Moshe Tabashi plays wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. Though he couldn’t get down on his knee to propose to Einav Levi, he found a dramatic way to pop the question.
“Moshe is a problem solver,” says Einav. “When the paralysis in his legs couldn’t be reversed, he found a way to cope. And beyond coping – he lives life to its fullest.”
The accident happened in 1998. When Moshe was 20 and serving in the Israel Defense Forces, he drove out of his army base on his motorcycle and was hit by a car. Moshe’s dream of a post-army trip to the Far East was shattered. So were his legs.
For three months he battled for his life in an intensive care unit. After six months, he realized he’d have to face life without the use of his legs. Moshe recalls: “In my younger days, I’d have preferred death to paralysis. After the accident, I changed my thinking – I saw a glass half-full and not half-empty. I had to go on living. I had to be strong – if not for myself, then, for my parents.”
There was one thing he couldn’t tolerate: “I didn’t want anyone’s pity,” says Moshe. “Our association is called International Tennis Federation for Wheelchair Tennis. It’s not tennis for the disabled. There are people with fully functioning bodies who are disabled. I see myself as a guy in a wheelchair.”
He first saw Einav in 2004, when she was 18 and working in Tel Aviv at Beit Halochem, an army-sponsored sports complex for veterans. “From the first moment I saw her, I knew that she was special and my friends encouraged me to make a move,” says Moshe. “There would be no surprises on our first date. Einav knew I was wheelchair-bound, and that wasn’t a turn-off for her.”
Einav says: “On our first date, I noticed Moshe and his wheelchair. From the second date on, I no longer noticed the wheelchair. I had eyes only for Moshe, and we went out to restaurants and discos just like other couples.”
Dr. Paul Shane, a Jerusalem psychologist, recommends that if you have a blind date or meet someone over the Internet and want to maximize the chances for success, mention any physical disability before meeting.”
Moshe wanted their relationship to go slow. They dated for over a year before they moved in together. “I didn’t wasn’t to rush her,” says Moshe. “Yet I didn’t want to lose her.”
On September 1, 2006, Einav says, they were sitting in a movie theater with friends. “Suddenly there was a flash on the screen – ‘Einav, will you marry me?’ And our friends cheered.”
But other people said things to her like “don’t you think you’re pretty enough to find someone more successful?”
Einav would try to explain that she wasn’t settling for anything. She loves Moshe. They love being together and working together. Moshe is a motivational speaker for schools and army groups on road safety. Einav is the program coordinator. “And she’s my queen,” adds Moshe. The couple lives in Ganot Hadar near the coastal city of Netanya.
For their wedding, Einav and Moshe wanted a place to accommodate some 600 family members and friends. And, of course, it had to be wheelchair accessible.
Einav and Moshe were married on June 2, 2007. Mazal tov!
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