June 14, 2024
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FIDF Supporters Raise Emergency Funds in Evening of Solidarity

(l-r) Bernie Glezerman; Howard Gases (FIDF director NJ Chapter); Aliza and Joshua Schwalbe; Elias and Livia Marcovici; Yehuda Friedman (FIDF director of community engagement); Rabbi Steve Weil (FIDF CEO); Shlomo and Dr. Jennifer Shenker, members of the East Hill Synagogue in Englewood. (Credit: Rod Morata/Michael Priest, Courtesy of FIDF)

(Courtesy of FIDF) Close to 450 Friends of the IDF (FIDF) supporters came together last Thursday at Temple Emanu-El of Closter, New Jersey in a strong show of solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers on the front lines, risking their lives to restore security in Israel after the horrendous massacre that occurred on Oct. 7 and the ongoing attacks against innocent civilians perpetrated by the terror group, Hamas.

The event had been scheduled as the FIDF New Jersey gala to celebrate Israel’s 75 years of independence but in the wake of the attacks, was transformed into a solidarity gathering where the Jewish community could show support for Israel’s soldiers during their greatest time of need. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event, and donations to FIDF since the start of the war, are going toward the emergency humanitarian needs of IDF soldiers. So far, more than $30 million has been transferred to the IDF to meet their most urgent requests for its soldiers.

Howard Gases, director of the FIDF New Jersey chapter, emceed the event, which kicked off with “Hatikvah” and the “Star-Spangled Banner” led by student singers from Livingston’s Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy’s middle school. Perhaps the most emotional part of the evening was when Eric Lavitsky, a father of lone soldier Jonathan, a reservist in the IDF Armored Infantry Corps from Bridgewater, New Jersey spoke about his son’s journey in the IDF, which began in the spring of 2021.

Eric Lavitsky of Bridgewater, New Jersey, parent of a lone soldier. (Credit: Rod Morata/Michael Priest, Courtesy of FIDF)

FIDF is the single organization designated by the IDF in the United States that is authorized to raise funds for its soldiers, and FIDF acts according to the requirements of the IDF’s Manpower Directorate to respond to the most urgent requests. Funds raised at the event will go toward lifesaving medical supplies such as ambulances, plasma, medical devices, field hospitals as well as hygiene kits and aid for the thousands of bereaved families who are suffering the loss of a loved one. As the IDF’s official partner, FIDF is the fastest and most direct way to support IDF soldiers.

“The brutal, barbaric acts of hatred committed against Israeli civilians are unthinkable, and IDF soldiers are facing an unprecedented and harrowing conflict, making our support for them more vital than ever before,” said FIDF CEO Steve Weil. “At the frontline of defense are Israel’s soldiers, bearing witness to heinous crimes and facing unimaginable challenges. They need to know that we, as a global community, are firmly there for them.”

According to FIDF supporter Steven Selby, “This is the first time we are experiencing Israel’s existence truly under attack and the worst massacre of Israeli civilians in Israel’s history. Every soldier is focused on one thing: their sacred mission of securing the State of Israel, and we must support them as much as we can, and right now.”

(l-r) Renee and Mitchel Selby of Fort Lee; Steve and Sandi Selby of Monroe, New Jersey; and Lee Selby of New York. (Credit: Rod Morata/Michael Priest, Courtesy of FIDF)

Award-winning violinist Bar Markovich, performed at the event. VIP attendees included FIDF national board member and co-founder of the New Jersey chapter; Sammy Bar-Or; FIDF national board members Alice Klein, Lloyd Sokoloff and Tim Livart; Weil; and FIDF vice president of Northeast Region, Galit Brichta.

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