Western Region Hosts Two Exceptional IDF Soldiers In June

In June, the Los Angeles chapter welcomed two active duty IDF soldiers, 1st Lieutenant Noa Oren of the Artillery Corp as well as a Captain from an elite special forces unit. The effort was geared towards introducing FIDF to new and unfamiliar members of the community through a parlor meeting, Shabbat dinner, Young Leadership event as well as a school visit. The trip concluded with a special soldier appearance and brief speech at the annual Garin Tzabar Farewell Party. The soldiers debriefed each of their audiences on their respective roles in the IDF and the impact Friends of the IDF has had on them and their fellow units. This was an extra special opportunity to hear first-hand accounts from a female combat officer as well as an elite soldier of a classified unit.

Their tour in LA kicked off at an intimate breakfast parlor meeting of 25 guests hosted by Western Region board members, Larry M. Schnaid and Dr. David Ghozland. Guests were comprised of young professionals interested in getting more involved with FIDF. Both soldiers spoke briefly and participated in a “Q&A” session, followed by several members pledging donations to various programs, which were matched by the very generous hosts.

Later that evening, Western Region Board members, Dina and Fred Leeds, along with Dr. Ludmila Bess, hosted an impressive Shabbat dinner for the two visiting IDF soldiers and 38 guests. Before attending the Shabbat dinner, nearly every guest was unfamiliar with FIDF, however each left with a strong connection to our mission. The Captain and 1st Lt. Oren spoke to guests one-on-one as well as made a brief presentation to the entire group. The dinner not only encouraged several donations but also inspired guests to pursue IDF base visits in the future.



The following day Young Leadership held an intimate event with 28 attendees and the two soldiers. Current Young Leadership President, Jon Waterman, ensured it was a successful night by securing an impressive venue and generating a sold out audience. Both soldiers spoke to the party and thanked the group for their support. Following the event, one of the guests, newly introduced to FIDF, made a generous donation and others committed to getting involved in the Young Leadership.

Photo credit “AJR Photography”

Also on the agenda was a visit to Kadima Day School in the valley with the 5th, 6th & 7th graders. The students were highly engaged and learned a great deal about each soldier’s military capacity as well as how the FIDF supports them. Following multimedia presentations, the students asked each soldier several questions and took their photograph with 1st Lt. Oren, shown here.

Finally, the culmination of the soldiers’ visit was an evening celebration with the Los Angeles Garin Tzabar group. It was important for these high school age young individuals, who are soon departing to join the IDF, to have the opportunity to interact with an active IDF duty soldier. The elite special forces Captain spoke to the young men and women and their parents, answering all their questions and personal concerns. He also addressed the entire party, highlighting the fact that his service was obligatory yet these future soldiers are so remarkable because each of them made the choice to give up the luxuries of home to join the IDF. As seen in the photos, the night was an overwhelming success.

A cake from The Consulate General of Israel in Los Angeles at the
Garin Tzabar Farewell Party. Photo credit “AJR Photography”

Garin Tzabar group. Photo credit “AJR Photography”

 Western Region Vice President, Simon Etehad, speaking at the
Garin Tzabar Farewell Party. Photo credit “AJR Photography”

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