AN EVENING WITH FRIENDS AND FIREARMS
Stepping into the shooting range, I’m a little nervous. I have on “eyes and ears” – plastic goggles and heavy earmuffs – and 10 bullets in my pocket. I loaded up the .22-caliber pistol, took aim at the target and fired off 10 consecutive shots.
It was exhilarating, and I felt empowered with the ability to protect
In fact, the Friends of the Israel Defense Force Women’s Brigade event at the Sandy Springs Shooting Range served two purposes: to support the FIDF Lone Soldier’s Program and bring together Jewish women for a night of shooting and conversation. The guest of honor for the night was Adi Halfon, a former Israel Defense Force combat soldier, who shared her inspirational story.
The event was coordinated by Ginny Adams, Development Associate of FIDF Atlanta region, and cosponsored by Rachel Simon – who developed a love for shooting from her dad and is now married to an Israeli soldier – and Gabby Markowitz, creator of ArmedCandy, a website and product brand that uses social media to educate women about guns.
Halfon started the night by talking about her experience in the army
and how FIDF has influenced her life. The IDF is known for their superior military force and ability to defend its nation, but the funds spent on keeping the military strong lead to less available resources for the soldiers themselves.
That’s where the FIDF comes in; they strive to provide the soldiers
with what the state cannot, such as family support, better quality of life at military bases, scholarships and other social needs. One of these programs is IMPACT!, a scholarship program for disadvantaged soldiers who otherwise would not go to college.
Halfon is one of these scholars and was able to attend college and continue to create a better life for her family because of this opportunity. She spent the week leading up to this event traveling
and speaking to various groups.
Simon followed by sharing her story and interest in guns as well as her support of Israel, all of which was a factor in her support of the Women’s Brigade event. Next, Markowitz – also a range safety officer at the Range – spoke about her company ArmedCandy and her mission to help women not fear guns, instill strength and educate themn gun safety.
Finally, before the ladies stepped into the shooting stalls, Adams spoke passionately about the FIDF and the great things they can do for the soldiers.
“Their job is to look after Israel,” she said. “Our job is to look after them.”
Besides IMPACT!, the FIDF also runs the Legacy Program, which supports family members of fallen soldiers as they rebuild their lives; and a Lone Soldiers Program that helps soldiers who are not from Israel and
acts as a support system while they are away, helping provide airfare to visit their families.
At the end of the night, I left feeling proud of my shooting skills and invigorated to support Israel and its soldiers. The allure of guns and a communal love of Israel made the event a huge success.
It was great to see women of all ages come out to honor the soldiers while having fun. Adams also added that she hopes to do more events in the future at the shooting range.
By Jessie Miller