Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Westchester/Connecticut Newsletter

January 2015


Dear Friends,


This past Tuesday, we marked the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, honoring the passage of 70 years since the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers.


This past Wednesday, two IDF soldiers were killed after an attack on their patrol from Hezbollah anti-tank missiles. We send our thoughts and prayers to the families of the fallen soldiers. May their memories be blessed. 70 years after the liberation of Auschwitz and we are still fighting to exist freely.


Coming up, the 2015 National NY Dinner will be held on March 10th, at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC. Themed "Follow Me" - אחריי, the dinner is the premier event on the FIDF calendar with more than 1300 supporters in attendance. We are pleased to welcome a new Gala Chairman for this year's event, Westchester's own Rabbi Peter Weintraub. Peter has been a staunch supporter of FIDF for many years and his leadership proudly represents our chapter. 


Please "vote with your feet" and come support the soldiers, those brave men and women of the IDF who work on behalf of all Jews around the world; protecting the State of Israel... Eretz Yisrael .... our ancestral home.


The soldiers of the IDF work tirelessly to defend Israel, the Jewish homeland and a country that many see as a symbol of the free world. Thank you again for the solidarity and commitment you showed throughout 2014. We stand strong in January 2015.


Shabbat Shalom,


Anat Chavkin

Director of Westchester and Connecticut

Brunch and Learn in Newtown, CT

On Sunday, December 7, a "Brunch and Learn" was hosted at the home of Dr. Eitan and Mrs. Laurie Kilchevsky in Newtown, Connecticut. The event featured Staff Sergeant (Res.) Maor, an IDF officer and recipient of a FIDF IMPACT! Scholarship, which helps IDF veterans realize their dreams of a high education, through full four-year scholarships.  The power of the program resonates to all of Israel, as recipients, such as Staff Sergeant (Res.) Maor, are required to complete 130 hours of community service each year.


At the brunch, Staff Sergeant (Res.) Maor, a former soldier in the Paratroopers Brigade, spoke of his participation  in the Second Lebanon War, Pillar of Defense, and Operation Protective Edge.  As a reservist his job is to evacuate the wounded. Most recently, during Operation Protective Edge, he evacuated many injured soldiers, dogs, and terrorists. Originally from Jerusalem, Staff Sergeant (Res.) Maor volunteers in "Acharai", an organization that prepares at risk youth for their military service, as part of his IMPACT! Scholarship. He is currently in his 3rd year at Tel Aviv University where he studies law.


Guests enjoyed meeting Staff Sergeant (Res.) Maor and hearing his incredible story of bravery and heroism. Thank you to Eitan and Laurie Kilchevsky for the warm welcome and for opening your home to host this wonderful, and educational event.

GPS: Navigating the Middle East

A special briefing by Former Israeli Senior Official Avi Melamed

FIDF supporters joined together on January 13th for FIDF's exclusive briefing with Avi Melamed, former Israeli Senior Official on Arab Affairs and former Intelligence Official. Hosted at the home of Shari and Aram Rubinson, the event provided an excellent opportunity for our community to hear an insider's perspective into the complexities of the current situation in the Middle East.

Shari & Aram Rubinson, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir, National Director and CEO, Avi Melamed, Anat Chavkin, Director of Westchester/CT

Guests enjoyed hearing Mr. Melamed's lecture, GPS - Navigating the Middle East, which focused on the current state of affairs and its effect on Israel. His poignant perspective offered an incredible insight into the inner workings of the current situation and was a powerful reminder of how crucial our support is at this time.

Thank you to our hosts, to Mr. Melamed and to the attendees for an educational and interesting evening.

  FIDF Westchester/CT's Work in Action!

Phil Steinmetz, a current Lone Soldier originally from Stamford, Connecticut, shared with us the below picture he recently snapped while on duty as a soldier in the Nachal Brigade.   Construction of the Wellbeing Center at Ktziot was made possible by the generous support of the FIDF Westchester/Connecticut Chapter and the facility is up and running, currently serving the needs of hundreds of soldiers every day.  For more information on FIDF construction projects, click here.

  Bravery in ActionFIDF Presents 

a Modern Israeli War Hero

On Wednesday, January 28, FIDF supporters gathered together at the home of Mr. Harvey and Dr. Helene Kaminski in Bedford, NY for "Bravery in Action: FIDF Presents Modern Israeli Hero".  Guests heard Noam Gershony's remarkable story and journey from a wounded IDF Apache Helicopter Pilot to an Olympic Gold Medalist.
Lior Gershony, Noam Gershony, Dr. Helene Kaminski & Mr. Harvey Kaminski
Noam served in the IDF as an Apache Helicopter pilot.  In 2006, Noam was critically wounded when his helicopter collided with another.  He spent many months in rehabilitation, during which he discovered his love for tennis.  Six years later, Noam won Israel her first gold medal in the 2012 London Paralympics Games in quad singles wheelchair tennis. 

Thanks to all who attended this inspiring evening!

Mazal Tov & A Mitzvah!

Mazal Tov to Joey Lane of Scarsdale on his Bar Mitzvah!

Joey visited the FIDF office in Manhattan, along with his parents Kenny and Alyson, to present a check from his Bar Mitzvah to be designated for the FIDF Lone Soldier Program.

FIDF's Lone Soldier Program supports IDF Lone Soldiers financially, socially and emotionally during their challenging military service. FIDF follows these soldiers through every step of the process, providing a vast array of assistance and ensuring they know they are truly never alone.

To read more about FIDF's Lone Soldier program, click here.

FIDF National NY Gala Dinner 

The 2015 FIDF National NY Gala Dinner is an extraordinary evening bringing together more than 1,300 friends from across the country to stand in solidarity with the soldiers of Israel.  This year's event, chaired by Westchester's own Rabbi Peter Weintraub, will welcome distinguished special guests, including senior officials from the IDF, notable dignitaries from Israel, more than 20 officers from various IDF units, and many more.  This is an event which must be experienced first-hand, as the faces of the soldiers will inspire you, while their stories will illustrate the impact of your support. 


For tickets or more information, click the image below or visit our website 


FIDF and Westchester Reform Temple in Association with the Westchester Jewish Council
a Community Concert with the IDF Orchestra


Is Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Coming Up?

Click below to read about starting a meaningful Mitzvah project with FIDF.  

Like Us on Facebook!

Stay up to date with the FIDF Westchester/Connecticut Chapter! 

We Want to Hear from YOU


Are you the parent, sibling, or friend of a Lone Soldier?

Do you have a personal connection to the IDF?


We want to hear from you!


While the soldiers may be on the front lines, their stories hit close to home. We would love to hear your stories, see your photos, and hear how you are connected to the brave men and women of the IDF.  Send us an e-mail to





Lone Soldiers leave their countries of origin to serve in the IDF. We provide them with support throughout their service, flights home, financial grants, and social events. Read More




The Eitan Program provides an opportunity for teenagers from difficult backgrounds exempt from enlisting to join the army. The program supplies them with tools to have a meaningful service and provides them with a vocation as a mode of succeeding in life thereafter. Read More



Provides hard working combat units with a much needed week of rest, relaxation and bonding. These rare breaks from the battlefield allow soldiers to unwind, as well as recharge in preparation for future challenges. 

Read More



Grants former soldiers from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who served in combat units a 4-year college scholarship at an Israeli institution. In return, the students are required to complete 120 hours of community service per year. Read more



Legacy supports thousands of bereaved families who have suffered the devastating loss of a loved-one fallen during military service and provides opportunities to connect with peers who have also suffered this terrible loss and helps them celebrate holidays and life-cycle events. Read More




The Strides Program provides recreational prosthetics for athletic activities, giving veterans the means to live life without limitation. This program focuses on leg amputees. Read More