NEW YORK – Not a white shoe nor a white belt buckle was in sight at the New York
Real Estate Division of Friends of the IDF’s second annual golf tournament at
Glen Oaks Country Club in Old Westbury, New York, on Monday evening.
Labor Day having fallen a week earlier, and with this being a country club
crowd, it would have hardly been appropriate to wear white.
well-tailored suits, colorful and patterned golf attire and slick Mitt
Romneystyle haircuts adorned the mostly male attendees.
The New York Real
Estate Division, one of the younger branches of the FIDF, managed to draw 160
golfers and 200 dinner guests to the tournament, which lasted all day on the
perfectly manicured and sunny golf green out on Long Island. The evening
culminated with a live auction of luxury items, such as a swimming lesson with
Ryan Lochte (yes, that Ryan Lochte – the 11-time Olympic medalist), which sold
for $1,200, an evening with Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera ($2,000) and two day
passes to the Masters golf championship in April ($5,000).
In total, this
year’s event raised $270,000 for the FIDF; last year it raised
Major-general (res.) Yitzhak “Jerry” Gershon, CEO and national
director of the FIDF, called the gathered real estate professionals a “special
community,” which “understand[ s] the challenges facing the free world.” He
observed, in apparent amazement, the large number of people who had chosen to
spend their time at a country club with the FIDF on an evening when they could
have been watching the final round of the US open tennis tournament.
FIDF is a bridge between Jews and non-Jews who believe in Israel,” Gershon
Indeed, there was barely a yarmulke to be seen at the after-golf
reception, and a large portion of the evening’s attendees, including a group of
real estate moguls from Dallas, Texas, were not Jewish.
significant yarmulke was worn by a young IDF corporal, in uniform, named Max,
originally from Great Neck, Long Island. Max said he was raised in a very
Zionist household and that it first occurred to him at age 13 to join the
Israeli army. He serves with the Golani Brigade and has just completed the
“This is my second time back home since joining,” he
He was able to take this trip, he said, thanks to the
Other uniformed individuals who attended included Sharon Malka, who
had just finished her service and received an academic scholarship from the
FIDF, and Danielle Dori, a current lieutenant who gave a small speech thanking
the FIDF for donating a synagogue and a sports gymnasium to her base near
Gershon and Ofer Yardeni, chairman of the Real Estate Division,
delivered emotional speeches; both, at times, were on the verge of tears, saying
how much the IDF means to them and expressing appreciation for the support given
Each of those present was there “because you believe that
the state and the soldiers of Israel are important,” Yardeni said. “As much as
the soldiers are doing work there, we support them here.”