Friends of the Israel Defense Forces

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Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF)
Hebrew: ארגון ידידי צה״ל בארה״ב
Friends of the IDF Logo, 2014.jpg
Motto Their job is to look after Israel. Ours is to look after them.
Founded 1981 (1981)
Type Nonprofit organization
Location
Mission To provide for the education and wellbeing of the soldiers of the IDF
Website www.fidf.org

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) (in Hebrew ארגון ידידי צה״ל בארה״ב) is an organization established in 1981 dedicated to the wellbeing of the men and women serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), wounded veterans, and the families of fallen soldiers. Headquartered in New York City, FIDF is a 501©(3) not-for-profit organization that operates 15 regional offices in the United States and Panama. FIDF initiates and supports educational, social, cultural and recreational programs and facilities in an effort to ease the burden that IDF soldiers and their families carry on behalf of the Jewish community worldwide.

Current Programs[edit]

FIDF sponsors an array of programs and construction projects to improve the wellbeing of IDF soldiers both in their day-to-day routine and after their military service.

IMPACT! Scholarship Program[edit]

The IMPACT! Scholarship Program grants full academic scholarships to former combat soldiers who come from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The students receive full tuition towards an academic degree and give back to their communities with an annual 130 community service hours. IMPACT! students have completed more than 3 million hours since 2002, making it the number one program in providing community service in Israel.[1]

Education & Culture[edit]

FIDF initiates and supports various educational programs designed to broaden the soldiers' horizons, further strengthening their Jewish, Zionistic, and Israeli identity. These programs include:

  • Identity and Purpose Programs acknowledge that IDF soldiers confront questions of identity, purpose, and ethics on a regular basis. The IDF Education Corps and Beit Morasha, a Jerusalem-based leadership training center that specializes in Jewish studies, have developed three courses for soldiers and commanders that focus on Jewish values and identity. Since its founding in 2002, Identity and Purpose has reached over 150,000 commanders and soldiers.[2]
  • Israeli Journey takes IDF soldiers on a journey throughout Israel and seeks to help soldiers better understand what they are serving to protect. At the same time, the program strengthens the sense of community within units and contributes to the individual’s personal development. In 2013, 3,320 soldiers enjoyed an educational journey throughout Israel and participated in workshops focusing on Jewish identity.[3]
  • Amir Course seeks to better integrate Ethiopian-Israeli enlistees into the army and enable them to access more challenging and influential positions in the IDF. In 2013, FIDF supported approximately 750 soldiers from the Ethiopian community.[4]
  • Eitan Program supplies teenagers from difficult backgrounds with tools to have a full and meaningful service and provides them with a vocation as a mode of succeeding in life thereafter. At the end of their service, the soldiers may choose out of three professional courses funded by FIDF and offered by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry. They are then placed in a course according to availability and their own abilities. Upon completing technical and vocational training, the soldiers receive an official trade diploma, recognized by and given on behalf of the Ministry. In 2013, 110 soldiers participated in the Eitan Program and helped open doors for their future.[5]
  • Formal Education seeks to increase opportunities for soldiers to complete 12 years of formal education and receive a high school completion certificate by the end of their military service, enabling them to finish their military service with a greater chance of success in civilian life. Most civilian jobs and educational institutions in Israel require at least a high school completion certificate, making the Formal Education Program integral in giving a large number of soldiers the opportunity to finish their service on a more even footing with their peers. In 2013, 705 soldiers completed 12 years of formal education thanks to FIDF.[6]

Wellbeing & Recuperation[edit]

FIDF works to provide for the wellbeing of the IDF's combat soldiers through a variety of programs. The Adopt a Brigade Program allows FIDF communities to create an extraordinary bond with IDF combat soldiers by supporting the wellbeing of a specific combat brigade. Brigades currently sponsored through this program include:

The Adopt a Battalion Program also supports approximately 50 combat battalions a year. Funds are used for fun/sports days, events celebrating outstanding soldiers, celebrations of Jewish holidays, and general recreation needs. FIDF's SPIRIT Program gives active duty combat soldiers a much-needed break from their daily responsibilities and duties by providing each combat unit with a week of recuperation and fun. In 2013, 13,000 combat soldiers enjoyed weeks of rest and recuperation through FIDF’s SPIRIT Program. [8] The DIGNITY Program aims to assist the soldiers who serve on the front lines proudly, while privately they are struggling financially, worrying for their families who often count on them as providers. Critical aid provided through this program includes basic appliances and furniture, food vouchers, special grants, and holiday gift coupons that help the soldiers through difficult economic times. In 2013, FIDF provided over 8,000 soldiers in-need with necessities such as furniture and appliances, Special Aid, Chanukah Friendship Vouchers and Food Vouchers.[9]

Lone Soldiers[edit]

FIDF's Lone Soldiers Program supports soldiers who chose to leave behind their homes and families in their countries of origin to serve the State of Israel. The program provides financial assistance, flights to visit family in their countries of origin, academic scholarships, adoptive families, a 24/7 call center, Shabbat and holiday meals, social programming, grants and a Lone Soldiers Center, and guidance. In 2013, FIDF helped over 2,500 soldiers during their service in the IDF. FIDF has completed building two Lone Soldiers homes in Israel and is currently in the process of building a third. [10]

Bereaved Families[edit]

The LEGACY Program supports thousands of bereaved family members – providing them with opportunities to connect with peers who have also suffered this terrible loss and helping them celebrate holidays and life-cycle events. Support includes wedding gifts, bereaved sibling workshops, Rosh Hashanah gifts, relaxing vacations, and Bar/Bat Mitzvah summer camps in the US. In 2013, FIDF brought 78 Bar/Bat Mitzvah children on a trip to the U.S., presented Rosh Hashana gifts to 5,200 widows, hosted about 750 widows at R&R centers in Israel and funded workshops for 300 bereaved siblings.[11]

Wounded Veterans[edit]

FIDF's Wounded Veterans Programs aim to fulfill the wellbeing needs and provide recreational activities for veterans suffering from a severe wound, injury, or trauma. The STRIDES Program helps IDF wounded veterans discover their strength by providing special prosthetics for athletic activities, giving them the means to live life without limitation. The program also brings together a group of wounded veterans who, with the help of their new prosthetics, partake in running, bike riding and other challenging activities together. In 2013, FIDF sponsored the cost of sports prosthetics and athletic training for 9 IDF amputees. [12]

Construction Projects[edit]

FIDF's builds, refurbishes, and maintains recreation and sports centers, cultural and educational facilities, synagogues, memorial rooms, auditoriums, and “soldiers’ homes” for soldiers throughout Israel. These facilities, ranging from individual structures to grand wellbeing complexes, create an environment in which soldiers can relax, stay in shape, read a book or watch a movie, commemorate and celebrate special days, and enjoy the company of fellow soldiers. In 2013, 14 wellbeing facilities and infirmaries were constructed by FIDF, 11 additional projects have been under construction, and 9 more are being designed. [13]

In 2013, a new home for Lone Soldiers in Israel was opened in Ramat Gan with a special ceremony marking the completion of the $5 million project launched by FIDF and headed by Elias and Lila Kalimian and family of Great Neck, N.Y.[14]

Missions to Israel[edit]

FIDF organizes several yearly missions to Israel in which delegates interact directly with the beneficiaries of FIDF's support and meet with high-level Israeli government representatives.

  • FIDF National Leadership Mission to Israel takes place annually in November. In 2014, this delegation included 160 delegates with VIP events such as meetings with Israel’s newly elected President, Reuven Rivlin, and the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Benny Gantz, as well as a briefing by Israel’s senior official on Arab Affairs, Avi Melamed. [15]
  • FIDF Delegation to Poland and Israel: From Holocaust to Independence takes place annually in April. The delegates begin the trip in Poland with visits to sites such as the Auschwitz-Birkenau camps and then fly to Israel on an Israeli Air Force plane. The Israel portion of the trip includes meetings with Israel's leaders and ceremonies commemorating Israel's Memorial Day and Independence Day.[16]
  • FIDF National Young Leadership Mission to Israel takes place annually in the summer. The 11 day trip traces the path of an IDF soldier from his/her first day at the military induction center (Bakum) to the daily routine of different soldiers' positions at training bases around the country and unit posts on the borders.

Mitzvah Projects[edit]

FIDF's Mitzvah Projects allow Bar and Bat Mitzvah children to contribute to Israeli soldiers by supporting the FIDF program of their choice through making phone calls, starting an online campaign, sending emails, or hosting events. [17]

Planned Giving[edit]

FIDF's Planned Giving allows donors to realize their philanthropic goals while simultaneously securing their financial future and the future welfare of Israel’s soldiers. Planned giving options include gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, bequests, endowments and other planned gifts. [18]

Organization[edit]

In addition to its national headquarters in New York and its office in Israel, FIDF’s 15 chapters and regions include the following:

  • Tri-State Region
  • Western Region
  • Midwest Region
  • Greater Miami
  • Palm Beach/Broward
  • Michigan
  • New England
  • Ohio
  • Southeast Region
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Baltimore
  • Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey
  • Texas
  • Panama
  • Las Vegas

Fundraising[edit]

FIDF collects tax-deductible donations through a variety of fundraising efforts, including community events, online activity, concerts, missions to Israel, and small-scale parlor meetings. Many high-level Israeli and American officials and cultural icons have spoken and participated at FIDF's gala dinners, including:

IDF soldiers and commanders as well as wounded veterans bereaved family members of fallen soldiers also take part in FIDF events.

In the fall of 2014, FIDF's Western Region raised a record of more than $33 million in Beverly Hills, Calif. Other recent FIDF galas took place in Chicago ($2 million raised); Long Island, N.Y. ($1.4 million raised); Michigan ($1 million raised); Boston ($800,000 raised at the gala and $4.1 million raised by the region this year); northern New Jersey ($600,000 raised at the gala and $3 million raised by the region this year); Philadelphia; Ohio; San Francisco; San Diego; Baltimore; and Scarsdale, N.Y. [43]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.fidf.org/document.doc?id=11 (Accessed 2014-11-10)
  2. ^ http://www.fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=273 (Accessed 2014-11-20)
  3. ^ http://www.fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=274 (Accessed 2014-11-20)
  4. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=275 (Accessed 2014-11-20)
  5. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=557 (Accessed 2014-11-20)
  6. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=741 (Accessed 2014-11-20)
  7. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=279
  8. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=278
  9. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=277
  10. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=282
  11. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=283
  12. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=288
  13. ^ http://fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=281
  14. ^ http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/american-friends-of-idf-open-up-new-home-for-lone-soldiers/2013/04/22/
  15. ^ https://fidf.org/160-fidf-leaders-will-visit-israel
  16. ^ https://www.fidf.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=1011
  17. ^ http://www.fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=291
  18. ^ http://www.fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=489
  19. ^ https://www.fidf.org/Benny-Gantz-thanks-FIDF-supporters
  20. ^ http://www.fidf.org/NYGalaDinner
  21. ^ http://www.fidf.org/NYGalaDinner
  22. ^ http://michiganavemag.com/galleries/fidf-annual-dinner-at-the-hilton-chicago
  23. ^ http://www.fidf.org/page.aspx?pid=372
  24. ^ https://fidf.org/160-fidf-leaders-will-visit-israel
  25. ^ Clemmie Moodie (Nov 14, 2013). "Simon Cowell donates £100,000 to Israeli soldiers to please pregnant girlfriend Lauren Silverman". Retrieved 23 July 2014. 
  26. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  27. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  28. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  29. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  30. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  31. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  33. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  34. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  35. ^ Ryan Torok. "Moving and shaking: FIDF Gala, Texas Hold’em Poker Classic, Our House and more". JewishJournal.com. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  36. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  37. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  38. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  39. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  40. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  41. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  42. ^ Tina Daunt. "Haim Saban Raises $34M to Support Israeli Defense Forces". HollywoodReporter.com. Retrieved 20 November 2014. 
  43. ^ http://www.jns.org/news-briefs/2014/11/13/amid-instability-in-israel-fidf-galas-across-us-raise-funds-for-soldiers-wellbeing#.VHYdfzHF9v5=

References[edit]