800 People Attend Gala in Support of FIDF

Attendees at the FIDF gala
From left: Mitch Gold, FIDF national board member; Reut Friedman, FIDF Maryland director; gala co-chair Stacey Verstandig; gala co-chair Steve Verstandig; gala co-chair Steve Wions; gala co-chair Michelle Wions; Baltimore Orioles player Dean Kremer; FIDF CEO Steve Weil; Marty Taylor, FIDF Baltimore chapter chair; Sherry Mauer, FIDF chapter president; and Josh Mauer, FIDF chapter board member (Photo by Israel Orange)

Eight-hundred people gathered to support Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

The 2023 FIDF Annual Maryland Gala Dinner took place at Martin’s West on Nov. 28. The gala was co-chaired by Steve and Stacey Verstandig and Steve and Michelle Wions. In a show of support to the victims, survivors and hostages following the attack on Oct. 7, this year’s gala was called the 2023 FIDF Maryland Solidarity Dinner. FIDF raised $200,000 at the gala.

The evening included a performance by Bar Markovich, an award-winning cross-genre violinist, who played “Jerusalem of Gold” and “Oseh Shalom.”

“The event was an overwhelming success bringing the Baltimore community together in support and solidarity of the epic tragedy of Oct. 7,” said Sherry Mauer, president of FIDF’s Baltimore chapter. “It was also a beacon of hope and coming together for the service and sacrifice of the courageous members of the IDF and the future of Israel.”

Those words were echoed by Marty Taylor, chair of FIDF’s Baltimore chapter, who shared that he felt inspired by the support of so many, particularly at this difficult time.

“The solidarity of our community; the love of Israel; the caring for each other and the hard work and determination of our board and especially our President Sherry Mauer, our co-chairs Stacy and Steve Verstanding, Michelle and Steve Wions, our Director Reut Friedman and Matthew Markel who kept it all moving, made me unbelievably proud to be involved with FIDF,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that what the gala accomplished — to provide support to the soldiers defending Israel — was felt and seen in the funds raised by the gala, all of which will go to support the work of FIDF.

Projects and activities supported by FIDF’s Baltimore chapter include support for the adopted Kedem Search and Rescue battalion, which provides assistance to civilians during emergencies and disasters as well as to communities around the world affected by natural disasters and other emergency situations, through an annual Game Night; Legacy Camp, which brings in children from bereaved families to celebrate their b’nai mitzvah; and an annual event in support of the IMPACT! Scholarship Program.

”We are so proud of our Baltimore area community for their incredible support for the FIDF solidarity event this year,” Steve Verstandig said. “The event was amazing, but the dollar amount raised for the FIDF is just outstanding. To know we were able to host an event that raises money for Israel and her soldiers in a time of crisis was incredibly rewarding. We all need to do our part to assist Israel as she fights for her survival.”

FIDF is headquartered in New York City and operates 20 regional offices in the U.S. and Panama.

FIDF Maryland was founded in 2008 as a part of the larger FIDF organization, which was founded in 1981 by Holocaust survivors for the purpose of providing humanitarian aid to the soldiers of the IDF, Taylor said.

Since Oct. 7, FIDF — at the national level — has sent more than $54 million in humanitarian aid to benefit the soldiers of the IDF.

“We continue to raise funds as our soldiers continue to need support,” Taylor said.

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