Heralds of Hope: Tikvot Fundraiser an Extraordinary Success

Pictured Above: The crowd of over 100 attendees at the Tikvot fundraiser hosted by Stephanie and Jack Mosseri on July 9.

Israeli soldiers have been our protectors and heroes throughout history. They lay their lives on the line for our safety and our right to a Jewish state. Sadly, their bravery is often rewarded with injuries, trauma, and hardship. This is where organizations like Tikvot come in.

Tables beautifully set before the guests arrive at the Tikvot fundraiser in Elberon, NJ.

Tikvot is a volunteer-based, non-profit organization dedicated to rehabilitating wounded Israeli soldiers and terror victims through sports. It was founded in 2007 by Rocky Muravitz and Vic Essakow in the wake of the Second Intifada. Their motto, “Unleashing the Winner within,” along with sports and healthy competition enable soldiers and people to restore to life after a terror attack or a battle. 

Rocky Muravitz, one of the founders and chairman of Tikvot.

“We come to the hospital and get to know these soldiers who have been wounded and who think they’re at the bottom of their life,” explained Simone Farbstein, director of Tikvot. “We show them that whatever they are missing or whatever is wrong with them, they can still come back through sports.”

Tikvot changes the lives of around 800 soldiers a year. Accomplishing so much as a non-profit makes fundraising events a necessity, such as the one that took place in Stephanie and Jack Mosseri’s home in Elberon, NJ.

Food meticulously displayed for attendees to enjoy during the fundraiser.

“The Syrian community is very close to Tikvot, they’ve been with us since the beginning,” said Farbstein.

Stephanie Mosseri, the host of the fundraiser, met people from Tikvot while on a Hessed Mission in Israel. Upon returning, she knew she wanted to take that Hessed and bring it back to New York.

“When the opportunity hit, I knew I wanted to make something for this organization,” said Mosseri. “This is an incredible community. Everyone’s pocket is open, and not a single person told me ‘No.’”

Speakers getting ready to address the crowd.

On July 9 in the evening, Mosseri’s backyard was beautifully set for the fundraiser in memory of Steve Averbach A”H. The event steadily accumulated guests over time, ending with over 300 attendees. The highlight of the night, however, was the appearance of three Israeli soldiers: Shahaf Segal, Matan Berman, and Yaron Porter. All three are participants of Tikvot's programming and came from Israel to tell their stories and how Tikvot helped them out of dark places in their lives.

Segal served in the anti-terror unit of the Golani division and suffered extensive nerve damage in his arm after fighting in Gaza.  

“I was in a rehabilitation center for five years. I had the sensation of not being the soldier I used to be,” Segal recalled. “And then I understood that I am still a fighter, just in a different way. I am fighting for my arm, for my life, I’m fighting to get back on track. Luckily today, with the help of Simone and Tikvot, I am rock climbing, snowboarding, and running.”

After Segal’s moving speech, a video was played of the next soldier, Matan Berman, who had his leg amputated. In the video, Berman was shown running a Ninja Warrior obstacle course with his prosthetic leg, a feat usually taken on by the most skilled of athletes.

From left to right: Matan Berman, Yaron Porter, Shahaf Segal.

“Tikvot came to the hospital when I felt I was at the bottom, and they showed me the way to do sports,” Berman said at the podium. “And now the sky’s the limit.”

The last soldier to speak was Yaron Porter, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“They teach you in the army to be tough and not ask for help and that you’re unbreakable and then you don’t ask for help and your situation becomes worse,” said Porter. “When I met Simone and the Tikvot foundation, they brought me to the family and they gave me hope.”

Shortly after, the podium was taken by Jeffery Elbaum, International Vice President of Tikvot. He spoke about Steve Averbach A”H who was injured in 2003 after intervening in a terror attack and remained a quadriplegic. Averbach went on to become a spokesman for Tikvot and a valuable part of the organization until his passing in 2010. 

“It has been proven that sports can be critical for the physical and emotional rehabilitation of our Israeli heroes, providing hope, which is what Tikvot means,” said Elbaum.

Elbaum concluded his speech with an incredible donation of $36,000. Afterward, the donations Tikvot received from the attendees were called out, and it was amazing to hear the generosity of our community laid out in numbers. If you, too, want to donate to this beautiful cause, click here for Tikvot’s website.