Friends of Israel Defense Forces event in Atlantic Beach highlights soldiers and supporters


Cedarhurst resident Sgt. Yehuda, a “Lone Soldier” serving in the Israel Defense Forces, other IDF personnel, Holocaust survivors Judith and Zoltan Lefkovits and their daughter. Malky Spector, and her husband, Jay Spector, will be highlighted at the eighth annual at the Friends of IDF Five Towns and Greater South Shore Community Event.

Roughly 500 people are expected to gather at the Sands of Atlantic Beach on Wednesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. Lawrence resident and renowned criminal litigator Benjamin Branfman will once again emcee the event. Last year’s gala raised $300,000 for the FIDF. A lone solider is one who has no immediate family in Israel.

Along with Yehuda, who serves in the Golani Brigade, Sgt. Sa’ar, a lookout in the IDF Eagle Battalion of the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps; Maj. Y., a company commander in an elite IDF unit; and Maj. Hod, who was a deputy commander of Battalion 101 of the IDF Givati Brigade during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and has joined the IDF Witnesses in Uniform Delegation to Poland, are the featured active-duty soldiers.

The Lefkovits and the Spectors are devoted supporters of the FIDF Spiritual Needs Program, enabling soldiers to carry out their mission of defending Israel, while maintaining a strong and meaningful spiritual life.

Judith’s family was able to save more than 50 lives during the Holocaust, however besides for Judith and her grandfather, the family died in Auschwitz. Zoltan was a survivor of six different camps. The two are avid Zionists and realized their dream of going to Israel in 1966.

The Spectors have been supporters of Israel since their youth. While attending the FIDF National New York gala 10 years ago, they were inspired to bring this support for the men and women of the IDF home to Long Island. They were instrumental in establishing the FIDF South Shore Chapter and the FIDF Five Towns and Greater South Shore annual event and Shabbaton. 

Pninit Cole, the new FIDF Long Island Director, will also attend. Cole joins the FIDF following years of developing new programs for the New Jersey Federation of YMHA and YWHA. Established in 1981 by several Holocaust survivors, the nonprofit FIDF offers cultural, educational, recreational and social programs, and facilities that provide hope, purpose and life-changing support for the soldiers. The FIDF has more than 150,000 supporters and 23 chapters across the United States and Panama.

Others in attendance will be FIDF National Director and CEO Maj. Gen. (Res.) Meir Klifi-Amir; and FIDF Tri-State Executive Director Galit Brichta. The Y-Studs, an all-male A capella group from Yeshiva University, will perform popular and traditional music. The money raised will go to FIDF well-being and educational programs for the soldiers. 

It gets under way at the Sands of Atlantic Beach, at 1395 Beech St., in Atlantic Beach at 7 p.m. with an extensive buffet, then the program and dessert at 8:15 p.m. For more information or to support the FIDF, go to