Tsunami Doc Says ‘I Do’

By Ran Ezer

Published December 30, 2005, issue of December 30, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A year ago the Southeast Asian tsunami sent Ron Bombiger, a Los Angeles-based Israeli, to a Thai hospital bed with a leg injury. One of the doctors who checked in on him was Dorit Nitzan, who flew to the area as part of an Israeli emergency team sent right after the disaster hit.

This week, as Thailand marked the first anniversary of the natural disaster, doctor and patient returned to visit the hospital room on Phuket Island, where they first met.

Then Bombiger popped the question — and Nitzan said yes.

Prior to their engagement, the couple joined the crowd at the main tsunami memorial ceremony in Khao Lak Beach, the most severely hit area in Southern Thailand. They held hands as prayers of many faiths, including Judaism, were recited.

When the tsunami first hit, Bombiger was temporarily separated from the two relatives with whom he was traveling. Eventually they found one another, but the relatives were evacuated to Israel, while Bombiger lay in a hospital bed, unable to stand up. His passport and luggage were gone. He was alone.

But members of the Israeli rescue team, including Nitzan, were based at the same hospital. After a short conversation, the two of them realized that they were born in the same city in Israel, Pardes Katz, and had even met each other’s parents during Israeli army service.

“We kept in touch since the tsunami, but just a few month ago we became romantically involved,” Nitzan told the Forward.

After Monday’s memorial service, Bombiger invited Nitzan to visit his old hospital room. He arranged to have red flowers shaped like two hearts waiting for them on the bed.

“I was completely surprised today,” Nitzan said. “Ron didn’t give me a clue.”

Still, she said yes right away, as the Thai medical staff that had helped take care of Bombiger joined in the celebration.

Nitzan, who is now posted in Belgrade as part of a World Health Organization project, said that her two daughters from a previous marriage had given their blessing to the engagement. The couple still has not settled on a place to live — but they say they will be taking a Thai honeymoon.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.