More than 1,550 prominent young professionals and supporters of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from across New York raised more than $500,000 for the IDF’s Iron Trails Brigade during the New York Young Leadership (YL-NY) Division’s 12th Annual Gala Saturday night at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.

The Jewish world’s most successful Young Leadership fundraising event, dubbed “the Jewish Oscars” by The New York Observer, featured gourmet food, live music, casino-style games, and offered over $50,000 in luxury prizes, including jewelry, vacation timeshares, trips to Israel, and more.

The Gala is Young Leadership’s largest event of the year and raised funds to benefit the brave men and women of the Iron Trails Brigade, which the young FIDF leaders adopted as part of FIDF’s Adopt a Brigade program.

The Adopt a Brigade Program allows supporters to go beyond their donation and become one with the soldiers they are supporting. Adopt a Brigade focuses on providing financial aid for soldiers and their families, supporting Lone Soldiers, general wellbeing activities, and scholarships. Subordinate to Israel’s Southern Command and part of the Armored Corps, the Iron Trails Brigade tank units courageously lead ground forces into battle and are crucial to the IDF’s effort to protect Israel.

“With the new 2014 Young Leadership Board came a great number of young, fresh faces to our events year-round. This was the first year where we sold out every YL-NY event. We raised more funds for the soldiers than any other year and are on track to fulfill our pledge of $1.5 million, our most daring goal to date,” said FIDF NY Young Leadership President, Lemor Bar-Or. “I could not be any prouder to work with such dedicated, passionate, and philanthropic go-getters who support our Israel and the soldiers who protect it.”

Among the leading participants at the gala were Bar-Or; Gala Co-Chairs, Stefanie Cohen, Jake Dardashtian and Alexandra Faivus; Chairman of the Board, Jane Oster; FIDF National Board Member and YL-NY President Emeritus Tony Felzen, and FIDF Director of National Young Leadership, Dan Haskell.