May 23 in the garden of the Rittenhouse Hotel, with Rabbi Richard Steinbrink officiating. A luncheon for 50 followed in the hotel's Mary Cassatt room.
In April 2007. Harriet, now 76, had lost her second husband to prostate cancer in 2004. About three years later, she told her friend Marvin, with whom she takes classes at the University of Pennsylvania, that she would like to meet someone. She started dating people she met on her own, but it never worked out. With her daughter and four grandchildren living in Israel, Harriet began to think her life was there, too.
Then one of those granddaughters, Emily, came to visit and went to class at Penn with Harriet. Marvin approached with a plan: "Are you still interested in meeting somebody?" he asked. She really wasn't. But Marvin proceeded to describe Marshall, who is now 75. Marshall was also taking classes at Penn. Like Harriet, he loves music. He's an amateur flutist. Harriet had lived in Japan in the 1950s, and Marshall has traveled there extensively on business. Both were first married and divorced long ago. Marshall lost his second wife to breast cancer in 2006.
After hearing the description, Emily, 19, made her grandmother promise she would go out with Marshall if he called. He did.
On the phone, Harriet and Marshall realized they were in the same class on secular Judaism, so they went on their first date after class. "I went out with him just based on my promise to my granddaughter," Harriet said. "But by the end of our first date, I was sure glad I did."
In November 2007, after returning from a trip to Paris and Israel, they went shopping for Hanukkah gifts. Marshall took Harriet into a jewelry store and asked her to pick out a present for the holiday. She chose an unusual ring, a yellow diamond set in black iron. They left the store, and Marshall turned to Harriet and said, "We have to do something about making this permanent." Harriet replied: "I want to use this ring as an engagement ring and as a wedding ring." What better symbol of forever than iron, she thought.
9 to 5
Harriet, originally from Allentown, was director of State of Israel Bonds, a registered bond dealer that allows people to invest in Israel, for 15 years. She then worked four years as a patient advocate at Graduate Hospital before retiring in 2005. She now volunteers as a board member for the Gershman Y, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and Party With a Purpose, which is part of the American Cancer Society.
Marshall, originally from Worcester, Mass., is chairman of Alpha Scientific, a medical device company in Malvern.
Making a home
The couple live in Center City and Wayne.
Doing it their way
Marshall and Harriet were married under Harriet's family huppah, which was handmade in Israel. Marshall's sons, David and Dan, and Harriet's granddaughters, Kate and Emily, held it during the ceremony.
Harriet did not think her granddaughter would be able to attend the wedding until Emily showed up the day before. Emily is an officer candidate in the Israel Defense Forces, but she persuaded her superiors to grant her leave for the rare occasion of her grandmother's wedding.
The bride and groom chose an informal ceremony and celebration. They had cocktails with their guests right before the ceremony. Nobody walked down an aisle. Marshall's granddaughter, Hannah, 7, stood beside the couple with a basket of flowers. Harriet wore a champagne-colored cocktail dress with a coat, and Marshall wore a casual sport coat.
Jewish tradition requires a stone-free ring for the ceremony, so Harriet borrowed her daughter's ring as her something old.
Pam was supposed to give her ring to the rabbi before the ceremony, but she forgot. "When the rabbi asked for the ring, we didn't have it," Harriet said. Pam ran up from her seat and handed over the ring.
A two-week Greek cruise. About 20 people were on the boat, but other than matchmaker Marvin and his wife, Lila, the couple knew none of them. Not wanting to spend her honeymoon with strangers, Harriet turned to the advice of her mother: "When in doubt, have a cocktail party." She organized the party. One of her shipmates, a wedding officiant, surprised Harriet and Marshall with a second ceremony, written especially for them. Soon they were celebrating all over again, with 16 new friends.