FIDF Launch Party: New Connection to Israel for Atlanta’s Young Professionals

On July 12, 2012, over 200 of Atlanta’s Jewish young professionals gathered at Tongue & Groove Lounge to check out the Friends of the IDF’s LAUNCH!, the first Young Leadership event honoring the soldiers who protect Israel’s borders every day.

Nofar Avigal, an Atlantan and former Lone Soldier, expressed her gratitude as she shared remarks about her service and the experience she had being so far from her family. “It means so much to the soldiers, and to me, that people like you think to love us,” Avigal said to the audience.

Brad Oppenheimer, the FIDF-Atlanta Regions Young Leadership Chair, expressed to the audience why he decided this cause was a priority for him. “These people, who are younger than most of us in the room, are dedicating their time to the military while most of us were enjoying college and starting new careers. We need to show our support; we can’t take them for granted,” he said.

Attendees could buy raffle tickets to win Matisyahu tickets or half of the cash from raffle sales. At the end of the night, ticket winner Julie Bitton donated her cash prize back to FIDF; her generosity made it possible for this chapter to fly a Lone Soldier home to visit family.

"Engaging young people in the Atlanta community is so important because they are our future leaders. We are working hard on programming for our Young Leadership Campaign and feel so grateful to have had such an amazing turnout at our Launch event," says Caryn Liss the FIDF Atlanta Executive Director.

The FIDF Lone Soldiers program is especially relevant to Atlantans, as almost a dozen families in our area have loved ones currently serving in the IDF. Lone soldiers have challenges that are unique to other soldiers: they don't get to see their families weekly like other soldiers, where they go on weekends and holidays is not obvious, and the financial and emotional struggles are distinct. By sponsoring Flights for Lone Soldiers, FIDF enables lone combat soldiers to travel back to their homes to visit loved ones.

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