Operation Embrace Staff
Aviva Tessler, E.D.
Aviva Tessler is the Executive Director and founder of Operation Embrace. It all began in 2000, during the second intifada, when Aviva and her family brought Purim baskets (mishloachei manot) to injured survivors of terror attacks who were hospitalize. It was a visit with Michal, a double-leg amputee as a result of a car bombing that the seeds of Operation Embrace took bloom. Michal said, “one day we are news headlines and the next day we are forgotten.” Aviva walked away from those words and that visit with tears and with a mission that no terror victim should ever feel forgotten. Aviva mobilized her friends and hundreds of volunteers to help.
As executive director of Operation Embrace, she continues to be the engine both in the U.S. and in Israel to both raise awareness and funds to help survivors of terror attacks to move forward and to rebuild their lives. Close to 7000 families have been helped by Operation Embrace.
Aviva is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. In addition, Aviva is a scholar of Judaic Studies and lectures internationally on topics that bridge and integrate Judaism, psychology and spirituality.
Aviva is married to Rabbi Joel Tessler, the former spiritual leader of Beth Sholom Congregation for the past 35 years. Together, Aviva and her husband have helped create SOS International, a community service travel program for teens, college students and adults. Aviva and Rabbi Joel co-produced the CD Shabbat with the Tesslers and co-hosted a weekly radio show Torah Talk with the Tesslers. And most importantly, they are the proud parents of Roniel, Saphira (son-in-law, Aviad) and grandparents of Nefeshya and Odecha.