200 women gathered for the Central Regions Annual Women’s Brigade Benefit Luncheon at a private Deerfield country club to support programs for the families of fallen Israeli soldiers.

The benefit featured a silent auction and a keynote speech by IDF 1st Lt. (Res.) Sivan, an Ethiopian Israeli who serves as an officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit despite her extremely rough childhood.

“My family walked from Ethiopia to Sudan and then flew to Israel. It was not easy. We were isolated from the rest of Israeli society. After both of my parents died, I never imagined myself joining the army – but I had a lot of help along the way,” said Sivan, whose father murdered her mother and later died of cancer. “Three years ago, I attended the IDF’s Amir Course, which is funded by FIDF and helps give Ethiopian teenagers the tools they need to succeed in their military service. It is thanks to all of you that I stand here today as a lieutenant in the IDF.”

After her speech, Sivan surprised the guests with a beautiful rendition of “Hallelujah.”

Co-chairing the luncheon were FIDF Central Region Women’s Brigade Co-Chairs Marcia Berk, Jenny Newman, and Nancy Taxman.

“This year, the FIDF LEGACY Program brought 36 Israeli Bnei Mitzvah, all of whom had lost parents or siblings serving in Israel’s military, to the U.S. for two weeks of recreation and healing,” said Taxman. “The FIDF Women’s Brigade proudly supports the well-being of Israel’s soldiers – and the families of those heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the Jewish homeland.”

Other distinguished guests included FIDF National Board Member and Central Region Chairman Daniel J. Hyman and FIDF Midwest Region Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim.

The funds raised at this event will go towards the FIDF LEGACY program, which supports thousands of widows, orphans, siblings, and other family members of fallen IDF soldiers through a variety of recreational activities, financial support, and life-cycle celebrations.