June 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
June 23, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

FIDF Is Dedicated to Israel and Jews Worldwide

For 40 years, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) has been providing services dedicated to supporting the well-being of the men and women of the IDF who protect Israel and Jews worldwide, as well as serving as their home away from home. This is not surprising considering the caliber of the FIDF leadership.

Rabbi Peter Weintraub of Scarsdale, a longtime leader in the New York Jewish and business communities and an FIDF national board member, has been serving as FIDF national president and then as board chairman since 2015. Weintraub was elected to the national leadership position after being deeply active in FIDF for many years.

Weintraub’s FIDF support goes hand in hand with his ardent Zionism. At one point he opened a factory in the southern city of Sderot, which has endured Hamas rocket attacks for years, and helped employ women who are victims of domestic violence. When the factory closed, Weintraub used proceeds to support FIDF. He is also a longtime rabbinic outreach worker, specializing in working with interfaith families.

“I am honored to serve as president of FIDF. The brave and dedicated young men and women of the IDF give everything they have to protect their country as well as the well-being and security of Jews throughout the world,” said Weintraub. “We at FIDF take seriously the Jewish mandate: Kol yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh, that all of us—keepers of the Jewish flame—are responsible for each other. I hope to build up on the already enormous support FIDF provides and encourage many more to become part of the mission: Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.”

Director of the Westchester/Connecticut FIDF, Anat Chavkin is definitely an example of what can be accomplished when passion meets purpose and a career becomes a calling. Born and raised in Israel, Chavkin came to the United States as a young adult. She now lives in Stamford, Connecticut. Using her skills and ability to lead, inspire, motivate and build relationships and collaborative opportunities while building campaigns and community, Chavkin has risen to become a leader in the Jewish community. Her extensive knowledge and commitment to the Jewish community and Israel are now focused on the FIDF mission.

Chavkin’s Westchester/Connecticut chapter of FIDF is now 2,000 strong. It was founded by Neil Ferranti, Joel Gardner and Phil Jacobs. Supporters range in age from 30-80 and reside across Westchester and Connecticut. “Our chapter is a very big supporter of IMPACT! scholarships, as we love providing the promise for a brighter future to soldiers through education after their military services. The personal connections between donors and their students are truly heartwarming and unparalleled by any other program,” said Chavkin. The Westchester/Connecticut chapter has also supported construction projects across Israel.

In 2019, the Westchester/Connecticut chapter moved to a model of one dinner, one big celebration of the Westchester and Connecticut communities. Keynote speakers at these dinners have included such luminaries as Uri Levine, an Israeli entrepreneur and co-founder of WAZE, one of the world’s most popular GPS navigation applications; and Israeli rocket scientist Ari Sacher, who works in the Air Superiority Systems Division at Rafael, where he develops new air-defense systems and has led the Iron Dome project.

The chapter also hosts parlor events, where supporters get to meet IDF soldiers in the intimate setting of people’s homes. Funds raised have resulted in lifesaving facilities and other assistance for IDF soldiers. The FIDF family also raises funds to help the IDF provide 100,000 soldiers with the tools to address trauma, identify PTSD and to foster resilience. 100 percent of funds raised are used for the needs of the soldiers.

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of offering educational, cultural, recreational and social programs and facilities that provide hope, purpose and life-changing support for the soldiers who protect Israel and Jews worldwide. Today, FIDF has 24 chapters throughout the United States.

FIDF also has a Young Leadership Division. Young professionals, emerging leaders and beginning philanthropists ages 21-40, have the opportunity to be involved with FIDF’s mission while they network and socialize with their peers. The YL division raises over $2 million a year nationally. They host parlor meetings with visiting soldiers, Shabbat dinners, educational events with high-level speakers, and large-scale events at premier venues. There is also an annual YL mission to Israel, traveling alongside IDF soldiers.

FIDF proudly supports IDF soldiers, families of fallen soldiers and wounded veterans through a variety of innovative programs that reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the state of Israel. While the Israeli government is responsible for training IDF soldiers and providing them with the necessary tools needed for their service, FIDF is committed to trying to ease the burden that they carry on behalf of the Jewish community worldwide.

FIDF is the sole organization authorized to collect charitable donations on behalf of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces across the United States of America, as designated by Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, IDF chief of the general staff in March 2017; and by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi, IDF chief of the general staff in February 2019.

For more information: www.fidf.org tri-state region 212-244-3118. To reach Anat Chavkin: [email protected]


Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and writing about Israel. Susan has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles