More than 1,500 young professionals from the New York area gathered Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Metropolitan Pavilion for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership New York (YL-NY) Division 14th Annual Gala, which raised over $500,000 to support the well-being of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers.
The Jewish world’s most successful young leadership fundraising event, dubbed “the Jewish Oscars” by The New York Observer, featured gourmet food, an open bar, live music, casino-style games and more than $150,000 in luxury prizes, including high-end jewelry, artwork, and spa getaways. The Havana nights-themed evening harkened back to Cuba during the exuberant 1920s, when Americans flocked to the glamorous island to escape Prohibition.
“The FIDF Young Leadership New York gala is our biggest event of the year and last night was a truly spectacular evening,” said FIDF National Young Leadership Director Bari Lovi. “We saw countless new faces in the crowd of more than 1,500. I was so proud to see all these dedicated young leaders embracing their roles as advocates for the well-being of Israeli soldiers.”
The event raised funds to benefit the IDF’s 401st “Iron Trails” Armor Brigade, which the FIDF YL-NY division made a three-year commitment to sponsor as part of the FIDF Adopt-A-Brigade Program. Subordinate to Israel’s Southern Command and part of the IDF Armored Corps, the “Iron Trails” Brigade’s tank units courageously lead ground forces into battle and are crucial to protecting Israel.
The FIDF Adopt-A-Brigade Program allows supporters in the U.S. to forge close bonds with entire brigades of IDF soldiers. Donations provide crucial weeks of rest and recuperation, targeted financial aid for IDF soldiers in need and their families, comprehensive Lone Soldier support, and discretionary funds for commanders to provide well-being activities and supplies that help ease daily life, celebrate traditions, and applaud the tireless efforts of these brave young men and women who defend the State of Israel and Jewish people worldwide.
Co-chairing the gala were FIDF YL-NY Board Members Debbie Konstadt Abramson, Matthew Brunwasser, and Alexandra Faivus. Among the distinguished guests were FIDF National President Peter Weintraub; FIDF YL-NY Board President Ashley Emrani; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Chief Development Officer Nina Hanan; FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta; and Lovi.
About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):
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 more than 150,000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. 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. For more information, please visit: www.fidf.org.