We cannot possibly thank you enough for joining us -- along with 600 devoted lay leaders and FIDF supporters -- for the FIDF Long Island 11th annual IDF appreciation evening at Fresh Meadow Country Club. Because of your presence and support, we raised over $1.2 million to embrace and empower Israel's brave young men and women soldiers. Thank you for this stellar success!
The evening paid tribute to a trio of couples who have brought their families' tradition of service to glorioous new heights: Rachel and Howard Hershenhorn, Freddi and Harvey Kadden, and Amy and Marc Puntus. Their combined dedication to the well-being of IDF soldiers shine bright throughout the evening.
According to FIDF National Board Member and Long Island Chairman Ronny Ben-Josef:
"Tonight gave our community the chance to meet and celebrate the brave soldiers - Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Druze - who defend Israel and Jews around the world. We honor the incredible diversity of those who serve in the IDF. Our Long Island FIDF community mirrors this diversity and it with greatest pride that we come together to share our stories, applaud the tremendous difference we make in these young champions' lives, and re-dictate ourselves to this noblest cause."
As Master of Ceremonies, Michelle Adhoot, guided the beautiful program with finesse:
"We come together to pay tribute to our dedicated honorees and in support of the Israel Defense Forces, one of the most diverse humanitarian armies in the world."
Several IDF soldiers shared truly eye-opening personal accounts: 1st sergeant Mishel, a paramedic of combined Christian Arab and Russian Jewish descent, told of saving a severely wounded young Syrian boy:
"I feel honored to be a soldier in a humanitarian army which helps all those in need both soldiers and civilians, regardless of their background or religion. Your support is a blessing and helps us continue doing our work."
FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship recipient Daniel told how our help has allowed him to access otherwise unobtainable education to "become a successful engineer and even maybe change the world."
From the tender place we hold in our hearts for those who leave home and family to serve, we welcomed a young man from Brooklyn, Lone Soldier Sergeant J., and a young woman from Bolivia, Lone Soldier Sergeant J., who suffered discrimination in her native land but expressed gratitude for FIDF care: "Once FIDF welcomed me to their family, everything changed. I now have a second family in the place I call my home, Israel."
Sivan Bar Or, widow of Major Tzafrir Bar z'll, also accepted an outpouring of solidarity and support for her family's ultimate sacrifice.
This hope and heroism could never have happened without our tireless team of Dinner Chairman Edeed Ben-Josef and Long Island Chairman Ronny Ben-Josef, together with the entire executive dinner committee and dinner committee. Also in attendance were FIDF National Chairman Arthur Stark, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Gila Klifi-Amir, and Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta.
On behalf of the heroic men and women of the IDF, The State of Israel and our board and staff here at the FIDF, we thank you again for your steadfast support of Israel's soldiers.
The Long Island Chapters' incredible generosity brought over $1.2 million to improve lives and transform futures for IDF soldiers and all they so valiantly serve!