The Russian community of Los Angeles, in conjunction with Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region, gathered together at the Beverly Hilton Hotel for the 3rd annual Saving Lives Gala. The 2014 Gala strengthened the foundation of a lasting relationship between the Russian Community of Los Angeles and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, raising $335,000 in support of Israel’s brave soldiers.

The moving program featured the incredible stories of current and former IDF soldiers, as well as other distinguished guests, including Pastor Robert Stearns, the founder and Executive Director of Eagles' Wings. “Israel does not stand alone,” Stearns said. “Bible-believing Christians stand with Israel without condition.” FIDF National and Western Region Board Member Haim Saban offered the opening remarks and the event was once again emceed by comedian/actor Elon Gold.

Several speakers traveled from Israel to be a part of this extraordinary event, including Second Lieutenant Elnatan, and his wife, Corporal Aviva, who made Aliyah together from Pennsylvania and joined the IDF. Staff Sergeant Vladislav Kazachkov shared his experience of serving during the Second Lebanon War. Vlad participates in Hope for Heroism, an organization FIDF has partnered with in support of injured and disabled Israeli combat soldiers. Vlad reminded those in attendance that unfortunately “the State of Israel is one that is always in jeopardy.”

The 2014 Si Frumkin Award, an annual award that pays tribute to the late activist Si Frumkin (z’’l), was presented to FIDF Western Region Board Member and Saving Lives Gala Board Member Ludmila Bess, M.D. Dr. Bess is a driving force behind the event and has been instrumental in raising awareness among the local Russian community about FIDF.

The evening’s success was in large part due to the tireless efforts of the Gala Board, Executive Committee, and Gala Committee. The Saving Lives Gala Board was once again comprised of Ludmila Bess, M.D., Ella Frumkin, Alexander Gershman, M.D., Marina Greenberg, M.B.A., Michael Landver, Eugene Levin and Yelena Vaynerov, M.D.

The Executive Committee members were Irina Bess, M.B.A., Michael Finkel, Natalie Glosman, Lana Guralnik, Victoria Lyubarsky, Bella Finkel Moshkovich, Rita Rubinstein, Isabella Svilik, Julie Zaks and Stella Zilber.

The Platinum Sponsors and Gala Committee members were Bank Leumi USA, Yulia & Arthur Benjamin, M.D., Irina Bess, M.B.A. & Oleg Bess, M.D., Ludmila Bess, M.D. & Fred Bess, Marc & Michele Bohbot, Tatiana & Emil Borokhovich, Boris & Ella Brezinger, Marina Burstein, M.D. & Sam Burstein, M.D., Ruth & Leo David, Samuel Fersht, Ph.D. & Maya Gibalevich Fersht, Yelena & Michael Finkel, Sasha, Vicky, & Adrian Frid, Jean & Jerry Friedman, Ella & Si (z’’l) Frumkin, Ekaterina Galina, D.D.S. & Eugene Glosman, Natalia & Alexander Gershman, M.D., Daniel & Galina Gibalevich, Natalie & Leonid Glosman, D.D.S., Marina Gold, M.D., Marina Greenberg, M.B.A. & Igor Greenberg, Lana & Ben Guralnik, D.D.S., Irena Hauser & Sophia Kryszek, Celia & Arkady Kelman, Rosalie Klein & Morrie Flaster, Vera Kleynberg, M.D. & Leonid Kleynberg, M.D., Sinaida Kniter, D.D.S. & Khaim Koifman, M.D., Ada & Henry Krigmont, Ph.D., Vera & Michael Landver, Helen & Eugene Levin, Victoria Lyubarsky, Sofia & Walter Makovoz, Ph.D., Drs. Marina & George Mednik, M.D., Bella & Steven Moshkovich, Kira & Gennady Musher, M.D., Ph.D., Lilia & Vlad Nusinovich, M.D., Margaret & Leon Peck, D.D.S., Ph.D., Zoya Preys, M.D. & Gennady Orlovetsky, D.D.S., Yana & Boris Ratiner, M.D., Rita & Gennady Rubinstein, M.D., Emil & Elena Shamis, Sergeant First Class Alex Shor & Larisa Shor, Bella & Simon Shpitalnik, Albina & Alex Sirota, Izabella & Eduard Sirota, Isabella & Alan Svilik, Polina & Dmitri Triphon, Zakhar & Yelena Vaynerov, Julie & Alexander Zaks, M.D. and Igor A. Zey, MSFS, CFP & Masha Goldenberg, CPA.

The Gala highlighted the tremendous support the Russian Community of Los Angeles has for FIDF and the men and women who risk their lives to defend the state of Israel.