The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Young Leadership-LA Division raised more than $385,000 for well-being programs for IDF soldiers.
More than 900 young professionals from across greater Los Angeles gathered Saturday, March 9 at The Alexandria Ballrooms for the 11th annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership (YL) LA Roaring ‘20s Old Hollywood Gala, which raised over $385,000 to support well-being and educational programs for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
The gala honored the legacy of Zev Karkomi, who was born in Ukraine and escaped the Holocaust, moving to Israel in 1942. Karkomi joined Israel’s fight for independence as a member of the Haganah, later serving as a captain in the IDF. He moved to Chicago in 1960, where, despite his modest means, he was able to build a thriving business and soon became a major supporter of FIDF. His grandson, FIDF National Board Member and Western Region Vice President Ari Ryan co-founded FIDF’s Young Leadership Division in LA to continue Karkomi’s legacy, and is also the FIDF YL-LA Chairman Emeritus.
“I am so proud of what we have accomplished and am humbled by the passion and desire to support Israel’s brave soldiers that has been demonstrated by LA’s young professional community,” said Ryan. “LA’s FIDF Young Leadership Division is more successful than ever, as over the last decade more than 6,000 young professionals have gotten involved through our events and helped us raise much-needed funds for well-being programs for IDF soldiers.”
The ‘20s-themed gala, one of LA’s premier young leadership fundraising events, featured performances by DJ Aviel, The Spazmatics and Scott King. The event also boasted gourmet food, casino-style games, and offered more than $125,000 in luxury prizes – including jewelry, sports memorabilia, hotel stays, and contemporary art.
Chairing the gala were FIDF YL-LA President Jennie Arad; FIDF YL-LA Executive Board Member Robert Roig; FIDF YL-LA Executive Board Member Michael Spector; and FIDF YL-LA Chairman Zach Zalben. Gala sponsors included Founder and CEO of Marvel Studios, Avi Arad, and his wife, Joyce; “Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles” cast member Josh Flagg, and his husband, Bobby Boyd; and businessman and Co-Owner and Executive Vice President of the New York Giants, Steve Tisch. Presiding as the evening’s master of ceremonies was actor and comedian Dan Ahdoot.
Among the distinguished guests were IDF soldiers, including IDF Chief Sgt. Omri Ohayon; Capt. I., who served as a rescue helicopter pilot; Izzy Ezagui, a decorated squad commander in the IDF and the author of Disarmed; FIDF National Board Member and Western Region President Tony Rubin and his wife, Linda; and FIDF Western Region Executive Director Jenna Griffin.