Some 600 prominent community leaders and FIDF supporters from across Michigan gathered on Thursday, October 25, at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Michigan Annual Dinner at Congregation Shaarey Zedek to celebrate 70 years of Israeli heroes and hope.

(standing, from left) Gary Goodman; Terri Goodman; Mark Goodman; (seated, from left) Enid Goodman; and Lillian Schwartz
(standing, from left) Gary Goodman; Terri Goodman; Mark Goodman; (seated, from left) Enid Goodman; and Lillian Schwartz

The event raised nearly $1 million for FIDF’s well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and gave FIDF supporters the chance to celebrate and meet Israel’s brave men and women in uniform, helping to deepen their connection to Israel’s defenders. The program also recognized local community members who served as soldiers in Israel’s major military conflicts, from the War of Independence to Operation Protective Edge.

(from left) Capt. Amos; FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman; 1st Sgt. Sahar; FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Kaufman; 2nd Lt. Noam; event co-chair Lisa Shiffman; FIDF Michigan President Gary Shiffman; and FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient Noam
(from left) Capt. Amos; FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman; 1st Sgt. Sahar; FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Kaufman; 2nd Lt. Noam; event co-chair Lisa Shiffman; FIDF Michigan President Gary Shiffman; and FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient Noam

“We were so honored to host this incredible event, which gave our supporters the chance to hear directly from the brave men and women who protect Israel – and Jews worldwide,” said FIDF Michigan Director Paula Lebowitz. “This year, as we celebrated 70 years of Israel’s heroes, we were thrilled to honor members of our community who served during Israel’s defining moments.”

The dinner was co-chaired by FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman, FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Ferber- Kaufman, FIDF Michigan President Gary Shiffman and Lisa Shiffman.

(from left) 1st Sgt. Sahar; FIDF Michigan Director Paula Lebowitz; 2nd Lt. Noam; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Kaufman; FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman; FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient Noam; Brig. Gen. (Res.) Nitzan Nuriel; FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim; and Capt. Amos
(from left) 1st Sgt. Sahar; FIDF Michigan Director Paula Lebowitz; 2nd Lt. Noam; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Michigan Vice President Shari Kaufman; FIDF Michigan Chairman Alon Kaufman; FIDF IMPACT! scholarship recipient Noam; Brig. Gen. (Res.) Nitzan Nuriel; FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim; and Capt. Amos

Other distinguished guests included 2nd Lt. Noam, Deputy Commander of the Front Medical Company who served as a paramedic during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and aided severely wounded soldiers, and as part of Operation Good Neighbor helped Syrian refugees; Sgt. Maj. T., who serves in an elite Israeli Navy unit - one of the best special forces in the world; 1st Sgt. Sahar, a combat soldier in the elite Rimoni unit of Givati, who received a Chief of Staff award for singlehandedly protecting his team against five heavily armed terrorists; and Capt. Amos – Combat Company Commander in battalion 46 of the Armored Corps, who was severely injured during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, losing his sight in one eye.

(from left) Brenda Wayne; Capt. Amos; Gabriella Karp; Gary Karp
(from left) Brenda Wayne; Capt. Amos; Gabriella Karp; Gary Karp

Also in attendance were FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Midwest Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim; FIDF Michigan Director Paula Lebowitz; and Alan “Big Al” Muskovitz, who emceed the event.