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December 8, 2016 5:06 am

‘Jewish Oscars’ Raises Over $500,000 for Special IDF Brigade

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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More than 1,500 young professionals attended the FIDF YL-NY 14th Annual Gala. Photo: Nuri Daynish.

More than 1,500 young professionals attended the FIDF YL-NY 14th Annual Gala. Photo: Nuri Daynish.

Over $500,000 was raised to support Israel’s military at a glamorous New York City charity event on Saturday night.

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Young Leadership division said the funds will support the IDF’s Iron Trails Brigade, which specializes in tank units that lead ground forces into battle. More than 1,500 young professionals attended the sold-out event, dubbed the “Jewish Oscars” by The New York Observer in 2006 for its tendency to be an over-the-top affair.

“It was definitely a lot of fun,” said Charlene Yomtobian, 25. “It was a great crowd; everyone was very enthusiastic; and they were clearly there for the right reasons.”

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This year’s Havana nights-themed 14th annual gala was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion and featured an expansive buffet with gourmet foods inspired by classic Cuban dishes, an open bar, live music and casino-style games. There was also a raffle that offered more than $150,000 in luxury prizes, including spa and vacation getaways, upscale pieces of jewelry and artwork.

Yomtobian praised the FIDF as “incredible” for providing “so much financial and emotional support” to Israel’s soldiers, adding that she intends to go to more of the organization’s events in the future.

FIDF National Young Leadership Director Bari Lovi said the gala is the biggest event of the year for the non-profit’s Young Leadership division, and Saturday night’s gathering was “a truly spectacular evening.”

Lovi added, “We saw countless new faces in the crowd…I was so proud to see all these dedicated young leaders embracing their roles as advocates for the well-being of Israeli soldiers.”

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