Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

Westchester / Connecticut Newsletter

September 2014


Dear Friends, 


It's hard to believe summer is almost over.  We have been busy. You have been busy - Israel and the brave soldiers have been the concern of so many this summer. Your love and support of the soldiers warmed our hearts, the hearts of the soldiers, and their families. We can't thank you enough.


Our FIDF community was instrumental in providing for our soldiers' wellbeing needs on the ground, and FIDF will continue supporting all the IDF soldiers that took part in Operation Protective Edge through FIDF's "Day After Campaign". This is in addition to the ongoing efforts of FIDF for all the soldiers year-round.  As such, FIDF will:

  • Adopt 13 additional combat battalions, attending to all of their wellbeing needs and bringing the total number of battalions adopted by members of FIDF to 40.
  • Support over 800 wounded soldiers every month, including those injured during Operation Protective Edge, through their recovery and rehabilitation process.
  • Offer financial and social support to thousands of families of fallen soldiers, including more than 5,000 widows and 10,000 orphans.
  • Provide 50 SPIRIT weeks of rest and recreation to combat units, in addition to the 18 weeks that FIDF has already sponsored this year.
  • Sponsor flights for 1,800 Lone Soldiers who took part in the operations and will now be able to visit their families and friends abroad.

With your help, we continue to stand by the men and women in uniform who proudly defend the Jewish homeland. We are grateful for their sacrifice. Am Israel Chai.


Happy September.  Enjoy the last days of summer.  

Anat Chavkin

Director, Westchester and Connecticut


 Israeli Mentality/Koach: Three Wounded IDF Soldiers Overcome Injury

By Laura Rolnick

Westchester/Connecticut Chapter supporter Laura Rolnick shares her poignant experiences and conversations with IDF officers in her latest feature below. 


Upon David Peretz's arrival at Rambam Hospital, the attending physician circled the hallway and then asked David: "How well do you think I am walking?" Surprised at the question, David answered "fine" from his gurney.  "I am an amputee from above the knee," the doctor informed David, who had just lost a leg from the shin down in a terrorist rigged minefield.  He vividly recalls the sense of hope and relief he felt from that greeting as he was wheeled into the operating room for the surgical removal of the remainder of his right leg.



Itzhak Gabbay lost a leg in an ambush by Hezbollah on the Syrian border, and only a few days after his injury he "decided to put it behind" him and "move on" with his life.  He quickly highlights that coping with even some of the most potentially incapacitating injuries is "all in the mind."  "If the mind is healthy, you go on," he states matter-of-factly, and while he still has scars and some pain, he relays his view that "of the mind is okay, a physical issue is nothing."  Vladimir Tokorev, the third injured soldier visiting our region, relays that while he still has scars and some pain, "if the mind is okay, a physical issue is nothing.".... To continue reading Laura's article, click here.


What a Reunion. Such an IMPACT!

On their recent trip to Israel, Westchester supporters Mrs. Ellen and Rabbi Peter Weintraub hosted a reunion with their 20 (yes 20!) IMPACT! Scholarship recipients in Tel Aviv.


Because of their profound support, these former combat and combat support soldiers can achieve their goals of higher education. 


"Our IMPACT! students are in our hearts and minds now more than ever.  We love and support them in their continued battle to survive.  We are so enormously proud of them and all that they have done to keep our country safe from our enemies.  We pray that conflict will speedily end and that all will return to their families and continue the positive building of Medinat Yisrael." - Peter Weintraub 


Mazal tov to the Weintraub family and to the wonderful students. We can't wait to see where your path will lead you!


For more information on the IMPACT! Scholarship program, please click here.

Sweet Treats to Support Israel's Soldiers

Twins Emily and Brooke Levine spent a day in the kitchen baking and arranging a bake sale to raise funds for FIDF. From baking the cookies and decorating the boxes, these delicious packages came out great and went a long way to support the soldiers of the IDF.

A picture below for you to judge....

Emily & Brooke Levine

"We both recently came back from a gap year (between high school and college) in Israel and felt we needed to do something to help. We really gained a love and appreciation for Israel and realize the importance of the IDF and the FIDF in that," said Emily Levine.

Thank you to Emily & Brooke for using your creativity to support Israel's soldiers. These sweet treats not only brightened the day of those who enjoyed them, but will help FIDF to provide much needed well-being and educational support to Israel's soldiers in this most crucial time. 

Can't wait to see what you cook up next!
Washing Cars to Shower the Soldiers with Love
Luxuries are few and far between when on the battle field. Even something as simple as a shower is a treat for the soldiers on the front lines of the IDF.   Hearing about the portable showers which FIDF brought to soldiers during Operation Protective Edge, brothers Joshy and Sammy Paprin arranged a car wash to raise funds for this need.  Deciding on a car wash was an easy choice, as they wanted to connect the project to water and the need for mobile showers for the soldiers.

Thank you to the Parpin Brothers for your support of the soldiers.  Mobile shower units go a long way to boost the morale of the tired and weary soldiers and the gesture is greatly appreciated.

Special thanks also to Rabbi Brusso of Bet Torah in Mount Kisco for supporting this worthwhile project. 
Joshy & Sammy washing cars for FIDF
FIDF Supporters Gather to "FLY for our Soldiers" at Flywheel in Scarsdale, NY
On Tuesday, August 26th, over 30 supporters joined together to "FLY" for our soldiers.

Spearheaded by the Halper family, mainly their Israel-bound daughter Yaela, this event raised funds for FIDF's Lone Soldier Program. Yaela, who left just days after to spend a gap year in Israel, felt strongly about raising money and awareness for FIDF and the Israeli soldiers tirelessly defending Israel. As she and her friends enjoy cycling, she thought, what better way to raise money then a "FUNdraiser" for this worthy cause.We thank Yaela, Steve, Jodi, Jonah and Seth for their support and enthusiasm! Good luck in Israel, Yaela!


Davka (Precisely...) Now - Travel to Israel with FIDF

NOVEMBER 14 - 21 - FIDF National Mission to Israel 

Experience life through the eyes of an IDF soldier.


Click here to view the mission itinerary and application!

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