Some 400 members of the New Jersey Jewish community gathered Sunday, Dec. 10, for the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) New Jersey Chapter Annual Tribute Dinner, raising over $900,000 to support well-being and educational programs for the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The dinner also saluted N.J. natives serving as ‘Lone Soldiers’ — those who immigrate to Israel without immediate family in order to serve in the IDF.
The evening featured a presentation by the co-creators of the hit Israeli Netflix series “Fauda,” journalist Avi Issacharoff and Lior Raz, who also stars in the show.
“Fauda” focuses on the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from opposing perspectives. Viewers follow the riveting story of a commander in an undercover IDF unit trying to locate Hamas terrorist Abu-Ahmed, who has murdered 143 Israelis.
The dinner, chaired by FIDF New Jersey Region board members Ellen Sokoloff and Annette Stern and emceed by Lance Drucker, also featured Sgt. Ziv, a woman combat paramedic treating victims of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Attending were former IDF lone soldiers from New Jersey: Jesse Talmud of East Brunswick, whose parents, Shelley and Steve Talmud, are FIDF N.J. committee members, and Avioz, whose mother Ronit is also an FIDF N.J. committee member.
“This evening gave the New Jersey community a chance to meet and personally thank the brave soldiers who risk everything to defend Israel — and Jews worldwide,” said FIDF New Jersey director Howard Gases. “It was our honor to host Avi and Lior — and to give our supporters the chance to hear their stories and get an inside look into this incredible, complex show.”
Special guests included Israeli Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the U.S. Maj. Gen. Michael Edelstein; FIDF national chairman Arthur Stark; FIDF national director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Tri-State executive director Galit Brichta.