More than 50 members of the N.J. Jewish community plan to gather Mon., Nov. 21, for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New Jersey Chapter Annual Tribute Dinner to support the brave men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), including N.J. natives serving as ‘Lone Soldiers’ – those who immigrate to Israel without immediate family in order to serve in the IDF.
The evening, which has become one of the Jewish community’s biggest events, will feature a keynote speech by journalist and anti-Islamic extremism activist Brigitte Gabriel. A Maronite Christian, Gabriel was born in Lebanon and survived the Lebanese Civil War thanks to the IDF’s incursion into Southern Lebanon in 1978.
“Not only does the Israel Defense Forces serve and protect its people, but the IDF also remains the most moral army in the world – even as it fights on the front lines against the vicious scourge of terrorism,” said Gabriel. “I am deeply honored to be a part of this special evening and hope to encourage support for the FIDF’s mission of caring for the well-being of Israel’s brave defenders.”
Also attending and participating in the evening’s program will be IDF soldiers, including former Sgt. Gideon Drucker, a Woodcliff Lake native who served as a Lone Soldier in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade; Staff Sgt. (Res.) Oran Almog, who survived a terrorist attack at a Haifa restaurant in 2004 that killed several members of his family and left him blind before he volunteered to join the IDF Intelligence Corps despite his injuries; and 1st Lt. (Res.) Sivan, an Ethiopian Israeli who served as an officer in the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit despite her extremely rough childhood.
FIDF’s New Jersey Chapter – often referred to as the “Lone Soldier Chapter” – was co-founded by FIDF National Board Member Sammy Bar-Or, who moved to Israel from Iran when he was 13 and served as a Lone Soldier in the IDF’s Paratroopers Brigade, together with former IDF Paratroopers Mike Gross, who also served as a Lone Soldier, and Avi Oren.
Other distinguished guests will include FIDF National Chair Arthur Stark; FIDF National President Peter Weintraub; FIDF National Board Member Lloyd Sokoloff; Jodi and Saul Scherl, who chair the newly formed FIDF NJ Chapter Board; past FIDF National Board Member Josef “Chick” Paradis, who is a veteran of the IDF; Lance Drucker, who will preside as the dinner’s master of ceremonies; FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta; and FIDF NJ Director Howard Gases.
The evening will begin with a 6:30 p.m. cocktail reception then dinner followed by the program at 8 p.m. The funds raised at this event will go toward FIDF well-being and educational programs for IDF soldiers. For more information or to support FIDF, visit: https://www.fidf.org/njtributedinner.