Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter

FIDF initiates and helps support social, educational, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the young men and women soldiers of Israel who defend the Jewish homeland. FIDF also provides support for the families of fallen soldiers.

The Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter of Friends of the IDF was recently founded in February, 2011. It is comprised of Pennsylvania, plus 3 counties in New Jersey including Gloucester, Burlington and Camden Counties. Although the chapter is new, Philadelphians are no strangers to the wonderful work and support of FIDF. So far this year, our generous supporters have adopted the “Gadsar Golani” Battalion, funded a gym for the Yiftach Brigade of the IDF Northern Gaza Division, refurbished a club in Efraim Regional Brigade, and continue to support IMPACT! students with academic scholarships. We are deeply appreciative of all of our donors who support the wellbeing and educational needs of the brave IDF soldiers.

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Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter | Fort Washington, PA
Direct: 215-383-2890 |


Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter Upcoming Events



 - Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Event Calendar -

PA/Southern New Jersey - PAST EVENTS 

 Pennsylvania/Southern NJ Chapter 7th Annual Gala

Saluting Wounded IDF Soldiers brought more than 800 members of the community together for the FIDF 7th Annual Gala in Philadelphia on October 18th. Keynote Speaker, Ambassador Ron Dermer joined in honoring Captain Gary (Yuri) Tabach and the former Soviet Union Jewish Community. Comedian Joel Chasnoff who served as a lone soldier was the Emcee, and Dr. Zeff Lazinger was the Gala Chair. Guests included community, civic and business leaders, young professionals, high school students and Holocaust survivors. Officers representing the U.S. armed forces joined many IDF soldiers who shared their stories throughout the evening. Click here for photos.


Annual Purim Telethon 2017

On Sunday, February 26, members of the FIDF PA/SNJ Young Leadership volunteered for the FIDF Annual Purim Telethon. The Telethon is an initiative started by the Young Leadership Division four years ago to raise funds to send Mishloach Manot ("gift baskets") to Israeli soldiers serving during Purim. This year, with a combination of phone calls and a prolific text-a-thon, the Young Leaders raised enough money to send Mishloach Manot to over three battalions serving during one of the happiest holidays on the Jewish calendar. This is a record high, as well as a record high with respect to the number of younger donors.


FIDF Exclusive Evening with Michael Solomonov

FIDF Young Leaders spent an intimate evening at Dizengoff with acclaimed Israeli chef and restauranteur Michael Solomonv. They heard Michael speak about his Israeli heritage and how it informs his cooking at renowned restaurants Zahav, Dizengoff, Federal Donuts and Abe Fisher.


FIDF Pennsylvania/Southern NJ Chapter 6th Annual Gala

Saluting Women in the IDF drew nearly 900 members of the community to the FIDF 6th Annual Gala.  FIDF was honored to have Chairpersons Madlyn and Leonard Abramson as we paid tribute to the IDF soldiers.  The Program included FIDF IMPACT Scholarship recipients and IDF soldiers representing the air force, foreign affairs and a classified unit. Holocaust survivor Miriam Caine brought the audience to their feet with an inspirational message. There was a significant showing of the younger generation; among them were students and young professionals from the Chapter's Young Leadership division.  READ MORE


FIDF Honors Cindy Smukler Benhamo, Mother of former lone soldier Shoval Dorani

On October 9th, fifty women gathered at the home of Tracey and Shanin Specter to honor Cindy for her dedication to the brave young soldiers who serve to protect the State of Israel.  Joining the celebration were mom Connie Smukler, daughters Shoval and Liat, and husband Ohad Benhamo.   READ MORE

FIDF PA/South Jersey celebrate Israel's 68th Independence Day

The FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern NJ Chapter celebrated Israel's 68th year of independence on May 12th with more than 400 FIDF supporters at Philadelphia's Congregation Mikveh Israel.  Speakers included Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, U.S. Senator Bob Casey and the mother of a lone soldier, Sarah Schorr.    READ MORE


FIDF Purim Celebration

The FIDF Pennsylvania/Southern NJ Chapter celebrated Purim with a sold out event in downtown Philadelphia.  The Young Leaders of the Chapter hosted a Comedy Night with three comics who provided lots of laughs.  The event helped bring the Young Leaders closer to their goal of adopting a lone soldier by Pesach.

Pictured (l to r), Ilana Refaeli, Lt Commander and Israeli Navy Liaison Officer Eli Frenkin, Emcee Steve Miller, outgoing President of FIDF PA/SNJ Young Leadership Cary Davis, and Young Leadership Board Secretary Melanie Forman


Nearly 1000 supporters gather at Pennsylvania/Southern NJ 5th Annual Gala, October 26, 2015

The evening, which has become one of the community's largest events, featured keynote speaker Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amos Yadlin, a 40-year IDF veteran and Israel's former Chief of Defense Intelligence, and now director of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies.



The Young Leadership Division of the FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Chapter has several goals, one of which is to reach out to students throughout the region to introduce them to FIDF, and strengthen their connection to the state of Israel.


FIDF Pittsburgh community
Major General Meir Klifi-Amir

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.


Jewish High School Lacrosse players
visit Israeli army base

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.


FIDF Young Leaders celebrated
the 8th night of Hannukah

Food, drinks and good times were on tap when FIDF Young Leaders celebrated the 8th night of Hannukah in center city Philadelphia, with members of JNFuture!

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.

FIDF & Congregation Beth El - Ner Tamid,
November 23, 2014 Event

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.

FIDF 4th Annual Gala, November 3, 2014

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.

FIDF & Congregation Beth Or
Tribute to Lone Soldiers from
Greater Philadelphia & Their Families
September 2, 2014

CLICK HERE to see photos from the event.


FOLLOW ME: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

The Israel Committees of Main Line Reform Temple and Beth Hillel/Beth El presented the film, FOLLOW ME: The Yoni Netanyahu Story. Winner of numerous international film festivals and "Best Documentary' at the 2012 L.A. Jewish Film Festival, this film "consists of two story arcs that tragically and heroically connect. The first is the dramatic Entebbe hijack and rescue — 8 days when a nation held its breath and executed a military miracle that redefined the Jewish Nation’s call – “Never Again!” The second is the remarkable life story of Yonatan Netanyahu, a young soldier who struggled to find the balance between his family and the Nation he loved. This film is about Yonatan’s life, and what led these two dramatic story arcs to intersect on that fateful day"

FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Region Executive Director, Tzvia Wexler, Israel Defense Forces Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, WWII Veteran of the 11st Airborne Division, David Wisnia, U.S. Navy Captain (R), Gary (Yuri) Tabach.

FIDF Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Region Young Leadership members with Israel Defense Forces Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benjamin (Benny) Gantz, and Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey Region Executive Director, Tzvia Wexler.

On October 14th, more than 600 guests filled the 'Vie' for FIDF's 2nd Annual Gala honoring Larry Magid, world-renowned entertainment impressario. Keynote Speaker, Tzvipi Livni, joined Co-Chairs Israel Roizman and Gerry Shreiber, along with dignitaries, IDF soldiers, families of lone soldiers and supporters from throughout the region for a spectacular evening.
Also speaking at the Gala was Senator Anthony Williams, who shared a story about his first trip to Israel. Fast forward to 2012 when the Senator introduced Senate Bill 1523. Titled "Holocaust and Genocide Education" it calls for instruction from grades 6 through 12 on the history of Nazi atrocities and an understanding that genocide is a consequence of prejudice and discrimination.

On Sunday December 2nd, the community participated in an Israeli Krav Maga Training in Cherry Hill.  This was a joint fundraiser for FIDF and JCRC (Jewish Community Relations Council) in Cherry Hill.

On November 21, FIDF was invited to the annual Mitzvah Mall at Kellman Brown Academy.  Former Israeli soldier and Kellman alumna, Ariel Grayson, introduced the IDF to preschoolers through 6th graders by telling her personal stories.  Each class participated in a number of activities such as making FIDF tzedakah boxes.  A Chanukah card was made especially for every child who gave a donation that said, "a donation to the FIDF has been made in your honor." The greatest excitement was when students were standing in line taking pictures while wearing berets and other pieces of Israeli army uniforms.  Excitement spread to the teachers when they saw the IDF items and started sharing their experiences while in the Israeli army. For further information about this program for K-6th graders, please contact or 215-383-2890

On October 28, former Lone Soldier David Cohen, and Deputy Israeli Consul General Elad Strohmayer, made a presentation in Elkins Park for Adath Jeshurun Men's Club.


Also on October 28, more than 200 movie-goers attended a screening of the film FOLLOW ME: The Yoni Netanyahu Story, at the Ambler Theatre.  SPECIAL THANKS TO SYNAGOGUE SPONSORS: Adath Jeshurun, Beth Or, Or Hadash, OYRT Beth Am, TBI Blue Bell and Temple Sinai. 



FIDF Pennsylvania & Southern NJ Chapter is proud to share our 2011-2012 achievements with you

Parlor Meeting hosted by Dr. Zeff & Rosa Lazinger in Philadelphia, September 9, 2012 at Kesher Israel

Guests had an opportunity to hear from two soldiers, one of whom is currently an FIDF IMPACT Scholarship recipient and the other gave first hand accounts of what FIDF means to the soldiers. 
Read More

Two Lone Soldiers from Philadelphia area Share their Stories

Evan Saltzman & Arielle Adler, both lone soldiers from the area (Upper Dublin and Langhorne, respectively) shared their stories with the community on August 15th.
Read More

NJ Students Raise Funds for DIGNITY Program

Students from the Politz Day School in Cherry Hill, NJ held a fundraising campaign dedicated to FIDF's DIGNITY Program.  Accompanying the students in the photo is Politz teacher, Limor Auslander.

Support Our Soldiers By Securing Your Future: Israel Soldiers Gift Annuity

The survival and future of our homeland is guaranteed because of the brave men and women of the IDF who stand guard to protect it. With an Israel Soldiers Gift Annuity you have the opportunity to create a better future for them while securing a generous xed rate lifetime income for yourself. Click here to find out more

Philadelphia Chapter attends a Shuk event at Adath Israel

The Philadelphia Chapter of FIDF was thrilled to be a part of an Israeli Shuk that took place at Congregation Adath Israel in Merion, PA on June 3rd. It was a pleasure to meet and speak with everyone, and we thank you so much for your interest and for stopping by our table. What a great day!

National NY Gala Dinner Attendee Mickey Shefet, Shares His Thoughts
on the Evening

26 people from the Pennsylvania & Southern NJ region attended the National Gala on
March 13, 2012.   Mickey Shefet was one of them.  He shares his thoughts from that evening ....
Read More

Friends of Israel Defense Forces Reaches Out to Harrisburg

On Tuesday, January 10, Mickey and Vered Shefet opened up their home in Harrisburg to leaders of FIDF – Friends of Israel Defense Forces and experienced a new ‘Mitzvah’ adventure.  A group of about 30 local distinguished guests attended the event and showed great interest in supporting the FIDF after they learned about its purpose. Read More

Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter Hosts their 1st Annual Gala with 600 Guests

The Philadelphia-based Chapter of the FIDF held its first Annual Gala on Monday November 14, at the Hyatt at The Bellevue in Center City Philadelphia. Honoree and Keynote Speaker was former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. Read More

Adopt a Battalion Program - An Unbreakable Bond

When Daniel Farber, currently of Pittsburgh, PA and former lone soldier in Gadsar Golani Battalion, visited Israel for a business trip, he never dreamed that his business associate would turn out to be a former soldier from the same battalion!  Business was immediately put on hold while the two comrades shared army experiences. Read More

Keynote Speaker Governor Corbett Delivers Address to Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter Grand Opening Event

It was a true privilege to have Governor Corbett as our guest of honor and keynote speaker for the Pennsylvania & Southern New Jersey Chapter’s Grand Opening Event on May 10th.
Read More

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