The Washington, D.C. Chapter held its Annual Gala at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Julia Bindeman Suburban Center in Potomac, Maryland, where more than 430 prominent lay leaders and supporters from across the Washington, D.C. area attended and showed their support for Israel’s soldiers. Over $350,000 was raised at the event, which will go toward FIDF wellbeing and educational programs for the brave men and women of the IDF.

Among the many leaders who sent their good wishes to FIDF was Vice President Joseph Biden: “Our Administration remains committed to the security of the State of Israel and to promoting a lasting peace between Israel and her neighbors. Organizations like FIDF play a significant role as our two nations continue working toward these goals,” mentioned Biden in a special greeting letter that he submitted to FIDF to be read at the event.

The evening highlighted Keynote Speaker, Dr. Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, the new FIDF Washington, D.C. Chapter Project – Adopt a Brigade of the Shayetet 3 and Daburim Squadrons of the Israeli Navy, and was attended by many high ranking IDF Military officials including, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. Yaacov Ayish, Israel’s Defense and Armed Forces Attaché to the U.S. and Canada, and Capt. Ronen Nimni, Israel’s Naval Attaché, in addition to other high-ranking Israeli officers.

The event also featured Rabbi Bruce Lustig of Washington Hebrew Congregation as the Master of Ceremonies and Cantor Mikhail Manevich, who led the event in singing the Hatikvah. The Gala was Co-Chaired by Elaine Hoffman, Larry Miller and Nira and Philip Berry.

“The goal of the FIDF Washington, D.C. Gala was to have everyone walk away with an understanding of not just how important all IDF soldiers are to Israel but to each and every one of us as Jews in the Diaspora,” said Bobby Cohen, FIDF Washington, D.C. Chapter Chairman. “In my opinion we conveyed that information and our mission was accomplished!”

The most amazing part of the evening was when Lone Soldier, Daniel Greenblum of the Paratroopers 101 Brigade surprised his parents, Phyllis and Neil Greenblum on stage. This emotional family reunion, which brought the crowd to tears, was made possible by the FIDF, which flew him to DC so he could tell his story and surprise his parents.

“As an organization that is relatively new in the community, we are very appreciative of the outpouring of support from our incredible community in DC, demonstrating their love and commitment for the brave IDF soldiers who keep all of us safe,” said Dr. Philip Berry, Gala Co-Chair.