By Cara Rinkoff, Programs and Public Relations Director

For the first time in its history, the Jewish War Veterans is taking advantage of technology to provide members with a unique way to attend National Convention. This summer, members will be able to get almost a complete convention experience without hopping on a plane.

While we would love to see all of you in Savannah this August, we understand not everyone can travel there and spend a full week with us.

JWV plans to use Zoom to allow members to participate from their homes in nearly all meetings and other sessions scheduled for the 127th convention in Savannah, Georgia.

“The hybrid option provides an opportunity for many of our members to view the many meetings held during our national conventions,” National Commander Alan Paley said. “Those that were previously not able to attend (for a variety of reasons), can now participate at arm’s length and see firsthand our national officers, and how the organization functions.”

This will be different than the live streams made available in the past. Registrants will be able to participate fully in the meetings and sessions. We will allow voting online, as well as opportunities to speak – the same as those who attend in person.

At the National Executive Committee meeting in January, the Convention Committee decided to charge a fee of $54.00 in addition to the $50.00 convention registration fee for those who want to attend the online portion of the convention.

If you want to participate in this hybrid convention from the comfort of your home, you will only be allowed to register online at

If you plan to join us in person August 7-12, you can download the registration form from our website, or mail in the form on page 11 of this edition of The Jewish Veteran.

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022

By Kate Logan,

The United States of America
Vietnam War Commemoration

March 29 marks the 5th anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

Five years ago, the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act created this national observance. This act designated March 29, in perpetuity, as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This special day joins six other military-centric annual observances codified in Title 4 of the United States Code §6, including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day.

Many ask, why March 29? It is a fitting choice for a day honoring Vietnam veterans. On March 29, 1973 the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam was disestablished. It’s also the day the last U.S. combat troops left Vietnam, and the same day Hanoi released the last of its acknowledged prisoners of war.

On March 29 in Washington, D.C., the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration has arranged a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The Joint Chiefs of Staff, each accompanied by a Vietnam War Gold Star family member, plan to participate in this ceremony. All whose names are etched in the black granite of “The Wall” will be honored, along with their families. Plans include livestreaming this event on the Commemoration Facebook page.

In recognition of the 5th anniversary of National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the commemoration published a new poster highlighting the many faces—then and now—of Vietnam veterans who nobly served our Nation. Their courage, collective sacrifice and heroism inspires a deep respect and reverence in the hearts of Americans everywhere!

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by President Obama in 2012, will continue through Veterans Day 2025.

Congress laid out five objectives for this commemoration, with the primary goal being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice, with distinct recognition of former prisoners of war and families of those still listed as missing in action and unaccounted for.

The four objectives include highlighting the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war, paying tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens, highlighting technology, science and medical advances made during the war, and recognizing contributions by our Allies.

This commemoration honors all veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces at any time from November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. There is no distinction between veterans who served in-country, in-theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve, and none could self-determine where they would serve. All were seen in the same way by a country that could not separate the war from the warrior, and each person who served during this period deserves the Nation’s profound thanks.

Of those who served during this timeframe, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates today there are six million U.S. Vietnam veterans living in America and abroad, along with nine million families.

Since 2012, more than 3.2 million who served between November 1, 1955 and May 15, 1975, and their families, have been publicly thanked by friends and neighbors during nearly 22,000 ceremonies hosted by our dedicated Commemorative Partners – but there is still more to do.

The commemoration staff encourages every American to show their deep gratitude to this generation of warriors and their families. Visit to learn how your organization can become a Commemorative Partner, gain access to commemorative materials, including Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins for presentations to Vietnam veterans and their families, and contribute to this noble mission.

Finally, help the nation reach Vietnam veterans who may be living in isolated conditions, those physically unable to attend commemorative events, and those in assisted living or care facilities. Honoring these warriors is simply the right thing to do and they have earned it!

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022

By National Commander Alan D. Paley

We all talk about our membership, and how so may Jewish veterans do not belong to our organization. But do we ask? Do we approach friends, neighbors, co-workers or members of other groups or organizations that we belong to and ask them to join our ranks?

It appears to me that many of us do not.

We just never think about it or are intimidated about asking.

So here is an interesting story about an ask, and perhaps after you read what I have to say, you will consider asking the next time you engage with someone who may be an eligible member or potential patron of our organization.

For those who attended NEC in 2020, during the Policy Committee meeting we had a guest speaker who proposed a fund raising project involving the JWV Torah. For those of you that do not know, JWV has a Torah, and it travels to both our NEC and National Conventions. We read from it on Mondays and Thursdays, and again on Shabbat when our meetings carry over onto a weekend. A while ago, it was determined the Torah was in desperate need of repair, and if those required repairs were not completed sooner rather than later, the Torah would not be able to be used again. This is what created the need for our speaker at the Policy Committee meeting during the convention. The speaker, a Rabbi from the Miami area, told us that instead of repairing the existing Torah, we should consider a project to write a new Torah. The writing of a Torah is an exciting project, and the idea was to travel across the country and write the Torah as it stopped in each Department. They would even take the Torah down to Post level to enable our members to purchase a letter, a verse or even an entire Parsha. Synagogues across the country undertake these same projects, and very often they become successful fundraising events. However, the leadership of our organization, after hearing this proposal voted not to move forward with this idea. We would look for other alternatives. So, the idea of writing a new Torah was shelved.

A few months later, during a small leadership meeting, the Torah project was again brought up, and a lengthy discussion followed. It was decided that we would not repair the existing Torah. An alternative idea was brought up to see if we could approach some local synagogues and ask them to consider donating one of their unused Torahs to our organization. Most at that meeting were skeptical. A few more months passed and, again the topic was brought up. We had to fix the current Torah, or we could not use it anymore.

So, I asked the question. I approached my Rabbi and asked for consideration towards the donation of one of their many Torahs. This request did take my Rabbi by surprise, as no one had ever asked for a donation of a Torah. Some organizations have asked to borrow one from time to time, but they were always returned and placed back in the Ark, standing ready for the next time they would be used. My synagogue had a total of 13 Torahs.

Over the years, and especially since the pandemic, the number of members attending High Holiday and Shabbat services has declined, and our need to have these services split into separate areas of the synagogue was no longer necessary. Therefore, we no longer needed all our Torahs.

So, the Rabbi spoke with our President and the idea fascinated him. This would be a wonderful mitzvah for our synagogue to help another Jewish organization, but the President and Rabbi could not make the decision alone. It had to be brought to the full Board of Directors for consideration.

On December 14, 2021, my synagogue held its first in person Board of Directors meeting in more than 19 months and I was asked to state my case and ask the Board for that donation. I did, and the Board voted unanimously to donate one of their Torahs to the Jewish War Veterans.

I did it, by simply asking the question.

There are many Jewish men and women who are eligible for membership in JWV, but they have never been asked, or have not been asked recently.

I urge you to ask.

You may be pleasantly surprised at the answer you get.

Our membership is the lifeblood of our organization. Let’s keep it growing.

I want to continue highlighting our Department Commanders and am pleased to focus on Ron Sivernell, the new Department Commander of TALO

Ron Sivernell

(Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma).

Sivernell joined JWV Post 755 in Fort Worth, Texas as a life member in 2005. He has served in multiple leadership roles, including Post Commander, the National Membership Committee, Vietnam Veterans Committee, Homeless Veterans Committee, and Committee for the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.

He served in the Army from 1971-1974. After basic training at Fort Ord, California, he spent a year in Electronics Training School at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to learn cryptographic repair. He was assigned to the Presidio in San Francisco and Fort Baker, California. After the military, Sivernell spent ten years with the Fort Worth, Texas Police Department and worked as a probation officer for 32 years. He also completed a master’s degree and received a counselor license allowing him to run treatment programs in the probation department.

He and his wife Nelda have been married for almost 43 years. They have three children and four grandchildren.
If you have never been featured in The Jewish Veteran before, and you are currently serving as a Department Commander, please send me a picture wearing your Department Commander Cap, as well as a short bio, and we will publish it in the next issue of The Jewish Veteran.

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022

By Larry Jasper, National Editor

Meet Hannah Deutch. She grew up in Post-World War I Germany. Her father fought in the German Army during the war.

In her younger days she belonged to the Reichsbund Judischer Frontsoldaten, or RJF, a veterans’ organization of German-Jewish soldiers, founded in 1919, to demonstrate Jewish loyalty to the former German Empire. This was a version of the American Jewish War Veterans. They had a large gym, cafeteria, room for men to play cards, and many other activities. Hannah joined when she was only 8 years old. There were no other facilities, such as restaurants and movies that were open to German Jews at the time.

Despite her father’s death from influenza when she was just seven, Hannah said life was good until Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. That night, mobs, spurred on by Nazi Party officials, attacked Jewish owned stores, homes, and synagogues. Hannah said, “I woke up by my bed shaking and my room was filled with light.” The light came from the burning synagogue behind her home. The night of broken glass resulted in the burning of 267 synagogues and the destruction of 7,000 Jewish businesses. More than 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps. They were released within six weeks because the camps were not ready to hold them.

The handwriting was on the wall and the lucky ones were able to get out before the Nazi’s decided to start killing Jews in concentration camps.

Hannah Deutch

Hannah was among the lucky ones. She left for England as part of the Kindertransport on February 2, 1939. After Kristallnacht, the British government allowed children to leave the Reich and come to England as refugees. “Only my mother survived,” Hannah said. “All the rest of my family perished in the camps.” Hannah was 16 years old when she arrived in England, but she started training as a nurse, and served in the British Army from 1941 until 1944.

Hannah married a Canadian soldier and at the end of 1944 she emigrated to Canada as a war bride. She had her first son in 1945. He later served in the IDF and fought in the Six-Day War. After some time in Israel, he joined his mother in New York. During the Vietnam War, that son moved to Canada after learning his IDF service did not exempt him from the draft. Hannah’s second son, born in 1947, currently lives in New Hampshire.

Hannah’s husband died in 1949 from wounds he sustained on D-Day.

Hannah came to the United States in 1962 and joined both JWV and the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. She is still an active member of both organizations.

In 1963 she joined Hadassah and B’nai B’rith. B’nai B’rith had chapters in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria. Her parents belonged to the chapter in Germany, and she joined that group when many of its members moved to the United States.

For 17 years Hannah visited the United Nations on Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, proudly wearing her JWV cap. During those visits, she took many of her fellow JWV members with her to the event.

Through a speaker’s bureau, Hannah continues to teach about the Holocaust to synagogues and other organizations, including many school children.
Through JWV, Hannah volunteered at St. Albans VA Medical Center in Queens, New York. For 12 years she helped provide Jewish services and a Kiddush to the patients each Wednesday.

Hannah served in many leadership roles during her time in JWV, including Post Commander of Post 209, Queens County Commander, Department Chaplain, and the Chair of the National Holocaust Committee. Hannah is currently a member of Post 1 in Manhattan.

On July 3, Hannah turns 100 years young. Be sure to wish her a very happy birthday!

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022

In 2009, while serving on his local school board, JWV Post 126 member Dr. Kenneth Hartman noticed his school district in Cherry Hill, New Jersey did not honor graduating high school seniors who planned to enlist in the military after graduation.

As both a soldier and son of a holocaust survivor, Hartman decided to take action. He founded Our Community Salutes (OCS).

For the past 14 years since Hartman founded OCS, the organization has held hundreds of recognition ceremonies across the country for high school enlistees. Tens of thousands of people have attended or spoken at OCS ceremonies; truly a testimony to the appreciation for the young men and women entering the military, as well as their families.

The organizing body of OCS includes community leaders, educators, business leaders, veterans, and patriotic Americans who feel strongly about honoring these young enlistees, the importance of community support and recognition for the courageous and patriotic young adults who will serve in the U.S. Armed Services after graduation, and the 1% of young Americans who take a solemn oath to protect our liberties and freedoms.

When COVID restrictions forced the cancellation of nearly all OCS Ceremonies in 2020, Hartman conceived of and obtained funding to produce and broadcast America Salutes 2020, a star-studded broadcast to honor our nation’s high school enlistees.

The broadcast in 2021 reached over 20 million people in more than 160 different countries. This year, in addition to live ceremonies, America Salutes 2022 will premiere on May 19 with actor Gary Sinise joining as one of the celebrity hosts.

“Our mission and activities have never been more timely or important. Our nation faces a true national security threat due to a dangerously low troop strength,” said OCS Board Member Julie Strauss Levin. “There is an alarming increase of suicides among veterans, as well. We must do much better to honor these young men and women who are willing to serve our country. They and their families deserve our support and respect, and OCS is the only entity spearheading this crucial action.”

OCS is the only national organization bringing communities together to honor and support the 150,000 high school seniors planning to enlist in the military following graduation each year.

OCS ceremonies also provide much needed transitional resources to new enlistees – 75% of whom will only serve for 48 months. Now more than ever, military-bound high school seniors and their families need to know that the country stands with them in their selfless decision to serve our great nation. To learn more about how to support OCS and sign a virtual thank you card for the class of 2022, log onto

Volume 76. Number 1. 2022