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October 16, 2008 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2008-10-16

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What An Impact!

Local women Friends of IDF aid disadvantaged soldiers.

Lauren Bienenstock of Commerce, Atara Barak of Kfar Ata and her mother, Nela of
Arad, and Brenda -Wayne Berris of West Bloomfield

Carly Wayne
Special to the Jewish News


t was a beautiful scene this year at
Tam-O-Shanter Country Club in West
Bloomfield for the Michigan Friends
of the Israel Defense Forces' fifth annual
Women's Luncheon. The Sept. 8 event
was sold out with more than 300 women
attending. It event raised more than
$100,000 for FIDF's IMPACT! Program.
This program grants full four-year
scholarships in the State of Israel to socio-
economically disadvantaged combat sol-
diers who cannot afford to attend college
and who have completed their military
Local luncheon co-chairs were Brenda
Wayne Berris, Nancy Pomish, Karen Ring
Weiss and Stefenie Sasson. Special guests
included Israelis Lt. Or Greenblum, Atara
Barak and Tomer Levy.
Berris opened the luncheon with a
moving speech in which she deemed "the
strength of Israel's army is both a testa-
ment to the determination and will of the
Jewish people to overcome our persecuted
past and a promise to future generations
that never again will the Jews succumb,
never again will we be victimized, and
never again will we go quietly."
She added, "This is why I, this is why


October 16 • 2008


we, need to support the soldiers. They
continue to fight for all of us, for all of our
Lt. Greenblum, 23, told his story the day
that soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped
and the same day his good friend Hanan
Barak was killed. Greenblum described
his frantic phone calls and text messages
to his friend — "Answer! Just let me know
that everything is ok!" — his terror when
a response never came. A group of terror-
ists had penetrated to the Israeli territory
through a tunnel and surprised Barak
and his team from behind, attacking
them with missiles, grenades and rifles. At
this battle, Lt. Barak and Staff Sgt. Pavel
Slotzker were killed; Cpl. Shalit was cap-
tured by llamas, dragged bleeding from
his wounds into the Gaza Strip.
Next came a heart-wrenching story
from Barak's sister Atara. She described
her brother as "a caring and attentive offi-
cer who always made sure that the needs
of his soldiers were being met."
She explained how, after his death, she
was searching for something more mean-
ingful to do with her life in honor of her
fallen brother. She expressed how she had
found the FIDF and the IMPACT! family
and chose to join them "because of the
contact with the soldiers; it was my way to
touch Hanan."
She tearfully declared, "I have no doubt

Andrea Katz of West Bloomfield, Mari Barnett of Bloomfield Hills, Rhonda Angelo of
Bloomfield Hills and Nancy Pomish of West Bloomfield

in my heart that Hanan would have been
To have these women embrace this pro-
an IMPACT! recipient if he was still with
gram means so much to the soldiers, the
us today, and I know he would have been
students who benefit from the proceeds of
such a great student. His charm, his mod- the event and to the State of Israel.
esty, his ability to listen and to give, I'm
sure that he would have conquered the
To find out more about the Walled Lake-
based Michigan Friends of the IDF or the
IMPACT! donors Bruya, Benjamin
IMPACT! Program, call (248)926-4110 or
and Dan Barish of Farmington Hills also
send an e-mail to Executive Director Tamir
brought their student, Tomer Levy, in from Oppenheim at tamir@israelsoldiers.org .
Israel for the luncheon. Levy, after declar-
ing his nerves at speaking in front of
Carly Wayne of West Bloomfield is a senior at
such a large group of people, eloquently
the University of Michigan.
expressed the incredible gratefulness he
felt for "his new family in
America" and for the schol-
arship that changed his life.
The philanthropy and
commitment of the diaspora
is important to Israel and its
soldiers. The FIDF is proud
that our community, the
Metro Detroit Jewish com-
munity, has continued its
extraordinary dedication to
the well-being of the Israeli
soldiers who defend our
homeland. The continuing
success of the FIDF Women's
Luncheon only further illus-
trates the tremendous capac-
ity for giving that the women Leeat Baker of West Bloomfield, First Lt. Or
in this community possess.
Greenblum of Herzliya and Atara Barak

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