About 650 members of the Westchester and Connecticut communities gathered Nov. 3 for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Westchester and Connecticut Gala, “A Night of Heroes,” at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich to salute Israel’s brave men and women in uniform. The FIDF gala raised $800,000 for the organization’s well-being and educational programs for Israeli soldiers.
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, delivered the event’s keynote address. A VIP reception with Sacher for sponsors took place before the gala.
Co-chairing the event were FIDF supporters Elise Kamen and Steven Grossblatt; Jennifer and Mickey Lowitt; as well as honorary co-chairs, philanthropists Lisa and Michael Leffell.
A group of active-duty IDF soldiers participated in the gala. The soldiers included Cpl. Jake, a local Lone Soldier – one who voluntarily enlists in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) without having immediate family in Israel – on a special visit home sponsored by FIDF’s Lone Soldiers Program; Staff Sgt. L., a commander in an elite IDF unit, who is a Lone Soldier from Sitka, Alaska; and Staff Sgt. R., a fighter in a command platoon of the prestigious Golani Brigade.
Other distinguished guests included FIDF Chairman Peter Weintraub and Ellen Weintraub from Scarsdale; FIDF National Board member Wendy Moskowitz; FIDF Tri State Executive Director Galit Brichta; and FIDF Westchester/Connecticut Director Anat Chavkin.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) Musical Ensemble performed and Westchester native Annie Rubinson sang the Star-Spangled Banner.
The evening culminated with a contribution auction carried out by FIDF Connecticut Board Member Avi Kaner, and Wendy Moskowitz.
“Our annual Westchester/Connecticut gala was a wonderful opportunity for our local supporters to shake hands with the brave men and women of the IDF who directly benefit from FIDF’s programs,” said Chavkin. “Our guests had a chance to hear from Ari Sacher, and personally thank the brave soldiers who risk everything to defend Israel – and Jews worldwide.”