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Las Vegas Society News  

Note: This is a past article from December 11, 2013
You can find the current Las Vegas Society News article HERE



FIDF Chairwoman Dana Werner and friends

Army National Guard with Dr. Adele Zorn

A captivating evening gala for the 3rd Annual FRIEND OF ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCES (FIDF) LAS VEGAS 2013 GALA was held at The Venetian’s Murano Ballroom. Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) help support educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities for the soldiers of Israel. FIDF also supports the families of fallen soldiers. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) job is to look after Israel and the FIDF job is to look after them. The Gala was chaired by Dana and Michael Werner and the Gala Honorees were Arlene and Jerome L. Blut.

The event started with a cocktail reception for Chai Club members and these invited guests had their pictures taken and framed. They mingled and enjoyed cocktails and an Israeli Salad Display of Hummus, Babaganoush, Tzatzidi, Roasted Eggplant, Pickled Salad, Lavash and Pita.

Saluting America, Nevada, and Israel Flags

Audience standing for the Salute to the Flags – Dana Werner in white shawl

All attendees were then seated in The Murano Ballroom and the Army Honor Guard entered and both Israeli National Anthem (Hatikva) and U.S. National Anthem were sung. The evening program began with distinguished criminal defense attorney, David Z. Chesnoff serving as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. He introduced Brig. Gen. Yakov Shaharabani who gave the opening remarks. Yakov spoke about the fragile and unstable strategic challenges that face Israel and that Israel must be very strong to be ready to face our enemies and to win peace. He remembers that when he was ten years old on Yom Kippur, although fasting, his father had to leave to fight in the Yom Kippur war. He is so proud that despite all odds, Israel is now celebrating 65 years, has the highest number of Nobel Peace Prizes in the world and is #1 in the world in medical and technical technology. He said that support of the FIDF is very significant and each and every shekel for the IDF is well spent.

Honoree Arlene Blut


I was looking forward to the beautiful Dana Werner speaking, but somehow she lost her voice prior to the event and could hardly speak. However, M.C. David Chesnoff spoke for her and acknowledged and thanked so many people who helped to make this event so successful. David Chesnoff said in all the years he has been in Las Vegas, this is his highest honor to be Master of Ceremonies for the FIDF. Sheldon Adelson was thanked for donating the Murano Ballroom for the event and Sheldon was called upon to do the HaMotzi (Blessing over Bread). It was also Dr. Miriam Adelson’s birthday and Happy Birthday was sung to her.

Live Floral Table Decoration – Israeli Blue and White colors

Gala Chairs Michael and Dana Werner

Dinner and Live Auction and Entertainment were next on the program.

Dinner Menu: Baby Spinach Salad tossed with shaved fennel, Portobello mushroom and orange segments and honey mustard vinaigrette.

Entrée: Chicken breast stuffed with rice pilaf and side of roasted vegetables

Dessert: Cappuccino Cup (designed chocolate cup)

Guests at Main long table with Dana Werner standing


Entertainment: Tomer Adaddi (piano) Joanna Petri (singer) and Siren Strings (Violin -Marlo Zemartis, Debra Yavitz, Belinda Martinwz, Cellist Corinne Hymel) performed.

Guests at Main long table


Afterwards Honorees Arlene and Jerome L. Blut were acknowledged onstage.

Arlene and Jerome (Jerry) Blut have been active in the Las Vegas Jewish community for over 40 years and their work on behalf of Israel and Israel’s soldiers is exceptionally admirable. Arlene and Jerry each gave a moving and encouraging speech. They have seen the needs of the soldiers up close and have worked alongside them in several IDF bases through their volunteer work with Sar-El, the volunteer arm of the IDF. Jerry said it is a no-brainer that they became volunteers for Israel. He spoke of the time when he was 8 years old and still remembers his feeling of shock when he saw a holocaust prison number tattooed on the arm of a man. He also clearly remembers his mother’s emotionally sobbing in 1948 when it was announced that Israel finally had a Jewish State.

Honorees Jerome and Arlene Blut on left.

David Chesnoff - Izzy Ezagul - Elliot Karp

A highlight of the evening was next. Many have paid the ultimate price for Israel to survive and videos of three Heroes were shown and they were each introduced.

IDF Yoni Asraf received the Israel Medal of Courage for his remarkable heroism that saved IDF soldiers during the war and knocked out the enemy. After his army service he wanted to study and FIDF helped him to reach his dream of going into Law and Business.

Izzy Ezagul was originally from Florida and made Aliyah and immigrated to Israel. Izzy was in the Army as a foot soldier and during an attack lost his arm. Although he was no longer in the Army, he wanted to rejoin and with chutzpah (incredible guts) he did return and this remarkable hero served 2X in the Israel Army. He was the first soldier to lead a squad with disabilities.

Speaker, Miriam Perez with Brig. Gen. Yakov Shaharabani

Guests at Main long table

Miriam Perez gave a very inspirational and moving speech. She described her loss of two sons as IDF soldiers and of her husband dying of a broken heart because of this loss. Despite this, her spirit of Israel cannot be broken and she lectures about the power and focus of Israel and how FIDF does so much for families of fallen soldiers. The audience was overwhelmed and inspired by what she had to say.



Dignitaries, FIDF supporters from all parts of the country, and local guests attended the Annual FIDF Las Vegas Gala. Prominent FIDF leaders included FIDF National Chairman, Nily Falic, and FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon. Also in attendance were CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Sheldon Adelson, and his wife Miriam,State Treasurer, Kate Marshall, State Assemblymen, John Hambrick, Paul Aizley, James Ohrenschall, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation in Las Vegas, Elliot Karp, Las Vegas Retired Assistant Sheriff, Greg McCurdy,andformer Director of El Al Airline's Security, Isaac Yeffet.



Gala Chairs, Dana and Michael Werner and guests

Over 400 guests attended this wonderful event which raised over $400,000. The funds raised at the Gala will go towards preserving the wellbeing of the brave young men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces.

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