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Love Story: She called Hillel and found a partner for life

Elyse and Larry Ingber, who will celebrate their

Elyse and Larry Ingber, who will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary, vacationed in October in Arizona, where Elyse wore her wedding veil to Red Rock State Park. Credit: Ingber family

Elyse Ingber of Woodbury talks about meeting her husband, Larry.

Larry and I met in May 1977 at the University at Albany. I was Elyse Gelerman and had grown up in Bellmore, and Larry was raised in Brooklyn. I wanted to get involved in the Jewish Students Coalition/Hillel on campus and gave them a call. Larry, already active in the group, was in line to become treasurer. Because of that phone call, I somehow got appointed social committee chairwoman. At the installation dinner a week later, Larry was supposed to sit on the dais with other officers, but when he saw me with a group of cute girls, he switched to my table. Turns out we had a fabulous time and ended up in the same carpool back to campus.

Larry got a call that night from his future roommate asking him to go on a double date with his girlfriend’s future roommate. He said no until learning I was the girlfriend’s roommate! We went on our first date with the other couple within the week. Because Larry was always concerned about his grades, he asked to be dropped off at the library at the end of the evening. It was a fun night and Larry wanted to spend more time with me, but his friend dutifully dropped Larry at the library. We became a couple that summer then happily dated for five years.  

In June 1982, Larry wanted to propose to me. He planned to pop the question at Villa Rosa in Freeport where I had my Sweet 16 party. Not knowing what was in store that evening, I invited a girlfriend to join us. So Larry went to Plan B, proposing to me after dinner at my parents’ home. My parents, who loved Larry, couldn’t have been happier.

We were married Oct. 22, 1983, by Rabbi Kushner at Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation. It was a beautiful service under a chuppah, but at the end Larry accidentally kissed his mother first instead of me! He didn't believe he'd done it until he saw the video; he wanted it erased, but no, it’s still there.  

Having honeymooned in Israel for two weeks, we are still involved in Jewish/Israel causes. Larry is Long Island region president of the Jewish National Fund. I'm on the board of the Jewish National Fund Women for Israel. We are both involved in the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Hadassah.

Shortly before our 10th wedding anniversary, I asked my mom for my wedding gown only to find she had sold it to a consignment shop! I had to wait for two other brides to wear it before I could buy it back. I still put it on every five years — I'm not saying it fits, but I put it on! While vacationing in Arizona last October, I surprised Larry by wearing my wedding veil during a Red Rock State Park tour then to dinner that night. The wedding dress and veil have popped up on several occasions, surprising Larry, our friends and family.

We have two wonderful sons, a great daughter-in-law and an equally great future daughter-in-law. We are lucky they all live in the metropolitan area. I’m director of cultural arts at Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center. Larry is an estate tax attorney at Lassar & Cowhey and a partner at Marcum. He is patient, kind, understanding and very easygoing — and handsome! We are traveling to Israel for the fourth time after our anniversary in October for a Jewish National Fund Water Mission. Larry and I love to laugh, support the Mets and spend time with our children.

— With Ann Donahue-Smukler

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU MET. Access the online form at — or send an anecdote along with your phone number and a photo to Love Story, Newsday, 6 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, NY 11747; or email, or call Ann Donahue-Smukler at 631-843-2520. Publication is not guaranteed. Photos cannot be returned and may be used in other publications affiliated with Newsday.

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