Saluting Women in the IDF drew nearly 900 members of the community to the FIDF 6th Annual Gala. FIDF was honored to have Chairpersons Madlyn and Leonard Abramson as we paid tribute to the IDF soldiers. The Program included FIDF IMPACT Scholarship recipients and IDF soldiers representing the air force, foreign affairs and a classified unit. Holocaust survivor Miriam Caine brought the audience to their feet with an inspirational message. There was a significant showing of the younger generation; among them were students and young professionals from the Chapter's Young Leadership division. Shoval Dorani, former lone soldier from the region, shared her story as a member of an elite special forces canine unit, while introducing her training dog Gula. The First African Baptist Church Praise Team brought harmony to the room with their voices and spirit. Master of Ceremony, former lone soldier, and comic Joel Chasnoff balanced the night out by spreading laughter throughout the room.
The Program concluded with the emotional life story of Ethiopian soldier, Sivan Sissay which brought tears. Despite many challenges, with the help of FIDF she succeeded and has become a success story in the IDF. An excerpt from Sivan's speech:
"In 2005, when I was 11 years old, and after a rough childhood, my father murdered my mother. Leaving us, four children alone, I was devastated ... A month before I decided to go to officer's course, another tragedy hit my family. My brother committed suicide. Even with the loss of my brother, I never lost hope and decided to become an officer ... In April 2015, on Israel's Independence Day, I was lucky to be one of the 120 soldiers from the entire IDF who received the President's Excellence Award. I stood on Mount Herzel and felt so proud ... None of that would be possible if it wasn't for the support I had, as an Ethiopian and lone soldier, from FIDF which gave me the opportunity to earn my life back."