$600,000 raised at NJ’s 10th Annual IDF Tribute Dinner
The former head of Israel’s Navy, Lone Soldiers from New Jersey, and former and active-duty IDF soldiers joined over 340 prominent lay leaders and FIDF supporters from across the Garden State for the New Jersey Chapter’s 10th Annual Gala. Held on Saturday, November 8th at the Hilton Secaucus Meadowlands in East Rutherford, the evening raised $600,000 for wellbeing programs supporting the men and women of the IDF.
A special moment came when Sgt. Moshe, a Lone Soldier from Edison, N.J., surprised his mother on stage. Moshe, who served in the Paratroopers Brigade, was injured during Operation Protective Edge and hospitalized at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel. Moshe’s mother, Sharon thought she was receiving a Skype video from her son, but instead got the surprise of her life when he appeared on stage. Moshe’s New Jersey family then pledged to sponsor a flight to bring a Lone Soldier home.
“The amount of effort that FIDF puts in to build and help our country and nation is truly amazing, and we really appreciate every ounce of it,” said Moshe. “I would like to thank everyone here for the help that I personally receive from the FIDF, and for you having me tonight.”
Joining the event were former Lone Soldiers and current NJ Chapter leaders Sammy Bar-Or, Mike Gross, and Avi Oren. The New Jersey Chapter, also known as the “Lone Soldier” Chapter, was founded in 2005 when all three men reunited after their service in the IDF, to provide aid to soldiers serving in Israel without any immediate family in the country.
The event’s Guest of Honor was IDF Adm. (Ret.) Eliezer Marum, former Commander of the Israeli Navy. Marum graduated from the IDF Naval Officer’s Course in 1975 and during his military service held various command and staff positions, including Head of the Operational Intelligence Department, Commander of the Fast Missile Boat Division and Commander of the Advanced Naval Command Course. He served as the IDF representative at the United States Joint Forces Command, and as Israel’s Defense Attaché in Singapore. In 2007, Marum was appointed Commander in Chief of the Israeli Navy, and, until the end of his term in 2011, participated in and commanded various operations at sea, most of which were never made public.
Special guests included three active-duty IDF soldiers: First Lt. David, Commander of the Gefen Brigade Platoon, First Sgt. Yonat, an IDF Paramedic, and Sgt. Avinoam, who served in the Nachal Brigade.
First Lt. David fought in an infiltration incident in Nir-Am, where the commander of the Gefen Brigade, Lt. Col. Dolev Keidar Z"L, was killed. In addition, two of David’s close friends were killed in combat. First Sgt. Yonat, an IDF Paramedic, initially served for 14 months in the Nachal Reconnaissance Battalion, but a day before her scheduled discharge, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense, and she served in Gaza. Yonat helped treat multiple amputees during that conflict. She was ultimately discharged in Dec., 2012. Sgt. Avinoam, an FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship recipient and Lone Soldier, made Aliyah in 2007 to join the IDF.
In total, the event raised more than $600,000 for Israel’s soldiers. Thank to you to the dedicated NJ chapter for your tremendous efforts!