Friends of Israel Defense Forces fundraising gala

This was an exciting event! This was a mega successful fun(d) raising gala to benefit Friends of Isreal Defense Forces Mid-Atlantic Region, whose motto is "Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them" and are celebrating 31 years this past year. An added bonus was the very special keynote guest speaker, Aly Raisman, a beautiful, lovely, personable 18-year-old American Jewish Gold Medalist gymnast. She won this very prestigious medal performing to the Jewish music "Hava Nagila." She proudly dedicated her well-earned Olympic gold medal to the Israeli athletes that were tragically murdered at the Munich Olympics in 1972.The International Olympics Committee has chosen to never acknowledge this terrible tragedy.

This young girl, performing her flawless floor routine at the Summer Olympics, has become the sweetheart of Israel Defense Forces for her determination to sing Hava Nagila and the dedication of her Gold Medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London to the 1972 Israeli athletes. With this, Aly inspired the world, especially the entire Israel Defense Forces.

Her outstanding routine has been called the "greatest gymnastic floor routine in history!" Note, Aly returned home from London, a three time medalist and the most decorated U.S. gymnast of the year!

From Battalion Commanders from Intelligence to Captains from the Navy and Lieutenants from the Armored Corps, many were brought to tears with Aly's tribute of remembrance and dedication of her medal to Israeli athletes murdered. Israel has been enthusiastic that after all these years, this young, Jewish teenager in a leotard, brought remembrance and honor to the unfortunate Jewish Olympians from the 1972 Munich Games.

Dan Yagudin, an IDF officer, made a surprise appearance from behind the podium on stage this evening. He read a lovely heartfelt letter he personally had written to Aly after the Olympics, detailing his attendence. In the gymnasium there were many Israelis including leadership and members of the IDF. He complimented and praised her for bringing honor, hidden for 40 years, to the forefront. Dan also presented her with her very own honorary Israeli IDF nametag that only the IDF wear! It was obvious to everyone in the audience, over 600 attendees, both Dan and Aly were absolutely proud and honored - he, reading his personal letter and presenting the IDF name tag and Aly in accepting this very special honor!

Also included with the program agenda were IDF lone soldiers - explained below under programs - a Beth Tfiloh graduate, Alex Simone, plus IDF soldier Yoni Asraf, for his bravery during a battle in the Second Lebanon War and an emotional Orna Luft, a devastated IDF widow whose husband, a helicopter pilot, was killed in July 2006.

Beth Tfiloh Synagogue was the lovely venue for this very special IDF event, Deborah Weiner was the charming emcee. Ed Hoffman, kosher caterer again did a magnificent job catering this gala.

Charlie Levine is the top notch very efficient executive director, Midatlantic Region, Friends Israel Defense Forces.

With thanks to the FIDF organization, thousands of IDF soldiers benefit every year, from FIDF programs and facilities. Listing a few:

Lone Soldiers Program: Israel's lone soldiers are brave men and women who have chosen to leave their countries of origin to make "Aliyah" and enlist in the IDF. In 2012 FIDF provided guidance and support to 2,700 Lone Soldiers through every stage of their Aliyah process, military service and life after the IDF.

Legacy Program: FIDF supports thousands of widows, orphans and other family members who have suffered the devastating loss of a loved one fallen during military service.

Dignity Program: Today, nearly 19,000 IDF soldiers are in financial distress.

Strides Program: FIDF helps wounded IDF veterans making available prostheses, enabling the wounded regain activity giving the veteran revitalization, confidence, enabling them to live life to its fullest!

Spirit Program: Focuses on well-being of combat soldiers who endure intensive and life-threatening military service. Makes available care-free vacations at Rest and Recreations facilities in Israel. (In 2012, 13 combat battalions enjoyed SPIRIT weeks!)

AMIR Program: Integrating Ethopian-Israeli soldiers into IDF. In 2012, 550 Ethopian-Israeli soldiers had the opportunity of a successful integration into Israel's military system.

IMPACT Scholarship Program: FIDF grants four year scholarship to former IDF combat soldiers who come from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background and seek higher education.

Negev Educational and Wellbeing Centers: In 2012 FIDF invested in key construction projects in southern Israel, inaugurating three well-being facilities in the Gaza Division, four additional projects have been under construction and six more are in their planning stages!

Note: The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program is an opportunity to show your commitment to the young men and women who defend the State of Israel by pledging a Bar/Bat Mitzvah gift to an FIDF program. FIDF can help provide you with guidance and assistance to make this day memorable. Also, you can connect your Bar /Bat Mitzvah experience with Israel and visit the soldiers on a one-day trip to an IDF Base. Join Friends of IDF for an unforgettable experience! You can create your Bar/Bat Mitzvah party locally or for those that can fortunately plan to travel with their family to Israel, can have the opportunity to celebrate their simcha and visit an IDF Base. There have been a few that have celebrated this mitzvah in Israel!

Update: In 1981, a group of holocaust survivors established Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces a not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing and supporting educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men and women of the Israel Defense Forces.

Our local top notch mid-Atlantic executive director is Charlie Levine. Ruth Goetz is our local FIDF efficient office coordinator. Charlie's dedicated board of directors includes: William (Bill) Fox, chairman of the board; Haron Dahan, chairman, emeritus; Ron Eisenberg, president; Joshua Mauer, 1st vice president; Bill Glazer, 2nd vice president; Dror Mei-Tal, secretary; Mitch Gold, treasurer.

Plus Richard and Rosalie Alter, Irwin Azman, Sheldon Bearman, Adrienne Blumberg, Mordechai "Mota" Gur, Berly Hershkovitz, Michael J. Klein, Eddie Rogers, Richard Rynd, Irv "Yitzy" Shnidman, Eli Werdesheim and Billy Yerman.

Nily Falic, is national chairman; Julian Josephson, national president; Major General (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon is FIDF National Director & CEO.

Benjamin (Benny) Gantz is Lt. General, Chief of the General Staff, Israel Defense Forces.

For more info call Charlie at 410-486-0004 or e-mail midatlantic@fidf.org.

For Bev Fine's Lifecycle Simcha Celebrations see page 13.

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