IDF Widow Maia Moreno on her 2nd Marriage (8-Minute Inspirational Video)

IDF Widow Maia Moreno on her 2nd Marriage (8-Minute Inspirational Video)

I so loved this video about Maia Moreno, the widow of legendary IDF hero Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno who was killed 7 years ago in the 2nd Lebanon War. I loved seeing her new children from her second marriage climbing all over her in the video, and hearing the unbelievable story of how she met and married a man 9 years younger than her. I wish her so much happiness and nachas and an abundance of blessings in her new life…

Because of the highly sensitive nature of his missions, to this day, it’s still forbidden to publish the photo of IDF Lt. Col. Emanuel Moreno z”l , even 7 years after he was killed carrying out a secret mission during the 2nd Lebanon War. But his widow and mother of his three children attempts to paint a picture of him through her life story which she presents in a moving personal performance.

“At first I gave a few talks about Emanuel,” Maia explains, “And I would return home so empty after those talks. As though I was committing a sin against our relationship. As though Emanuel was saying to me, ‘You? I didn’t expect this from you! You are certainly aware that I don’t like when people talk about me.’ I also felt like these talks were giving more power to the grief, the lack.” The loss that she lives with day by day, hour by hour, is translated into words of longing and sadness, joy and laughter in her new performance, “All the feelings that compose the tapestry of my life,” she explains.

“With your children you feel more frustrated. More than anything else you want for everything to be good for your children, and suddenly you can’t only give them good…People would tell me, ‘Baruch Hashem that you have children, and you have somebody to wake up for in the morning. And that’s true. On the other side, it’s complicated, because I forgot myself. I began mourning only a year after Emanuel died.”

In the auditorium, not one eye remains dry when Maia is speaking, “Now I need to inform my daughter that her father has been killed. So I call her inside, I get down on my knees, and my eyes are streaming with tears. And I said to her, ‘You remember when I told you where Shachar’s father went?’ And Aviya answered me, ‘Yes, in Heaven.’ ‘So, also your father is in Heaven now.’ And like this she wipes away my tears and says, ‘Eema, then why are you crying?’ I told her because it’s a little bit sad. And she said to me, ‘No, it’s very sad, but don’t worry. I’ll be strong like Shachar.’”

The final moments that Emanuel Moreno spent in their home in the South of Israel foretold the approaching tragedy. In the performance, Maia Moreno reenacts those days from the 2nd Lebanon War, and how her husband was stalling. He didn’t want to leave for his military briefing. “Suddenly he told me, ‘I can’t go. I can’t get up. What are they going to do to me? Will they not send me to the war if I’m late for the briefing?’ In his whole life he had never been late for a briefing.”

“And he stayed, and sat for another 10 minutes, and then suddenly he jumped up in panic: the carpool! He remembered he had fixed a time drive some soldiers, and he got nervous. And before he left he requested that we accompany him to the car, something that he had never requested before. We accompanied him, and it was hard for me to part with him, I’ll admit. It wasn’t always that way, that was something unusual. And since some of the soldiers he was driving were already in the car, the intimate part [of this difficult goodbye] between us was missing. He simply got into the car, and pointed up to Heaven as though to say, ‘From There we get strength.'”

Despite the huge gaping hole in her heart, Maia married for a second time, to Eliran Ochana, a single man who was 9 years younger than her, and with him she is building a new family.

She tells the incredible story of how they met:

“I decided to renovate our home. I had bought the house where Emanual and I had lived, and I was looking for a contractor. So my brother spoke with the friend of a friend who is a contractor. And I spoke with him on the phone– he sounded serious. So I set up a meeting with him. We started talking, we chose out some faucets, some tiles, he found out after a while that I am a baalat teshuva, and that really interested him, and he asked me more and more questions.’

“Afterwards I called my brother-in-law, Shmuel, who was Emanuel’s older brother. I told him, ‘Shmuel, I’ve got somebody here for you to make religious. Perfect, he’s already into it!’”

“The renovation was completed and I received an SMS: Maybe you want to go out with me for coffee?

“I put my head between my hands, I knew I had been too nice! Me and my nonsense, what was I thinking? Such a young guy! It was during lunch when I got the SMS, and my kids said, ‘Eema, what’s going on?’ And I told them ‘No, everything’s OK.’

“So I called Eliran and I told him, ‘Look, Eliran, it’s not accepted in our community to do this. Slowly slowly, start keeping Shabbat, put on a kippah, go to a few classes with Shmuel…’ He said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘For us, there’s no such thing as women and men just being friends. There’s no point to that.’”

“So he said, ‘So when do a man and woman go out for coffee?’ And I said, ‘When they went to check out the possibility of getting married.’ And he said, “Great, let’s check out the possibility of getting married.’ I told him that I know 4 or 5 girls I could introduce him to—-he was 26 and was 35! I had three kids, he’d never been married. I’m a widow. What did I need this for…?

“People have a worldview that if a person lives with a hole in the heart—then he cannot be happy, or surprised, or get excited over things. But from my experience I’ve learned that everything just gets stronger. When I am happy now, I am happier.”

Before the birth of her first daughter with her second husband, Bat Ami, Maia prepared herself for a complex situation, “And I was surprised. I was very happy at her birth. It was just nice…and when they asked Eliran whom she looks like, he said ‘To Moreno.’ And she truly does look like Moreno.”

“My children chose to call Eliran Abba. In our home we have two Abbas—the Abba who gave birth and the Abba who raises. And both of them are present and in this home. We are happy with what we have. It’s complicated, it’s not always simple, but this is life. Simply.”


  1. That’s an amazing story! I wish my Hebrew was better so I could understand more. Thank you for translating!

  2. Boruch Hashem she was open to allow joy back into her life. Only nachas.

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