July 24, 2024
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July 24, 2024
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FIDF Holds Annual Tribute Dinner

More than 450 members of the New Jersey Jewish community gathered Monday night for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New Jersey Chapter Annual Tribute Dinner, which raised $1 million to support well-being and educational programs for the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including N.J. natives serving as “lone soldiers”—those who immigrate to Israel to serve in the IDF.

Attending the dinner, which has become one of the N.J. Jewish community’s largest events, were active-duty and former IDF soldiers, including N.J. native Cpl. Harrison, a lone soldier serving in the elite Nahal Brigade; Lt. Sara, who commanded the Iron Dome’s central control interceptor room during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge; Cpl. M, who, last month, was stabbed and injured by a terrorist—whom she then neutralized; Staff Sgt. (Res.) Gili, a special-operations unit weapons commander; and Staff Sgt. (Res.) Noa, a paramedic who treated wounded Syrians in the Golan Heights.

The evening, at the Sheraton Parsippany Hotel, paid tribute to FIDF National Board Member and FIDF New Jersey Co-Founder Sammy Bar-Or, who moved to Israel from Iran when he was 13 and served as a lone soldier in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade, and his son, Tal, an active FIDF supporter and young leader. Sammy started FIDF’s New Jersey Chapter—often referred to as the “Lone Soldier Chapter”—together with former IDF Paratroopers Mike Gross, who also served as a lone soldier, and Avi Oren.

“When I served, there was no real understanding of what it meant to be a lone soldier,” said Sammy Bar-Or. “Life is very difficult for IDF soldiers without immediate family in Israel. Supporting the well-being of lone soldiers is a personal calling—and a very important part of FIDF’s mission.”

Presiding as master of ceremonies was Lance Drucker. Other distinguished guests included fashion designer Elie Tahari; FIDF Chairman Arthur Stark; FIDF National President Peter Weintraub; and FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir.

“There are more than 3,000 lone soldiers, including some 800 from the U.S.—many of whom are from New Jersey—serving in the IDF,” said FIDF New Jersey Director Howard Gases. “While they leave everything behind and put their lives on the line to help protect Israel and Jews around the world, it is our job to look after their well-being.”

The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers.

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