About Navah

How It All Began

In the summer of 1989, at the age of 14, Tehila Friedman witnessed a suicide terrorist drive a crowded commuter bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem off a cliff, resulting in the deaths of 16 and injuring dozens more. The harrowing experience impacted her deeply. (Additional information about the attack)

When the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Tehila, now a mother of three young children and a successful business owner, was confronted with haunting memories of the bus attack. In response, she reached out to her clients in the United States, seeking their support for the wounded and hospitalized in Israel, as well as for the families grappling with the sudden and overwhelming realities they faced.

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Supporting Bereaved Families

Thousands of clients responded to the call, sending messages of love, solidarity, and wishes for recovery. Their responses included heartfelt messages, gift baskets, and financial donations, which were instrumental in acquiring crucial equipment and specialized devices for the wounded. Additionally, these contributions funded therapy sessions and provided financial support to families enduring the loss of their primary income source. The funds also facilitated the creation of a dedicated hotline, home visits, group support meetings, and the organization of a central Passover Seder for bereaved families.

All these efforts were unified under the umbrella of a single organization called "Navah,” a tribute to Tehila's grandmother, Mrs. Navah Shean, who passed away during this period. Mrs. Shean, a Holocaust survivor turned actress, had performed at the Cameri and HaBima Theaters.

Navah – In Memory of Navah Shean

Navah Shean, an actress who performed at the Cameri and HaBima Theaters, was one of the founders of the Haifa Municipal Theater and Zavit Theater. Born in 1919 in Czechoslovakia as Vlasta Schönová, she began performing at the municipal theater in Prague at the age of 8. By the age of 20, she had forged a promising career in Prague’s children and youth theater.

In 1941, however, she was deported to the Terezin concentration camp. Despite the harsh conditions in the camp, Navah immersed herself in intensive artistic activity there, organizing shows, directing, and producing plays for both children and adults. Evenings were dedicated to rehearsals after grueling days of physical labor. Within the camp, she founded a children’s theater, directing adaptations such as Kipling’s "Mowgli" and the Czech children’s story "Fireflies.”

Upon arriving in Israel in 1948, she adopted the name Navah Shean, mastered Hebrew, and began performing at several Israeli theaters. Navah was instrumental in founding Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and contributed to the establishment of the Haifa Municipal Theater in 1961. Pnina Gary, who shared the stage with Shean at Zavit Theater, fondly remembers her as "one of the most free-spirited, bravest women in Israel," noting her resilience in overcoming challenges and advocating for justice and truth.



Navah Shean z"l, 1919-2001

Navah Shean z"l, 1919-2001

The Team

Tehila Friedman
Founder and Manager, Navah

Tehila has been the founder and pro-bono manager of Navah since 2002.

Tehila is a dynamic entrepreneur who has developed several programs and founded businesses in Israel. She has experience managing large-scale teams and projects. Among her ventures, she is the owner of Kosherbookings, which specializes in providing kosher accommodations outside of Israel. Tehila resides in Kiryat Yearim with her husband and six children.

Chavi Ehrenfeld

Chavi dedicates her time to coordinating the Seder night project, the Empty Chair,  for bereaved families on a voluntary basis. In her professional capacity, Chavi oversees her own company: Chavi Ehrenfeld – Academic Education for Ultra-Orthodox Women.

She lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh with her husband and three children.