San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Extending from the wine country in the north down to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula in the south, the San Francisco Bay Area region is home to a large, diverse Jewish community. Since the establishment of the FIDF region in 2008, the community’s ties to Israel and its support of the IDF soldiers have been rapidly growing.

With a reenergized board, professional staff and new office in downtown San Francisco, the region has high expectations and goals. The region’s first annual gala was held in December, 2012 and attracted hundreds of supporters. Innovative programming ideas include a family mission to Israel which connects teenagers and their parents with Israel’s soldiers, the Lone Soldier Family Network which forges bonds among families who live in the Bay Area and have a son or daughter serving in the IDF, and a burgeoning high-tech program which reinforces the connections between technological advances in the IDF and Silicon Valley.

If you are interested in learning more or coming to our events, please contact our office.


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 San Francisco Bay Area Chapter | San Francisco, CA | 415-547-8360 |

San Francisco Chapter Upcoming Events

- San Francisco Event Calendar -

Articles & Past Events

East Bay Jewish Community Leaders Visit IDF Base for Troubled Youth

On April 26, a group of Jewish community leaders from the East Bay visited the IDF base, Havat Hashomer. Havat HaShomer recruits disadvantaged youth from troubled backgrounds and provides them with extra training, coaching and remedial education so they can succeed in the army and contribute to Israeli society. The visitors learned how FIDF support is funding these educational efforts which provide opportunities for people from all backgrounds.

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Israeli Paralympic gold medalist and wounded vet feted in Los Altos Hills

On March 11, 75 FIDF supporters cheered, applauded and hugged Noam Gershony after he told the Los Altos Hills crowd of his journey from suffering a debilitating crash as an Air Force Pilot to winning the Paralympic gold medal in wheelchair tennis. Today, he travels the world, sharing his triumphs with messages of encouragement, perseverance, and commitment, and serves as an inspiration to people everywhere.

At the event, Gershony thanked the FIDF donors whose support helped with his rehabilitation and recovery.

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San Francisco Gala Dinner

View pictures from the San Francisco 2014 FIDF Gala Dinner which had a sold out room of almost 450 supporters. Guests heard moving testimonials from the girlfriend of a fallen IDF “Lone Soldier”, an IMPACT! student specializing in anti-guerrilla warfare and a wounded veteran who returned to service in the Special Operations Engineering Unit, defusing bombs, landmines and other explosives. Three Lone Soldier moms were also honored at the event.  Please watch the Lone Soldier video followed by the mothers reactions and moving comments.

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Fallen Soldier's Girlfriends Speaks at SF Gala Dinner

The 20-year-old girlfriend of an Israeli soldier from the United States who was killed in battle last summer gave an emotional speech at a Friends of the Israel Defense Forces event last week in San Francisco.

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FIDF Gathers at Temple Emanu-El

On Tuesday, August 19, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gathered at Temple Emanu-El to raise funds for the IDF's wounded soldiers returning from Gaza. Keynote speaker Izzy Ezagui, a soldier who lost his arm in combat during Operation Cast Lead, explained how the support will help other wounded rehabilitate. Learn how you can support Israel's soldiers at

Consul General David Briefs FIDF

Israel’s Consul General Dr. Andy David briefed San Francisco Bay Area FIDF supporters on current developments in the search for the kidnapped teens in Israel and global events impacting the country in a conference call on June 27. Dr. David said how the abduction resulted from the unification of the Palestinian Authority and Hamas and that Hamas was directly responsible for the kidnapping. He cited references from a Hamas-published Kidnapper’s Handbook, a 200-page book that encourages and instructs its readers to abduct Israeli citizens. Dr. David asked FIDF members to demonstrate their support for the captured youth and their families through public displays and social media vehicles and applauded the FIDF for its ongoing support of Israel’s young soldiers.

Wounded Soldier Event

San Francisco Bay Area Region leaders of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gathered on June 8 to hear the testimony of wounded soldier Roy Grilak. Roy sustained major injuries in the Second Lebanon War and now helps FIDF raise funds for the rehabilitation of other wounded soldiers. The FIDF San Francisco Bay Area Region has made it a priority to raise money to support these efforts.

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Russian-African soldier finds herself in Israel

Eliza Okoulatsongo has experienced more upheaval in her 24 years than most people suffer in a lifetime.
Born to a Russian mother and a Congolese father, she fled a bloody civil war with her family in the ’90s and was shuffled through U.N. displacement camps before making aliyah with her mother and grandmother at age 9.
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Tal, A Lone Soldier from San Francisco wrote a letter to the community

My heart was pounding against my uniform. Brushing my nervousness aside, I jumped from the plane into the open sky and readied myself to pull the ripcord on my parachute. I was a long way from my Northern California home.
Continue Reading Tal's Letter

150 members of the Middle East Information Council (MEICOR) of Rossmoor were treated to a talk with former IDF combat soldiers Nuriya Neuman and Tal Peretz on January 12.

Both soldiers, who are now pursuing their college degrees in the Bay Area, shared with the attendees their motives for servicing and their appreciation for the support they received from FIDF. MEICOR’s mission is to present positive factual information about the Jewish state for Rossmoor, a senior adult community in Walnut Creek.

Lone Soldier promotes diversity/personal development

Bay Area Lone Soldier Inbar Eliav who is serving in the IDF without any immediate family in the country was back in Northern California during December for a brief visit and while here was the featured speaker at dinner hosted by the Queen’s Club in Alameda.

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Local East Bay former Lone Soldier Ilan Benjamin is as eloquent as he is brave.

On Thursday, December 12, 2013, he read from his personal collection of short stories about serving his adopted country of Israel in the harsh conditions that he faced during a winter of guard duty on Mount Dov. Benjamin was the featured speaker at Under One Tent: Contra Costa Jewish Book and Arts Festival in Walnut Creek. The event was co-sponsored by Friends of the IDF. In the face of these extremities, Benjamin’s rays of humanity and camaraderie that he shared with his audience were refreshing and invigorating.

San Francisco 2013 Gala

Watch a highlight from the gala dinner of Impact student Victoria Shlomo who shows her appreciation to her sponsors at the 2013 San Francisco Gala Dinner. Read about guest speaker, Lieutenant Anastasia Bagdalov whose skills and bravery saved the lives of many passengers on a bus during a terrorist attack.

San Francisco Mission to Israel - 2013

The Family Mission to Israel was a chance for families with young adult children connect with Israel's young soldiers. They visited a base in the West Bank, learned about Israel's latest technological advances from pilots at Israeli Air Force Base, and met with residents of a community targeted by Gaza rockets.

Military Service for the Ultra-Orthodox

On May 31, Friends of the IDF San Francisco Bay Area met with Yisroel Hofrichter, a leader in the effort to integrate the ultra-orthodox into military service. Mr. Hofrichter is the director of Joint Distribution Committee's “New Dawn” program that provides a religiously and culturally appropriate way for the ultra-orthodox of Israel to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

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San Francisco Parents of Soldiers Serving in Israel Create Unbreakable Network

San Francisco, CA, May 22, 2013 – A new network for parents who live in the Bay Area and have sons or daughters serving as soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officially launched yesterday, Wednesday, May 22. An inaugural gathering was held by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) at a private home in Atherton.

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Coming together over high anxiety: New local support group to unite parents of soldiers in Israel

First thing each morning, Kory Zipperstein checks the news to make sure all is calm in the Middle East. After all, his son, Caleb, serves with the Israel Defense Forces. If hostilities were to break out, Caleb could find himself on the front lines.

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Vallejo Jewish temple holds study, movie screening in celebration

Jonathan Bernstein, executive director of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, talks at Congregation B'nai Israel in Vallejo.Read More

Ricki Alon, Silicon Valley businesswoman, nominated to serve on the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National Board

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) nominated Silicon Valley resident and businesswoman, Ricki Alon, who is the Chairperson of the local FIDF San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, to serve on its National Board.Read More

San Francisco 2012 Gala Dinner

Watch highlights from FIDF San Francisco Region’s Gala 2012 dinner. Included in the video are Ilan Benjamin, cousin of Daniel Pearl; Miriam Peretz, mother of two fallen IDF soldiers. Watch the video

San Francisco Bay Area Chapter Hosts IDF Musical Ensemble

This past Israeli Independence Day, the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces was fortunate enough to host the IDF Musical Ensemble. The talented group of soldiers, along with Alona, an IMPACT! scholarship student, performed and spoke at a variety of venues from synagogues to Jewish day schools throughout the Bay Area. Read More

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• Go on a mission to Israel.  Our chapter and others provide a special experience on your visit.

San Francisco Bay Chapter Board of Directors

Ricki Alon - Chairman Neal Newman
Robert Hudson – Chair Emeritus Amnon Rodan
Lisa Cohen Karen Sager
Mabel Delgado Sharam Sasson
Douglas Fish Bob Zeidman
Francine Gani Ofer Zur
Jonathan Bernstein - Executive Director  


"The story of Israel’s Economic Miracle” as described in “Start Up Nation” by Dan Senor could not have happened without the important role of the IDF."

“Battlefield Entrepreneurs” The culture of leadership, risk management, innovations and team work is being taught and practiced from age 18 at the IDF. The role of the IDF provides inspiring insights into what’s behind Israel’s dynamic economy.
This is above and beyond the fundamental role of the military defense forces."

- Ricki Alon, San Francisco Bay Area Chairperson

"Without the IDF there would be no Israel!"

- Lisa Cohen, Board Member

"Israel is in very real terms on the front lines of a war against democracy and liberty by a fanatical and determined enemy. It is the men and women of the IDF who bravely protect Israel and by proxy the United States against the same forces that oppose our freedoms and way of life. It is our responsibility as both friends and allies of Israel to support her and the IDF against a ruthless foe bent on eliminating Israel and her people. Through its many programs directly impacting the lives of soldiers and their families, the FIDF provides the perfect vehicle to fulfill this responsibility."

- Ross Dargahi, Board Member

"As a former member of the IDF, I witnessed the impact of a contribution, a new basketball court, on the wellbeing of my platoon. It truly is a way for us here to help those that put their lives on the line. Our financial involvement touches lives and makes a difference that you can experience firsthand. That’s a special and very motivating opportunity."

- Amnon Rodan, San Francisco Bay Area Board Member

"I consider myself privileged to have had the State of Israel all my life, others have not been that fortunate. I feel oblige to contribute to Israel’s well being by doing all that I can."

- Sharam Sasson, Board Member

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