NEW CONNECTION TO ISRAEL FOR ATLANTA’S YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

Hundreds turned out for FIDF Atlanta Young Leadership’s LAUNCH!, which raised funds for the FIDF’s programs for lone soldiers.
PHOTOS/courtesy Ginny Adams

On July 12, more than 200 of Atlanta’s Jewish young professionals gathered at Tongue & Groove to check out the Friends of the Israel Defense Force’s LAUNCH!, the first Young Leadership event honoring the soldiers who protect Israel’s borders every day.

Nofar Avigal, an Atlantan and former Lone Soldier, expressed her gratitude as she shared remarks about her service and the experience she had being so far from her family.

“It means so much to the soldiers, and to me, that people like you think to love us,” Avigal told the audience.

Brad Oppenheimer, the FIDF Atlanta Region’s Young Leadership chair, expressed why this cause is a priority for him.

“These people, who are younger than most of us in the room, are dedicating their time to the military while most of us at that age were enjoying college and starting new careers,” he said. “We need to show our support; we can’t take them for granted.”

Attendees could buy raffle tickets for a chance to win Matisyahu tickets or a cash prize. At the end of the night, lucky participant Julie Bitton donated her cash prize back to FIDF; her generosity made it possible for this chapter to fly a Lone Soldier home to visit family.

The FIDF Lone Soldiers program is especially relevant to Atlantans, as almost a dozen families in our area have loved ones currently serving in Israel’s armed forces. Lone soldiers have challenges that are unique: They don’t get to see their American friends or families on weekends or for holidays like other soldiers, and the financial and emotional struggles are distinct.

With its Flights for Lone Soldiers Program, FIDF enables lone combat soldiers to travel back to their homes to visit loved ones. Between enabling one more individual to do so with Bitton’s donation, the terrific crowd and the great time had by all, LAUNCH! was a huge success.

“Engaging young people in the Atlanta community is so important because they are our future leaders,” Caryn Liss, FIDF Atlanta executive director, said. “We are working hard on programming for our Young Leadership Campaign and feel so grateful to have had such an amazing turnout at our LAUNCH! event.”

Editor’s note: Ginny Adams is FIDF Atlanta’s development associate.

By Ginny Adams
AJT Contributor