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Young Leaders Raise a Glass for MDA

On Thursday, November 20, 2014 the AFMDA Young Leadership Board in San Francisco and Israel Wine Tour hosted the event Wine for a Cause at the home of Roger Low. The host committee included Lior Tamir, Nicole Engelhardt, Bennet Engelhardt, and Dylan Tatz.


Wine expert Alon Yitzhaki speaking about the history of wine in Israel.

The intimate event featured an exclusive wine and cheese pairing with world-renowned wine expert Alon Yitzhaki and local artisan cheese purveyor Cowgirl Creamery. The festive evening also included a silent auction showcasing some of Israel’s most exceptional and rare wines. As a special take home gift, each guest received a copy of Wine Route of Israel, a captivating look into Israel’s wineries, wine history, growing regions, and vineyards.


Guests took home a copy of Wine Route of Israel.

At the end of the evening, the 30 attendees raised $6,370. The funds were allocated to an ambulance campaign from the San Francisco area.

Heartbeat Community Shows Some Love at Red Star Ball

The Heartbeat community in Los Angeles came out in full force to support the Western Region’s Second Annual Red Star Ball on October 23rd. With over 200 young professionals in attendance, it was obvious from every table in the room that the future of AFMDA is in good hands. Thanks to host Jay Leno and an electric performance by Paul Anka, the Los Angeles community had a blast.


Host Jay Leno with MDA paramedic Neomi Zvi on stage at the LA Red Star Ball.

Following the event, over 250 people attended the exclusive Red Oasis after party! Hosted by veteran and motivational speaker J.R. Martinez, the after party was truly a night to remember.

From left..

From left, Bikur Cholim Volunteers, J.R. Martinez, Ravit Martinez, Lonny Luxenburg, NextGen Honoree Gina Edwards, AFMDA Western Region Development Coordinator Kaley Zeitouni, and AFMDA Western Region Office Manager Tricia Harris.

Partygoers unwound on Moroccan benches while enjoying the outdoor hookah lounge. Others danced the night away to the beats of DJ Leor accompanied by live Middle Eastern drums and Spotlight Music’s Robby Halperin on Keyboard.

From left, Cantor Rachel Goldman and Josh Krum.

From left, Cantor Rachel Goldman and Josh Krum.

Keeping the beat at the Red Oasis after party.

Keeping the beat at the Red Oasis after party.


Red Oasis also featured the launch of the new Heartbeat community hashtag, #HEARTBEAT4Israel! As guests snapped photos of themselves and posted it to social media sites using the hashtag, the pictures then became the backdrop for the exciting evening, one by one being projected in real time onto the wall. And as the photos added up so did a very generous donation from the Barak Raviv Foundation who agreed to give $5 every time #HEARTBEAT4Israel was used. You can check out the posts for yourself here.

#HEARTBEAT4Israel tagboard.

#HEARTBEAT4Israel tagboard.

In one night the Heartbeat community contributed close to $80,000 to the total $6 million that was raised. It was inspiring to see such support from AFMDA’s next generation.

From left, Boarm Member Tani Light with husband Mel and Elka and Jack Soussana.

From left, Board Member Tani Light with husband Mel and Elka and Jack Soussana.

From left, Limore Shalom and Board Member Leeor Alpern.

From left, Limore Shalom and Board Member Leeor Alpern.










We want to thank everyone who made this event such a success including our incredible host J.R. Martinez, the Barak Raviv Foundation, and our generous vendors: Moroccan Party Rentals, DJ Leor (818.822.5006), Spotlight Music, Passion Cafe & Lounge, and Itay Benda (213.265.1813, salsabenda@gmail.com)

Click here to stay informed about the next Heartbeat events and sign up for our email list!

Young leaders in LA are making a difference

One event featured wine and trivia, the other had sushi and cocktails, but the common denominator was a palpable passion for Magen David Adom and how young Angelenos can help save lives in Israel.

On May 14, Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, hosted Swirl & Sip at the Cask in Los Angeles, bringing together more than 60 people for a night of wine tasting and MDA trivia.

Swirl & Sip

Swirl & Sip

Gina Edwards, board member and member of the Heartbeat committee, shared touching reflections on her connections with MDA. She also emphasized how important it is that the next generation of supporters steps up and supports MDA’s mission.

With delicious food from Ditmas and incredible wines from Dalton Winery in hand, attendees played MDA trivia games. Three winners took home gift baskets and one grand prize winner won a round trip ticket to San Francisco on a private plane courtesy of Surf Air.

From left, Development Executive Adi Hepner, Board members Gina Field Edwards, Touré Roberts, and Treasurer Barak Raviv, Director of International Affairs for Magen David Adom Yoni Yagodovsky, CEO Arnold Gerson, and Regional Director Yossi Mentz.

From left, Development Executive Adi Hepner, Board members Gina Field Edwards, Touré Roberts, and Treasurer Barak Raviv, Director of International Affairs for Magen David Adom Yoni Yagodovsky, CEO Arnold Gerson, and Regional Director Yossi Mentz.

LA’s next Heartbeat event took place on June 19 at the home Barak Raviv, Western region treasurer. Cocktails & Conversation featured freshly made cocktails and sushi and inspiring words from the host, AFMDA CEO Arnold Gerson, and two special guest speakers. Yoni Yagodovsky, MDA’s director of international affairs, shared stories from over 25 years of experience on the ground with MDA. Then Minna Chazanas, a 94-year-old woman with a spirit of gold, lit up the room with her powerful story about why she chose to donate an ambulance. She then challenged everyone to help her fund another.

Be sure to join AFMDA at the July 4th barbeque we’re cosponsoring with the Chai Center. Click here to get tickets! We hope to see you at the next event!

Heartbeat is up and running in the Bay

IMG_9771-webMore than 100 people came out for our first-ever Heartbeat event in the Bay and together we raised over $1,500 for Magen David Adom’s lifesaving work. An amazing start for Heartbeat in San Francisco!

Attendees mingled with board members who shared their passion for MDA. During his short talk, Lior Tamir, founder and CEO of Fractal Sciences and chair of the Heartbeat San Francisco board, explained how every dollar helps since MDA isn’t government-funded.

IMG_9745-webThanks to our sponsors, we were able to raffle off two round trip tickets with Surf Air, a private jet company. The prize went to Cori Johnson, design consultant for Gem Air and founder of One Web for All, a nonprofit that helps businesses and individuals learn more about creating welcoming, inclusive cultures. She was absolutely thrilled since she lives in the Bay Area, but her family is in Los Angeles.

“It was an incredible debut in the San Francisco area,” said Adi Hepner, AFMDA development executive. “Our board is extremely dedicated, attendees are eager to get more involved, and we’re all very excited about bringing even more awareness and support of MDA to the Bay.”

North or South, we have California covered

Save the date for two amazing events coming up in California, one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles.

eblast-happy-hour-web-v002-readerBay Area supporters are invited to join Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen Community, at Bergerac for the Be a Hero Happy Hour on May 7. You’ll have the chance to mix and mingle, and to raise a glass to Israel’s unsung heros, the MDA paramedics and disaster relief workers who save lives in Israel and around the the world. Buy your ticket here.

web-wine-tasting-v001Down in Los Angeles, Hearbeat will be meeting at the Cask for Swirl & Sip on May 14, a night of wine tasting and trivia. You’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about MDA, Israel’s emergency medical response agency, and get to know your fellow MDA NextGen supporters as well. Tickets are available here.

Hope to see you there!




Inspiring Shabbat dinner taps into NextGen passion for MDA

CAM00033It wasn’t just the glow of the candles and the aroma of the challah that made AFMDA’s recent Shabbat dinner in Los Angeles so inspiring. It was the energy of the people around the table, members of Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, who are committed to bringing their peers to the cause of saving lives in Israel.

Hosted by board members Dina & Fred Leeds at their home, the dinner featured former MDA overseas volunteers who shared their experiences working on ambulances in Israel. Some attendees left the dinner thinking about volunteering themselves. Others were inspired to continue supporting MDA from the United States. Either way, everyone’s passion for MDA’s life-affirming values was recharged.

For Major Elan Carr, a member of the United States Army Reserve, the dinner reassured him that Israel is in good hands with the next generation.

“I was humbled to be a part of the inspirational evening,” he said, noting that the group was composed of leaders who make it their mission to good for Israel daily. Major Carr recently announced that he is running for Congress to replace Congressman Henry Waxman, who is retiring.

More Heartbeat events are planned for the coming months, so please contact ahepner@afmda.org to get on the mailing list.

Celebrating the “Soul”stice Israeli-style

There was a full house of NextGen Israel supporters!

There was a full house of NextGen Israel supporters!

From left, Fay Inger, Tani Light, Heartbeat board member, and Adi Hepner, AFMDA Development Coordinator.

From left, Fay Inger, Tani Light, Heartbeat board member, and Adi Hepner, AFMDA Development Coordinator.

Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, paired up with Israel Bonds’ New Leadership community to bring together over 150 young professionals at The Wilshire Santa Monica. Together we partied the night away to DJ Aviel Altit and raised over $2,000 to help save lives in Israel.

From left, Boaz Hepner and Barak Raviv.

From left, Boaz Hepner and Barak Raviv.

The dance floor was hopping thanks to DJ Avliel Altit.

The dance floor was hopping thanks to DJ Avliel Altit.

Adi Hepner, of AFMDA, and Sarah Saad, of Israel Bonds, are thrilled that the two organizations are partnering to help Israel. “Whether it’s economically or medically, ultimately both groups are all about supporting Israel and making a difference in the daily lives of Israelis,” Hepner said. “So it’s wonderful to see young people from both organizations coming together to make that happen.”

From left, Brandon Douglas, Danny Lobell, and Sarah Saad, Israel Bonds Representative.

From left, Brandon Douglas, Danny Lobell, and Sarah Saad, Israel Bonds Representative.

Heartbeat’s next event is a Shabbat dinner scheduled for Friday, February 7 at the home of board members Dina and Fred Leeds. This intimate event is filling up fast, so be sure to book your tickets soon.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next event!







Join Heartbeat for the “Soul”stice!

Israel Bonds and Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, are partnering to bring A Winter “Soul”stice to Los Angeles! The party promises to be a fun time for all, and proceeds will support Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency medical response organization. Tickets are just $10 in advance, so click here to get yours today!


NextGen event brings new supporters for MDA’s heroes

Event co-chair Steven Herschenhorn, center, with other NextGen MDA supporters.

Event co-chair Steven Herschenhorn, center, with other NextGen MDA supporters.

NextGen MDA supporters gathered on Dec. 3 at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park, Fl. to enjoy a night out and learn more about MDA’s lifesaving work. This was the first event in Florida for Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community. And there will be more to come!


Join AFMDA at StandWithUs Festival of Lights!

Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, is partnering with StandWithUs for their Festival of Lights After Party on Sunday, December 8! In honor of Thanksgivukkah, we’ve reduced the ticket price for this week only to $25!

Promotion Code: Pumpkin Latkes

Buy tickets at: www.standwithus.com/afterparty2013

festival of lights

Light Up the Night with Heartbeat in Florida

NextGen AFMDA supporters in Florida will be celebrating Chanukah and saving lives on December 3 at the Light Up the Night event. Presented by Heartbeat, AFMDA’s NextGen community, the event will take place at the Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. Admission includes a free drink and sufganiyot, and proceeds go to Magen David Adom. Check out the Facebook event for more information!


A “chilling” night for AFMDA

Getting ready to get scared before entering The Purge.

It was a daring and risky endeavor, but it was worth it to help save lives in Israel. On Halloween, AFMDA’s Los Angeles Heartbeat NextGen group attended the immersive theater experience known as The Purge, where participants enter a dark near-future America and face all the terror-filled moments that come with it.

Billed as “Chill Your Blood,” the event was definitely chilling for all involved, and it also helped raise over $400 for AFMDA’s Virtual Blood Drive, supporting MDA’s blood services in Israel.

As attendees made their way through the haunted house/horror play, they were drawn into the terrifying scenes that greeted them at every corner. Our very own Marcus J Freed, emcee for the NextGen after-party just a few weeks ago, even volunteered to be sacrificed for the greater good of our group.

After surviving the Purge, everyone got to enjoy complementary drinks, dance, and get to know one another better. We even celebrated NextGener Adam Karesky’s birthday. To learn more about upcoming Heartbeat events in LA, contact Adi Bodenstein at abodenstein@afmda.org.

Last chance to “Chill Your Blood” and help Israel’s blood supply!


Time is running out to sign up for Chill Your Blood, an immersive theatrical experience that’s part play and part haunted house. So get your tickets today! All proceeds go to AFMDA’s Virtual Blood Drive, helping to support Israel’s blood services and maintain a safe and adequate blood supply.

Record-breaking night in LA


Guests at the LA Gala Next Gen After-Party.

There were a lot of firsts for AFMDA on October 6. It was the night of the Los Angeles Inaugural Gala, which raised $3.8 million for a new blood center in Israel, the most ever raised at a single AFMDA event.

The organization’s first Next Gen after-party was also held that evening, and it raised over $40,000 for the new blood center. Thirty-five cosponsors joined AFMDA in promoting the event and the cause, including Israel Bonds, the main cosponsor.

“It was so inspiring to see people and organizations from all corners of the Los Angeles Jewish community come out in support of Magen David Adom and the new blood center, ” said Adi Bodenstein, Western Region Development and Next Gen Coordinator.

The party featured DJ Epic12, MC Marcus Freed, and comedians Danny Lobell and Yoav Anatian. Bodenstein planned the event along with Western Region Board President Barak Raviv, Gala Honoree Dina Leeds, Next Gen Honoree Leba Sherman, Sariti Wachtel, David Kupfer, Freida Bindell, Daniella Schwartz, Gina Edwards, and Tani Light.

In September, AFMDA’s Western Region Next Gen group cosponsored JSpace’s and JConnect’s Toast to the New Year as the event’s featured nonprofit. Over 120 Next Gen attendees came together to raise a glass to the new year, mix, mingle, and learn about future Next Gen AFMDA opportunities. The LA Gala after-party was an incredible follow-up to the September event, and another event is planned for the end of October, with more in the works.

“We’re thrilled at the response and interest people have shown so far, and we’re really looking forward to holding more events and creating new partnerships,” Bodenstein said. “And most of all, we’re focused on  educating more people about our mission and inspiring them to get involved.”

Get the scare of your life — and help save lives in Israel.


Join AFMDA Next Generation Western Region at THE PURGE: FEAR THE NIGHT. It’s more than a play and more than a haunted house. It’s a night that lets you explore six floors of mayhem and get drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery and danger of a frightening new America. Inside the historic Variety Arts Theater in Los Angeles you’ll enter an immersive theatrical horror experience set in the near‑future where all crime is legal once a year for twelve hours. For more information, visit www.purgelive.com.

Special discounted tickets are $60 and include one free drink! You can buy tickets here. And best of all, net proceeds will support AFMDA’s Virtual Blood Drive, helping ensure that Israel has a safe and secure blood supply.

If you can’t attend, but still wish to support the Virtual Blood Drive, you can donate here.

Virtual Blood Drive going strong


After the launch party a few months ago, support is still flowing in for the Virtual Blood Drive, spearheaded by AFMDA’s Young Leadership group. Thanks to efforts by young professionals around the country, we’re helping Magen David Adom be better equipped to manage Israel’s blood supply. Whether it’s a grandfather going in for routine surgery or a soldier rushed to the hospital for emergency treatment, almost every blood transfusion in Israel happens thanks to Magen David Adom.

You can donate to the Virtual Blood Drive here. More events are being planned around the country to support this great cause, so sign up for the Young Leadership email list to get more information.

Join us to celebrate Yom HaAtzma’ut!


On Monday, April 15 Join Dor Chadash, AFMDA, and the whole New York Jewish community at the largest Yom HaAtzma’ut celebration outside of Israel! Get tickets here: http://www.jspace.com/independenceday


Join us at the Virtual Blood Drive Launch Party next week

If you’re looking to have fun and support a good cause, look no further than our Virtual Blood Drive Launch Party. On Tuesday, January 29, AFMDA  Young Leadership will gather in New York City to support Magen David Adom’s Blood Services Center, which supplies 100 percent of the Israel Defense Forces’ blood needs and 95 percent of Israeli hospitals’ blood needs.

Every day, Israelis need blood transfusions, whether it’s someone undergoing routine surgery or a victim of a terror attack. The need for blood never stops and it costs $100 to collect, process, test, and store one unit. You can help AFMDA Young Leadership fund 1,000 units of blood by coming to the launch partydonating to the virtual blood drive, or even starting your own campaign. See you there!



The next generation steps up

AFMDA’s Young Leadership group hosted a happy hour on May 15, 2012, raising funds and awareness for the organization’s lifesaving mission. Partygoers mingled with fellow Magen David Adom supporters and heard from an MDA volunteer about his experience in Israel. “It’s very inspiring to see the next generation getting involved,” said Dylan Kurlansky, Young Leadership Coordinator. “Our group has already raised enough funds to dedicate a mezuzah in the Jerusalem Station and we’re ready to start on the next project. More events are planned for later in the year.