Supporting Israel's Soldiers
FIDF annual dinner garners funds to honor
soldiers' dedication to the Jewish state.
Lauren A. Cohen
Special to the Jewish News
he Friends of the Israel Defense
Forces (FIDF) Michigan
Chapter hosted its 16th Annual
Gala Dinner on Nov. 4 at Congregation
Shaarey Zedek in Southfield to honor
the soldiers of Israel for their dedication
and commitment to the State of Israel
and world Jewry.
The event brought together more than
700 people to show support for Israeli
soldiers and also to raise funds for
their welfare and for college education
through Impact! Program scholarships
for soldiers in financial need after their
Inspirational speakers included the
IDF's 19th Chief of the General Staff, Lt.
Gen. (Ret.) Gabi Ashkenazi, and young
IDF Sgt. Aya Luft, who spoke emotion-
ally about losing her father at a young
age when he was killed in action while
Seth Rogers, a member of the FIDF's
Young Leadership Council, hosted the
event, kicking off the evening with
Brenna Gildenberg, a senior at the
Frankel Jewish Academy, who led the
crowd in singing the Star-Spangled
Banner and HaTivkah.
Another speaker was Haim Elfasy,
a former Israeli combat soldier and
Impact! Program graduate who has
become a successful architect. Elfasy,
along with his business partner, Eyal
Silis, attribute their successful architec-
ture firm to the FIDF believing in them.
Elfasy said, "Without a scholarship, a
person without money stops dreaming
big. With this scholarship, I was able to
put aside my worries and concentrate on
my future... and think BIG!"
He and Silis are so grateful for their
FIDF scholarships that they decided
to adopt their own Impact! Program
student, making them the first Impact!
graduates to sponsor a student.
Despite the difficult and challenging
economy, supporters were enthusiastic
in raising more than $250,000 in funds
for the nonprofit's mission to initiate
and support educational, social, cultural,
and recreational programs and facilities
for the young men and women soldiers
of Israel. Also, donors committed to
24 new four-year Impact! scholarships.
To make a charitable contribution or
to sponsor a student, call the Michigan
FIDF office at (248) 926-4110 or email
Above from left to right: Herschel and Debbie
Wrotslaysky of Southfield, Arthur Weiss
of Farmington Hills and Linda Golden of
FIIINISIT INC IDF
MINDS IF TRW
Fred Ferber of Orchard Lake, Nily Falic,
Ann Newman, FIDF Michigan Chapter
chairman emeritus, of Bloomfield Hills FIDF national chairman, and Miriam
Ferber of Orchard Lake
and Lt. Gen. (Ret) Gabi Ashkenazi
Yad Ezra annual fundraiser helps
support local Jewish families.
n Oct. 28, Yad Ezra held its annual fundrais-
ing effort at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in
Southfield. Rissa and Sheldon Winkelman of
Bingham Farms were honored for their contributions
to Yad Ezra and the community.
Dinner co-chairs Sandy and Alan Schwartz and
Esther and Neal Zalenko welcomed and thanked
the crowd of 400 for supporting the Berkley-based
kosher food pantry and for paying tribute to the
Lynda Charfoos and Carol Sue Coden created lovely
edible centerpieces that later were distributed among
Yad Ezra's client families.
A brief program following a strolling dinner includ-
ed remarks from the Winkelmans' children — Scott
Winkelman, Craig Winkelman and Sheila Pont —
who spoke about the importance of family and food.
The event raised more than $500,000, thanks to
the co-chairs, the untiring efforts of Diane and Emery
Klein, members of the fundraising committee and the
Above from left to right:
Maj. Gen. (Res) Yitzhak 'Jerry"
Gershon, FIDF national direc-
tor and CEO; Gary Shiffman,
FIDF Michigan Chapter presi-
dent, and Lisa Shiffman, both
of West Bloomfield; Lt. Gen.
(Ret) Gabi Ashkenazi; Shari
Kaufman, FIDF Michigan
Chapter vice president; and
Alon Kaufman, FIDF Michigan
Chapter chairman, both of
Yad Ezra honorees Rissa
and Sheldon Winkelman of
Sarena Paul of Farmington Hills receives the
Diane and Emery Klein Volunteer of the Year
Award from the Kleins of Southfield.
Honorees Rissa and
seated, with the Yad Ezra
executive board: Ken
Bernard, Farmington Hills;
Richard Simtob, president,
West Bloomfield; Nancy
Woods; Lea Luger,
Jeff Katz and Barbara
Zaltz, both of Huntington
Woods; and Sam
Dinner co-chairs Alan and Sandy Schwartz of Bloomfield Hills,
honorees Rissa and Sheldon Winkelman, and dinner co-chairs
Esther and Neal Zalenko of Bloomfield Hills
November 22 • 2012