Western Region – Los Angeles Welcomes the 2012 LEGACY Children

Since its inception in 2006, the LEGACY Program remains dedicated to its goal of supporting thousands of bereaved individuals who have suffered the devastating losses of loved-ones fallen during their military service. Friends of the Israel Defense Forces embraces these bereaved family members at every major milestone in their lives, including the LEGACY Bar/Bat Mitzvah program, which brings bar/bat mitzvah aged children to the United States for an unforgettable 10-day trip.

On August 5, 2012, the FIDF Western Region welcomed 27 LEGACY children, counselors, and commanders to Los Angeles for a once in a lifetime trip, which included an extraordinary Jewish summer camp experience at Camp Ramah, a visit to Hollywood, a day-trip to Universal Studios, a guided walk around Hollywood to see the famous stars, an inspirational lunch hosted by the Lodzer Organization, a shopping spree at Target, a spectacular barbecue and party hosted by the incredible Leeds family, and several other special events hosted by our generous FIDF supporters. This incredible itinerary offered the children a rare opportunity to simply enjoy being a kid – to escape their woes, experience their youth, and have fun!

Upon their arrival at Camp Ramah in beautiful Ojai, CA, the LEGACY children were greeted with warm smiles, open arms, and backpacks bursting with goodies, which were kindly donated by FIDF Western Region supporter Cindy Dubin. While at Camp Ramah, the children formed lifelong friendships with their American and Israeli peers and created memories that will last a lifetime.

Throughout their stay at Camp Ramah, the kids got the rare opportunity to leave the camp’s premises to tour some of the sites Los Angeles has to offer. No visit to Los Angeles is complete without a stop in Hollywood, and the energy and buzz of this iconic destination was only rivaled by the excitement of the LEGACY children. It was only fitting that each child was awarded an Oscar statue, each engraved with the name of the child, and given out in an awards ceremony by the hosts, and longtime FIDF supporters, Eli and Nava Marmur. The children could not have asked for a better souvenir to show their friends and family upon their return to Israel! Following their visit to Hollywood, the LEGACY children, counselors, and commanders enjoyed a luncheon, which was once again hosted by the Lodzer Organization. Bringing together this group of heroic and philanthropic Holocaust survivors with the LEGACY children touched everyone’s hearts. During the program, various members of the organization presented each child with hand-knitted hats, scarves, and a gift card to utilize on a shopping spree at Target.

This magical day concluded with a barbecue hosted by FIDF Western Region Board Members Dina and Fred Leeds, who most generously offered their residence for the jovial celebration. In what can only be described as a lavish backyard bar/bat mitzvah party, the children partook in break dancing, camel rides, caricature drawings, and so much more! During the celebration, FIDF Western Region Board Member Dr. Ludmila Bess, along with her daughter Irina, presented each child with a gift bag filled with fun prizes.

The conclusion of the trip proved once again bittersweet; the children, counselors, and commanders were eager to return to Israel and share their experiences with their friends and family but were sad to leave their new extended family in Los Angeles. The LEGACY Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program has proven yet again that these children are never alone and their family members are never forgotten.

To learn more about the LEGACY Program, please feel free to contact the Western Region office at

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