A Match Made and Sealed at Einstein
Although few people are busier than medical students are, a couple at Einstein found time for love as well as learning. On Sunday, September 22, 2019, Elizabeth Bitterman, Class of 2022, and Noah Elkins, Class of 2020, were married in Robbins Auditorium in what is believed to be the first-ever student wedding on campus.
Rabbi Elliott Schrier of the Einstein Synagogue officiated in the religious ceremony, with Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, from Einstein’s Chabad Club, delivering a blessing. Joan Junger, director of student activities, oversaw all the venue arrangements, which included reserving the entire ground floor of the Forchheimer building, the upper Max and Sadie Lounge, and Robbins, as well as the Lubin Dining Hall for the celebration of the big day.
Among the 200 friends and family in attendance were some 100 Einstein students, professors, and staff. These included Elizabeth’s brother Dov, also Einstein Class of 2022, and Noah’s friend and neighbor Shalom Willner, a member of the Class of 2020 who got ordained to serve as secular clergy especially for the occasion.
Elizabeth hails from Woodmere, NY, on Long Island, and Noah from Denver. They met over a home-cooked meal at Einstein Chabad’s first, weekly Friday night Shabbat dinner in the fall of 2018, hosted by Rabbi Teitelbaum.
“From the minute I met Elizabeth I knew I was going to ask her out,” said Noah.
That didn’t happen right away, however. “Eventually I saw her in the residence hall lobby, gathered up my courage, and asked her,” he said.
She said yes.
They agreed on a first date at the Sunflower Café, a kosher restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Within months, they were talking about marriage.
Even so, at sunset on Friday, July 17, 2019, Elizabeth was still surprised to see Noah before her on bended knee asking for her hand. Again, the answer was yes. Noah then took Elizabeth to Chabad, where he had planned a surprise party for her.
“Noah is perfect for me,” said Elizabeth, recalling her acceptance of Noah’s proposal with absolute certainty. “He's my best friend, my favorite person to be with in every occasion, and my soulmate in every way.”
Noah’s sentiments are similar: “Elizabeth’s most special trait is how deeply caring and giving she is. I always know she has my back, and I can always count on her to be there when I’m down.”
Their partnership is steeped in love, humor and, and a passion for medicine.
A Traditional Jewish Wedding
In accordance with Jewish tradition, the couple’s wedding took place under a chuppa. The canopy was set up on the Robbins auditorium stage, where Noah broke a customary glass to signify the mourning of the destruction of the Temple. “The idea is that in a moment of intense happiness such as a wedding, we must act to remember what has been lost by our people,” explained Elizabeth.
The celebration continued in Lubin, including some songs played by Noah’s fellow Musicians of Einstein. Though adept at multiple instruments—guitar, piano, and drums among others—the happy groom took the night off.
Now Mr. and Mrs. Elkins, the couple say they were thrilled to have been able to celebrate their special day at Einstein.
“We met here, fell in love here, got engaged here, and have almost all of our friends here,” said Noah. “And we were so honored to have such talented, caring, and generous rabbis leading us through this special day.”
Looking to the Future
Elizabeth still has two-plus years to go at Einstein and has yet to choose a specialty. Prior to Einstein, she worked as a biomedicine-based researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she studied the biology of mutations associated with human hepatocellular carcinoma.
Noah will graduate in the spring of 2020 and plans a residency in pediatrics. He said, “This is an exciting time for us as we begin our life together and make decisions about our medical careers.” He has applied only to medical institutions within driving distance of Einstein, so that Elizabeth and he can be near to each other.
As the couple works toward their respective goals, they can reflect on the supportive environment at Einstein that made their wedding day so special. And, like the lyrics of “Od Yishama” the traditional song played at Jewish weddings, they can recall “the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bride and groom.”
Posted on: Tuesday, December 31, 2019