer for MTV and worked part time as an actor.
Over time, Ilana and Simmy have discovered how alike — as well as how different — they are. They both love to travel and to eat rugelach from Marzipan from the Shuk in Jerusalem. But Sim is crazy about sports, swimming, movies and eating carbs. Lani adores Broadway shows and munches veggies. They both love pizza, but "No one loves jelly donuts and cannoli like Lani," Simmy says.
Friends are important to both of them, and "many overlap," Simmy notes. "We have grown to love one another’s friends, too," Ilana adds.
Most important, Ilana and Simmy adore each other. He says she "lights up the room" when she comes into it. She says he’s her "soul mate" and she’s never bored when he’s around. They look forward to seeing each other every day and spending the rest of their lives together.