Under the excellent leadership of Charlie Levine, Friends of Israel Defense Forces sponsored its fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Gala at Chizuk Amuno Synagogue, located on Stevenson Road in Pikesville.
The motto for this organization is "Their job is to look after Israel, ours is to look after them!" And that, I feel, we indeed do. Dedicated Shari and Dr. Michael Cohen chaired this year's successful event with 500 enthusiastic supporters of the FIDF attending.
Entertainer Richard Kind was the personable master of ceremonies. Additional program participants included beautiful voiced Hazzan Emanuel Perlman, Ron Eisenberg, president, Baltimore FIDF Chapter, Charlie Levine, top-notch executive director, Mid-Atlantic Region and Captain Ronan Nimni IDF Naval Attache 29 years.
The event featured personal stories by the lovely Risa Kelemer, this year's guest of honor. A native of Baltimore, Risa is an active soldier in the Israel Defense Forces, and is a unit commander in the only co-ed infantry battalion in the world.
And, Moshe, a recipient of a FIDF scholarship whose family lives in Israel, told of his heroism, further extended his appreciation to everyone for their support of our FIDF organization.
Charming Shirley Cohen, this year's gala honoree, has been involved with many Jewish endeavors in Baltimore for over 50 years.
In conclusion, Bill Fox, chairman of the board and a national member updated everyone on Baltimore's past five and a half years involvement with FIDF. Over this time, with the aid of the late philanthropic Haron Dahan, $4 million has been fun(d) raised by our local chapter to benefit the FIDF.
Quoting Friends of the Israel Defense Forces brochure, multiple programs supported by the FIDF include:
IMPACT Program: FIDF grants four-year scholarships to former FIDF combat soldiers who come from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background and seek a higher education.
Lone Soldiers Program: Every year approximately 1,000 young women and men from all over the world leave the comfort of their home, travel to Israel to become proud IDF soldiers. This program provides the lone soldiers with financial, social, recreational support plus travel to visit their families back home.
Legacy Program: Supports families of the families of their beloved ones fallen during military service. This program provides through continuous support during life-events they are never alone and their loved ones are not forgotten.
Spirit Program: Focuses on the mental well-being of combat soldiers who endure intensive and life-threatening military service.
Spiritual Needs Program: Under the supervision of the IDF Rabbinate, the Israeli army upholds Jewish religious laws, dietary practices, marriage and burial services, prayers and the celebration of holidays.
Wounded Soldier Programs: Helping wounded IDF soldiers during and after their rehabilitation process. Note: The FIDF's Strides Program helps IDF wounded veterans discover their strength by providing special prosthetics and athletic activities, thus giving them the means to live life without limitations.
If you would like to contribute a tax deductible contribution in support of above programs, please mail your tax deductible check to: Friends, Israel Defense Forces, attn: Charlie Levine; P.O. Box 395; Stevenson, Maryland 21153. Thanking you in advance for your consideration of a contribution.
Special thanks behind the scene Gala coordinator Larisa Gracie and Eddie Rogers.
Nily Falic, is the FIDF National Chairman; Julian Josephson, is the national FIDF president; Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, is the National Director and CEO.
Thank you to everyone involved with the fab success of this 5th Annual Mid-Atlantic Gala in Baltimore. Todah Rabbah!