The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s annual fundraising campaign kicks off on Thursday, September 6 at the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive in Virginia Beach.
Featuring author, Izzy Ezagui, who will tell his story of overcoming adversity and of his love of Israel, the event also marks the start of the Lee and Bernard Jaffe Family Jewish Book Festival.
On January 8, 2009, Ezagui, a 19-year-old American who had enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), lost his left arm in a mortar attack on the border of the Gaza Strip.
Determined to rejoin the IDF, Ezagui underwent a strenuous rehabilitation program back in the United States.
Izzy Ezagui will tell his story of overcoming adversity and his love of Israel, as the featured speaker for The United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Annual Campaign Kickoff on Thursday, September 6 at the Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus, 5000 Corporate Woods Drive in Virginia Beach.
After passing all the required tests, he re-enlisted and became known as the "world’s only one-armed Special Forces sharpshooter."
After spending months rehabbing and adjusting to life with just one arm, Ezagui came to understand how adversity in life could seem to be impossible to overcome.
As a result, he wrote his memoir, called, Disarmed: Unconventional Lessons from the World's Only One-Armed Special Forces Sharpshooter, to show people that if a one-armed, IDF soldier could accomplish what he set out to do in life, then anyone could tackle life’s daily battles and challenges.
“I just want to tell a story, and I hope that, by osmosis, people will feel the love I feel for Israel,” said Ezagui, in an interview with The Times of Israel.
Subsequent to the book’s release in March 2018, Disarmed was praised, by the Jewish community and military service members around the world, for its story of human resilience, military sacrifice and witty writing, said Callah Terkeltaub, the federation's arts and ideas manager.
“His well-told story is not simply one of overcoming myriad obstacles, but also a tribute to the fellow soldiers, noncommissioned officers, company-grade officers and even a general, whose tough love and unwavering support enabled him to return to combat duty,” said Col. Carl A. Singer, Ph.D., a U.S. Army veteran and former national commander of the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America.