FRIENDS OF THE IDF (FIDF) 2019 Las
A NIGHT OF HEROES
by Dr. Adele Zorn
Back) FIDF National Board Member Michael Werner, Gala Co-Chair Dr. Traci
Grossman, Gala Honoree Justice Michael Cherry, FIDF Las Vegas Chapter Founder
Dana Werner, Governor Steve Sisolak, Gala Co-Chair Sigal Chattah, Chairwoman
of CUFI Action Fund Sandra Hagee Parker, Founder and National Chairman of CUFI
Pastor John Hagee, Gala Honoree Yohan Lowie, FIDF National Director and CEO
Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir. (Front) 1st Lt. Jerusalem and Cpl. Eliana.
A captivating and extremely interesting evening devoted to Israel
Defense Forces (IDF) Heroes was held at The Venetian Murano Ballrooms. The
event A NIGHT OF HEROES was co-chaired by Dana Werner, Sigal Chattah and Traci
Ellah Lowie, Merav Lowie, Yohan Lowie, Justice Michael Cherry and Sheryl
Two admirable individuals that Las Vegas is very proud of were the
event Honorees. Honorees were: Yohan Lowie and Justice Michael Cherry.
Chair Dana Werner, Assembly Shannon Axelrod and NV Governor Steve Sisolak
Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) help support educational,
social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men
and women of the IDF. FIDF helps the fallen and wounded proving comfort and
care and also supports the families of fallen soldiers. Approximately 6,700
Veterans and bereaved family members received support in 2018.
Sheryl Kogan and Honorable NV Supreme Court Judge Elissa Cadish
The event started with a cocktail reception in the outer Ballroom
where guests mingled and had their picture taken. They enjoyed cocktails and
passed hors d’oeuvres such as smoked salmon rillettes, beef Kafia Kebab with
garlic sauce and mushroom stuffed pee wee potato.
Arthur and Bonnie Marshall
Noel Gage and Lynn Moravec
At the end of the cocktail reception, chimes informed that it was
time to be seated for dinner and the evening program. Guests stood as an Honor
Guard entered the stage. Renowned singer Joanna Petri then sang both the
“Israeli National Anthem” (Hatikva) and “U.S. Star Spangled Banner” America’s
Gala Co-Chairs Dr. Traci Grossman, FIDF Las Vegas Chapter Founder Dana Werner,
and Sigal Chattah
The program began with co-chairs Dana Werner, Traci Grossman and
Sigal Chattah opening and welcoming remarks. Dana said that this was the
largest attended Las Vegas FIDF Gala ever. Mentioned were many names of the
amazing amount of distinguished individuals in the room and all attendees were
thanked for attending the Gala.
FIDF supporter Avi Shatzkes reunites with his daughter, IDF Lone Soldier Cpl.
Eliana, with Chairwoman of CUFI Action Fund Sandra Hagee Parker, at the FIDF
Guest of honor founder and national Chairman of Christians United
for Israel (CUFI) Pastor John Hagen and Sandra Hagee Parker CUFI were
introduced. Sandra is Chairwoman of the CUFI Action Fund, a nonpartisan
organization based in Washington, D.C. that is related to the nation’s largest
pro-Israel grassroots organization.
Sandra Hagee Parker did a spectacular job as Master of Ceremonies
for the event.
Henry Kronberg came onstage and did the Hamotzi (prayer blessing
Henry Kronberg and Edye Goldberg
David Z.Chesnoff, Esq. Previous FIDF honoree introduced the
distinguished Honorees of the event.
FDIF Gala Honoree Supreme Court Justice Michael Cherry with Dr. Adele Zorn
Justice Michael Cherry’s legal career spans over 50 years. First he
was a Deputy Public Defender, then 28 years in private practice. In 2006 he
was elected to the Nevada Supreme Court and served 12 years and 2 terms as
Chief Justice before retiring in January of 2019. He currently serves as an
adjunct Professor at Touro University and voluntarily serves the community on
a wide range of non-profit boards.
Yohan Lowie is a visionary developer behind some of Las Vegas’ most
luxurious and distinctive developments such as Tivoli Village, Queensridge,
Nevada Appellate Court Building and so many more.
In addition to his business ventures he is known for his
involvement with non-profit organizations and is Chairman of the Israeli
American Council in Las Vegas.
Lowie served in an IDF elite combat unit, and his three children
volunteered to serve as IDF Lone Soldiers in elite units
themselves (Lone Soldiers are those who enlist in the IDF from around the
world without immediate family in Israel)
Each honoree thanked FDIF for this honor and gave an interesting
Dinner was served:
Kosher Plated Dinner Menu:
Salad: Smoked Salmon Salad, sweet little gem and arugala,
diced cucumber and tear drop tomatoes, fried capers and parve creamy dill
Entrée: Seared free-range chicken, sweet corn cream, lemon
scented quinoa, baby vegetables with a port wine reduction
Dessert: Macaroon, coconut Cream Mango-Passion Fruit
Danny and Shannon Axelrod
Lilo and Alexander Kuechel
Afterwards, Videos were shown with some of the IDF soldiers
conflicts both sorrowful and heroic. It was difficult to watch, but amazing to
see what they have to go through and the incredible heroism involved.
Israel Defense Soldier with NV Councilwoman Michele Fiore
A delegation of IDF soldiers travelled from Israel for the event
including 5 speaking at the Gala. Speaking without giving their full names
because of security were Staff Sergeant I, Staff Sgt. E. who in 2017 helped
defend a family from a terror attack in the settlement Halamish (Neveh Tzuf),
by shooting and neutralizing the terrorist; and 1st Lt. N, born and raised in
a Druze family, who now serves in a Paratroopers special unit, despite his
Others speaking were: Lieutenant Jerusalem an Ethiopian-Israeli
soldier whose visual impairment did not stop her from becoming a volunteer
officer in the IDF Northern Command and Cpl. Eliana, a Lone Soldier from New
York and a search and rescue instructor who joined the IDF because of her
family’s religious background and Zionist values.
Sharing their stories was incredible.
IDF Liutenant Jerusalem and L.V. Assemblyman Alexander Assefa
It was especially interesting for me to be sitting with Lieutenant
Jerusalem who gave me some additional insight into what she talked about
onstage. Lieutenant Jerusalum currently commands 1200 IDF officer soldiers.
FIDF Gala co-chair Dana Werner and husband Michael Werner
Support for FIDF was next. Dana Werner’s adorable 11 year old
grandson Benjamin Herschmann came onstage and expressively spoke about Israel.
Dana thanked him and also a very special thank you to her husband Michael
Dr. Miriam Adelson and Sheldon Adelson
Many substantial monetary pledges were given by individuals who
stood and spoke about their motivation to help support FIDF. Nearly $5 million
was raised for the organization’s well-being and educational programs for
Israeli soldiers including a $4 million donation pledged by business magnates,
philanthropists and steadfast supporters of Israel, Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G.
FIDF National Chairman Emeritus Nily Falic pledging her support.
Gad Shimron a former Mossad agent and author of “ Mossad Exodus:
The Daring Undercover Rescue of the Lost Jewish Tribe,” was the closing
Keynote speaker at the Gala. Shimron was instrumental in Israel’s rescue
mission “Operation Brothers,” which helped Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel.
Shimron’s book inspired the recent Netflix hit “ The Red Sea Diving Resort .”
His remarks and videos were exceptional.
The surprise on-stage reunion at the FIDF Las Vegas Gala Dinner, when former
Mossad agent Gad Shimron was greeted by Las Vegas resident Nasanete Kefli, an
Ethiopian Jew whose life he saved.
Following Gad Shimron’s remarks Shimaroan was surprised as one of
the Ethiopian Jews whose life he saved came onstage. Las Vegas resident
Nasanete Kefli, who was born in 1981 in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia and in 1982
immigrated to Israel as part of “Operation Brothers,” was invited onstage to
reunite with Shimron.
What an exciting evening it was. Congratulations to FIDF Las Vegas
Gala for a very successful and interesting event.