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May 03, 2012 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-05-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

FIDF Michigan Executive Director Tamir Oppenheim, right, and his son,
Omer, who participated in the BBYO March of the Living program

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20

May 3 • 2012

FIDF Michigan Chapter joins national
mission to Poland and Israel.

F

riends of the Israel Defense
Forces recently returned
from a 10-day mission to
Poland and Israel marking the 30th
anniversary of the organization. This
once-hi-a-lifetime "From Holocaust
to Independence" journey took place
April 16-27 to celebrate 30 years of
FIDF support for the courageous IDF
soldiers and the State of Israel.
"The delegation is comprised of
philanthropic community leaders from
around the U.S," said Julian Josephson,
FIDF national president and 30th
anniversary delegation chairman. "Our
hope is that as they return to their
communities, they will be our FIDF
ambassadors and encourage other
like-minded people to join our rapidly
growing base of contributors through-
out the country"
Rick Bloom, treasurer of the
FIDF Michigan chapter, and Tamir
Oppenheim, Michigan IDF executive
director, were on the trip that began
in Poland, where the group traveled
to such emotional and historical sites
as the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps, the
Tikochin village (a thriving Jewish
town before the Holocaust) and
Lopachova forest, where countless
Jews were murdered.
Together, the group walked through
the Jewish Quarter in the old city of
Krakow, the Ghetto and the Schindler
Factory, where Oskar Schindler saved
nearly 1,100 Jews by employing them
in his factory.
"As a second generation of
Holocaust survivors, I had the
privilege to participate in a once-in-
a-lifetime trip to the death camps in
Poland with 50 officers from the Israel

Defense Forces, and side by side, we
marched into the Birkenau Camp,
symbolizing the victory of the Jewish
people over the Nazis:' Oppenheim
said. "The journey was a collaboration
with the Witness in Uniforms pro-
gram of the IDF that every year sends
around 25 groups of officers and sol-
diers to Poland!'
The participants then flew with the
IDF soldiers on an Israeli Air Force
plane from Poland to Israel to con-
tinue the journey to celebrate Yom
HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut in
Israel. The group spent time on several
elite IDF bases with soldiers, met with
top-level government and IDF officials;
including the commander of the IAF
and the head of IDF military intel-
ligence, and had a special dinner with
Israeli President Shimon Peres at his
official residence.
FIDF chair, Nily Falic, also hosted
the delegation for an evening at her
home in Jerusalem.
"There can be no more profound
a demonstration to mark the 30th
anniversary of FIDF and our support
for Israel and IDF soldiers than by
joining them on a journey to Poland,
where our people suffered the horrify-
ing times of the Holocaust and visiting
them on their bases throughout Israel;'
Josephson said.
The trip came to a close with the
celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut at
the official state ceremony on Mount
Herzl, under the auspices of IDF Chief
of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny
Gantz and Speaker of the Knesset
Reuven Rivlin.
The FIDF plans to continue
the tradition of visiting Poland.
For information, contact Tamir
Oppenheim at Tamir@fidf.org or call
(248) 926-4110. ❑

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