Security was very tight on Saturday night at the Metropolitan Pavilion, where the annual Friends of the Israel Defense Forces gala was being held. Inside, some 1,600 guests in black-tie attire played casino games, ate sushi, bid on auction items and listened to the musical styling of Matisyahu—the 28-year-old American reggae artist, who works his devout Jewish faith into much of his work.
Jeremy Shure, an attorney at Akerman Senterfitt, co-chaired the event with Jane Oster. “It’s big night for us because it’s a big, actual rock concert that we’re putting on here,” Mr. Shure told us, pointing to a stage that had been set up at one end of the massive room. “We wanted someone who we thought carried the message of the organization. [Matisyahu] was excited to be apart of it and we were excited to have him.”
Now in its fifth year, the event continues to draw major support from donors. At this year’s benefit alone, Mr. Shure said F.I.D.F. expected to pull in over $500,000. “The more people learn about our organization, the more they seem to open their wallets, open their hearts,” he said. Though he did not want to address any specific political issues, Mr. Shure would say that the organization’s cause is as important now as ever. “Everyday, Israel is in a precarious situation. It’s very easy to forget; when we go to work on Monday morning or when we’re sleeping, there’s someone standing guard at a post.”
Other guests at the event included: Jason Binn, Bruce Wilpon, Shena Falic, Eugene Remm, Gabriel Erem, Ari Ackerman and Jason and Jeff Hirsch.