More than 450 leaders from the Philadelphia community, including U.S. Senators Pat Toomey and Bob Casey Jr., will gather at Philadelphia’s historic Congregation Mikveh Israel on Thursday, May 12 to celebrate “Yom Ha’atzmaut,” Israel’s Independence Day.
The celebration’s program will include uniformed American and Israeli soldiers, who will be honored during a ceremony, which will be followed by a festive Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration featuring live Israeli music, and authentic Israeli-style food and wine.
Also attending will be current and former Lone Soldiers – young men and women who decide to leave their countries, homes, and families in order to go to Israel and serve in the IDF – who will be honored for their service. Speaking at the ceremony will be the mother of an active-duty Lone Soldier from Philadelphia; Senator Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa.; and Senator Pat Toomey, R-Pa.
Distinguished guests will include Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro; Israeli Navy Liaison to Philadelphia Lt. Cmdr. Eli Frenkin; First African Baptist Church Rev. Terrence D. Griffith; Friends of Israel of Argentina Vice President and FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Executive Director Emeritus William Sutter; FIDF National Board Member Israel Roizman; and Dr. Zeff Lazinger, an active FIDF supporter.
More than 800 leaders from the Jewish community will gather on Monday, Oct. 26 for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Chapter Annual Gala at the Crystal Tea Room to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
The evening, which has become one of the local Jewish community’s largest events, will feature a keynote speech by Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin, a 40-year IDF veteran and Israel’s former Chief of Defense Intelligence. Yadlin, who is now director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, will address the new wave of terror that is crashing down on Israel, where stabbing and shooting attacks are being reported hourly.
Also speaking will be wounded IDF veteran and Paralympic medalist Noam Gershony. Six years before winning the gold medal for wheelchair tennis at the 2012 London Paralympics, Gershony’s Israeli Air Force Apache helicopter crashed in Lebanon, killing his co-pilot and severely wounding the future champion.
“After my injury I wondered, why did I survive? I used to be able to fly an Apache and now I can barely walk up four steps. That’s when I decided never to let myself become depressed — no matter what the situation,” said Gershony. “Now I know that I’m a very lucky guy: I fell 6,000 feet to what should have been my death, and I rose again.”
Co-chairing the gala and the dinner are Dr. Zeff Lazinger and Shelly and Jerry Abramson. Presiding as the evening’s master of ceremonies will be Rabbi Gregory Marx.
“It is especially important in these times that communities in the U.S. and around the world show support for Israel,” said FIDF donor Marcy Gringlas. “That support for Israel includes recognizing and honoring the brave women and men who protect Israel. It is our privilege to attend and to contribute to this event.”
Other distinguished guests will include active-duty IDF Lone Soldiers from the Philadelphia area 1st Lt. Eric and Cpl. Matthew, and FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Executive Director Tzvia Wexler.
“Were it not for the Israel Defense Forces, we would not have the State of Israel,” said Wexler. “While they look after Israel, it is our job to look after them.”
The evening will begin with a 6 p.m. cocktail reception, followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the program at 7:45 p.m. The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers.