ROTC uniformed students from UNLV and Tal and Cara, two IDF women soldiers also mingled with guests.
Afterwards, guests were seated in the Forum Ballroom. The National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance to the flag were presented. However, M.C. Avi Liberman said that before the rendition of the Hatikvah (Israel’s National Anthem), a video would be shown. The extremely moving video was about the 30 year anniversary of the FIDF delegation that went to Poland and to Auschwitz. FIDF was started 30 years ago by Holocaust victims.
Dana Werner, who was with the delegation that went to Poland, introduced Israeli Air Force Brigadier General Ronen Simchi. Commander Ronen Simchi was the Commander that led the mission to Poland and he spoke about the mission.
Nily Falic also with the delegation to Poland spoke. She was filled with emotion and said that “Unity is strength and that it doesn’t matter about politics, color, rich or poor and FIDF is a perfect example of unity where everyone is united.
Major General (Res.) Moshe Kaplinsky gave the opening remarks and spoke about how difficult it was to establish the State of Israel, but that it stands to eliminate any obstacles. He saluted FIDF on behalf of the Comanders and soldiers of IDF.
Major General (Res.) Moshe Kaplinsky
Moshe Kaplinsky and wife
FIDF Chairperson, Dana Werner was introduced.
Dana gave heartfelt appreciated to the many individuals who helped with the Gala. She also acknowledged the many friends and family who came from different parts of the country.
There was an outstanding array of speakers:
Julian Jacobson, President of FIDF
Haim from Israel spoke and said that after his service in the IDF he was helped by the FIDF by paying for his schooling to become an architect. He now donates 130 days of volunteering a year to FIDF and he and his architect partner donate scholarships to FIDF.
Ann Goodman, the mother of fallen IDF soldier, Josef Goodman spoke to an awestruck audience after a video was shown of how her son Josef unbuckled his parachute that had been entwined with his Commander’s parachute. Josef knew they were both doomed and only one could survive and he made the decision to let his Commander live by doing this.
Ann and her husband live in Israel but are originally from the United States. They had 7 sons and 2 daughters. Josef’s strong ideals in protecting Israel inspired them. After Josef’s death, the parents had to sign for the 5 other brothers to be in the IDF as their sons were instilled with protecting Israel. Four are finished and 1 is still in the IDF.
A beautiful song, written and sung by Joanna Petri who is from Florida. The song, “A Promise to a Soldier” was written by Joanna specifically for FIDF as a tribute to its soldiers and its cause. As she sung this song, the names of IDF fallen soldiers in 2012 were screened. A Legacy Program by FIDF helps support families of those who lost their lives in IDF.
Elliot Karp, President and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Las Vegas did the HaMotzi (a blessing before a meal) and a Kosher Style dinner was served.
At the dinner a beautiful and delicious Challah (Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and Holidays)was on each table along with breadsticks and other Kosher Style breads.
Herb Salad with Pomegranates, baby greens and Chardonnay dressing
Entrée: Baked Salmon with lemon herb crust and bean ragout with green vegetable
Dessert: (Yum Yum) Tropical and Vanilla White Chocolate confectionary with Mango, Pineapple and Passion Fruit Sauce.
During dinner, Master of Ceremonies, Avi Liberman conducted an amazing live auction for 8 exceptional items. All auction items were donated and raised much needed funds for FIDF as well as other individual large donations.
Some guests enjoying dinner:
Musical entertainment after dinner was by:
Israeli singer Roni Daloomi, Tomer Adaddi and Siren Strings.
Although it was a long evening on a Thursday night, most attendees stayed on through it all, experiencing a most meaningful event.