July 10, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

UKnighted for Israel Hosts 3×3 Basketball Tournament

UKnighted Tournament participants.

Last Thursday night, 40 seventh and eighth grade boys from Yeshivat Noam played in a special 3 on 3 basketball tournament and raised over $1,000 for United Hatzalah of Israel. The program started with a video highlighting all of United Hatzalah’s work in Israel over the past three months of the war. The next two hours were filled with non-stop competitive and fun basketball. Each team was designed to ensure that each player was assigned a fair team, one on which they could also socialize and enjoy the night with their teammates. Multiple United Hatzalah volunteers thanked us for this fundraiser including its founder and president, Eli Beer.

One person we must thank is Rabbi Chaim Hagler, Yeshivat Noam head of school, for allowing us to make this event happen and for helping us plan this event. Additionally, thank you to the middle school office staff, Dahlia Goldbrenner and Tzipora Levin, for assisting us throughout the planning process. Thank you to our partners, the Baron, Katz and Posner families.

Congratulations to our winning championship team: Eitan Baron, Allan Rozner and Joshua Gilbert. We also gave out awards to players who showed important midot on the court including the Ilan Fiorentino z”l Memorial Award. Ilan Fiorentino z”l was the head of security on Kibbutz Nahal-Oz, and was murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7. Together with my family, I was on Ilan’s last tour on the Gaza border 36 hours before the attack. Ilan was a true hero and always stepped up in his community. The Ilan Fiorentino z”l Memorial Award was awarded to Coby Fischer since he stepped up to help his team throughout the tournament just like Ilan did in his community.

(l-r): Gavriel Katz, Allan Rozner, Eitan Baron, Joshua Gilbert and Joshua Posner.

On the morning of October 7, Ilan saw Ariel Zohar on a morning jog when terrorists started to infiltrate their Kibbutz, Nahal Oz. Ilan brought Ariel into his house where he remained for hours with Ilan’s wife and kids. Ariel Zohar was the only person in his family to survive that day, and continues to inspire many people around the world. Ariel, who recently celebrated his bar mitzvah, has a passion for basketball. The Ariel Zohar award was given to Zachary Nelson, a Yeshivat Noam seventh grade player who showed a true passion for basketball and determination throughout the entire tournament. Our Tournament MVP was champion Eitan Baron, and the Hatzalah Award (someone who helped their team) was given to Moshe Bayewitz.

In preparation for this tournament, I invited Tamir Goodman (“The Jewish Jordan”) to speak to the Yeshivat Noam middle school students. He shared with us that there are so many ways to give to Israel during these difficult times. He thought it was such a good idea to take something like basketball which so many teenage boys are passionate about and use it to raise money for Israel. Eli Beer reached out to me and wanted to tell all the Yeshivat Noam boys: “Kol hakavod for all the work you did for United Hatzalah.” I also want to thank Josh Posner for helping me make this tournament happen and making it the tremendous success that it was!


Gavriel Katz is a proud zionist and member of Am Yisrael! He is an eighth grader at Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, New Jersey. Additionally, Gavriel founded The Chesed Knights, Yeshivat Noam’s Student Chesed Club, and “Yeshivat Noam U-Knights for Israel,” a program which runs various projects supporting Israel at Yeshivat Noam.

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