Some 500 local leaders gathered for Long Island’s 10th Annual Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Appreciation Evening for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) this past fall, raising more than $1 million to support well-being and educational programs for the brave men and women of IDF.
One of the local Jewish community’s largest gatherings was attended by active-duty IDF soldiers and featured a special performance of popular and traditional Israeli songs by the IDF Musical Ensemble.
“It was an honor and an inspiration for the Long Island community to celebrate these brave soldiers,” said FIDF Long Island Director Liron Kreitman. “As a former Lone Soldier [someone without close family in Israel], I know how much they sacrifice to serve the State of Israel and defend the Jewish people.”
Chairing the dinner was Edeed Ben-Josef. Other distinguished guests included North Hempstead Councilwomen Anna Kaplan and Lee Seeman; Rabbi Dale Polakoff and Assistant Rabbi Ian Lichter of Great Neck Synagogue; Rabbi Nir Shalom of the Babylonian Jewish Center; Rabbi Howard Stecker of Temple Israel; Rabbi Neil Tow of Woodbury Jewish Center; FIDF National President Peter Weintraub from Scarsdale; FIDF National Board Member and Long Island Chairman Ronny Ben Josef; and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.
The funds raised at the event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers, including the FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship Program, which grants college scholarships to Israeli combat veterans of modest means, the DIGNITY Program for soldiers in need and construction projects that benefit soldiers throughout Israel.
FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a nonprofit organization with the mission of providing and supporting educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men and women of IDF. Today, FIDF has more than 150,000 supporters and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. FIDF offers its support to the IDF soldiers and their families through a variety of unique and innovative programs, which reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF and the State of Israel. For more information, visit www.fidf.org.