Robert & Joanne Max, Julie & Robert Teplis, Sandy Shulman, Sam Benator, Myla Lind, Rob Augenstein, Ahava, Avi & George Heart, Robert Wolfson, Stuart Karpel, Steve Edelkind & Steven Weiniger

By George Heart, Post 112

JWV Atlanta Post 112 hosted a special guest speaker during our monthly post meeting November 18th. First, LTC (WA) George H. Heart, Ret., Post 112 CDR, presented introductory remarks about Jewish soldiers serving in the German Armed Forces.  The main speaker was Oberstleutnant (LTC) Alexander Siegfried Sauer, Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces) Military Liaison to Ft. Benning.  OBSLT Sauer, who is a decorated combat veteran from Kosovo and Afghanistan, spoke about the mission of the German Army Liaison to Ft. Benning. Afterwards, he fielded a lively question and answer session that included subjects ranging from the future of NATO, the rise of anti-Semitism, and other topics.

L-R: Sam Benator, Gavin Ellman, R’ Murray Berger, Joanne and Robert Max

The Atlanta Post also far exceeded the goal of supporting veterans and active duty Soldiers throughout Veterans Day.  We spoke at local events about honoring our veterans and the contributions of the Jewish War Veterans Service Organization.  We placed hundreds of American flags on Jewish Veterans graves at Greenwood, Arlington Park and Crest Lawn Cemeteries.

Many volunteers, including veterans and family members, arrived to help us raise funds over the Veterans Day Weekend.  We passed out poppies and small American flags and collected donations to remind the public that JWV is thriving and supporting our veterans and active duty Soldiers of all faiths in Georgia.  Over $5,000 was raised and these funds will go to support our volunteer events at the Atlanta VA Medical Center, Georgia War Veterans Home, Atlanta International Airport USO, Atlanta Veterans Empowerment Organization and others.  We also support our active duty soldiers by sponsoring Shacharit Onegs at Ft. Benning’s Regimental Chapel of the Infantry.

The next Atlanta Post meeting will be Sunday, 09 Dec – the last night of Hanukkah.  This will be our second annual JWV Atlanta Post Hanukkah Military Social.  It will include a display of over 30 military themed menorahs, musical entertainment, a scrumptious Hanukkah buffet, to include sufganyot, latkes, and much more.  For more information, please visit the JWV Atlanta Facebook page.


Mayor Bettencourt presents a Challenge Coin to Lillian

By Barry Lischinsky, Membership Chairman

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, Jewish War Veterans (JWV) Massachusetts (MA) North Shore Post 220 Members participated in the City of Peabody, MA Veterans Day event.  Approximately three hundred (300) Veterans, families and guests attended this year’s City of Peabody Mayor’s Breakfast event thanking all community Veterans for their service.  This year’s event was dedicated to the service of Women in the Military.  The keynote speaker of the event was JWV MA Post 220 Lillian Aronson.  Lillian was born on July 1, 1917 in Salem, MA, and she is the oldest member of JWV.

In 1935, she graduated from Salem, MA High School.  Lillian felt it was important to contribute to the War effort, so contribute she did.  At the age of 26, she volunteered and joined the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC).  Lillian’s military service spans over 20 years – paving the way for Women in the military today.

Lilian, at the young age of 101, remains active today as a volunteer for both the Jewish War Veterans Massachusetts, and the Disabled American Veterans.  On occasions, you may hear Lillian’s voice as she maintains the “Birthday List” of fellow Veterans

Lillian Aronson, the keynote speaker

at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital, where she resides today.

Also, recognized during this event was JWV MA Post 220 Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Donna Lehman.  In 2003, LTC Lehman served during Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Chief Nurse of a Forward Surgical Team located in Kuwait.  Attached to the 1st Armored Division with a unit from Walter Reed Hospital, she then was then stationed in Baghdad serving as the Chief Nurse of an Intensive Care Unit.  Extended on Active Duty with her unit she was redeployed to Najaf in April 2004. In mid-July 2004, LTC Lehman returned to Fort Dix, New Jersey.  Many that attended the 2018 Veterans Day event remember LTC Donna Lehman as the 2011 Veterans Day keynote speaker.

In keeping with the theme of City of Peabody’s Veterans Day event of Women in the Military, to quote a past Veterans Affairs article, “Women are now the fastest-growing subgroup of U.S. Veterans. The number of women Veterans is expected to increase dramatically in the next ten years.”   From the generation of Sargent First Class Lillian Aronson to the generation of LTC Donna Lehman, we are reminded of our Hebrew term L’ dor V’dor, meaning “from generation to generation.”   Special thanks to Mayor Bettencourt, Peabody Veterans Agent Steve Patten and the Peabody Veterans Council for recognizing all Veterans and their families.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Members of Shir Hamalot and Post 786

By Sam Yudin, Post 786 Commander

On November 16th, Shir Ha-Ma’alot in Irvine, CA showed their appreciation for their community’s veterans at their Friday night Shabbat services.  They held a special service called, “Shabbat Service: Honor Those Who Protect Us.”  It was a small event that had a major impact for those service members and veterans in attendance.

Mike Heineman was also there to give a speech about Jewish experiences in the Air Force.  He served as an instructor pilot in the Euro NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program, an F-15E combat pilot, and, after graduating from the US Air Force Test Pilot School in 2014, an F-15 and A-29 test pilot. Mike completed his service in July 2017, and he now works as an engineer at SpaceX.

After Mike’s speech, Veterans in the audience were called on the bimah one by one to be recognized by the entire congregation.  The event was made more special when we were able to Facetime with Major (MAJ) Howard Medina, who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.  MAJ Medina Major Medina’s family along with the entire congregation was able to view him on a large screen

Maj. Medina poses for a photo

as they conversed.

Major Medina is a California National Guard Soldier assigned to the 40th Infantry Division, and he is a new member of JWV Tibor Rubin Post #786.   Major Medina is an intelligence officer in the California National Guard assigned to 40th Infantry Division G2 based at Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, CA.  He has been deployed to Kosovo, Guantanamo Bay, and now Afghanistan.  On those deployments he has acted as a lay leader conducting Jewish services.  He grew up in Torrance and lives in Irvine.  His wife Debbie and three boys Sam (10), Joseph (6) and Adam (6) miss him and can’t wait for him to return.

The Medinas have been members of Shir Ha-Ma’a lot for 10 years. Rabbi Steinberg and Rabbi DePaulo have been in contact with MAJ Media through email checking up with him and the Rabbi’s assistant had called Debbie and asked if we can make it possible to FaceTime with him on that night.

Events like the Shir Hamalot Shabbat Service show the Jewish community that Jewish soldiers are still serving on the front lines in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.  Here in Orange County, we are working to make Orange County a military-friendly community for our Jewish veterans and service members.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018


Members of Post 156 at the Hampton Roads Veterans Day parade.

By Adam Goldberg, Post 158 Commander

Jewish War Veterans (JWV) Post 158 of Southeastern Virginia had the honor of co-sponsoring the Hampton Roads Veterans Day parade and ceremony with the Hampton Roads Council of Veterans Organizations (HRCVO) in Virginia Beach, Nov. 12. This year’s festivities being significant due to the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War I which was the origins of Veterans Day previously known as Armistice Day.

The parades grand marshal was retired Chief Petty Officer Robert Freitag, past president of HRCVO and the co-marshal was Michael Berman, esq., past National Commander of JWV.

During the ceremony invocation Rabbi Sender Haber, lead rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation of Norfolk, VA, and JWV Post 158 Chaplain recounted a message from Mrs. Kitty Saks, a member of B’nai Israel and holocaust survivor.

“She called me after the terrible shooting in Pittsburgh last week and she said I remember 80 years ago standing at a window on November 9th 1938 during Kristallnacht,” said Rabbi Haber. “Glass was shattering in Jewish homes, Jewish door fronts. We waited for my father to come home and nobody cared, nobody defended us, nobody took care of us. Here I am 80 years later in the United States of America and a synagogue is attacked and I don’t stop getting letters, messages, emails and calls from neighbors and friends in America.”

The parade was followed by a ceremony that included a wreath-laying presentation, offered by various veteran service organizations, and a ceremonious gun salute by the Virginia Beach Police Department in honor of Veterans Day.

“We need to thank god every day that we live in the United States of America,” said Rabbi Haber. “We need to thank god for our neighbors, for our government and most of all for our veterans who give their lives not only to protect us but to protect our freedom to worship to believe and take care of one another.”

Members of Post 156 at the Hampton Roads Veterans Day parade.

Michael Berman, esq., was the guest speaker during the luncheon and talked about the alarming suicide rate of veterans.

“We are losing 20 veterans a day. You who serve, I ask a small favor,” said Berman. “If you know someone who is approaching that, you can tell. They may divest themselves of their possessions, they may hear ghosts at night, they may wake up with the sweats, they may say I can’t take it anymore there is too much in my mind I have to get out of here somehow. So if you know someone in that area, buddy up to them. You can’t do it alone. They need professional help and we are not professional help but we are their friends and sometimes their confidant… talk to them, let them know you care.”

This year’s Veterans Day proclamation also included special recognition of the Jewish War Veterans honor, integrity and supremacy to the United States.

The JWV is the voice of the Jewish service member and friend to all veterans. Formed in New York in 1896 after the Spanish American War, the Jewish veteran group was known as the Hebrew Union Veterans Association. The union fought anti-Semitism in the Armed Forces and the general public. Seeking to prove that Jews do proudly serve and fight in the US Armed Forces, the union evolved with each war, eventually taking the name we know today – JWV. With over 120 years of service, JWV is the oldest, continuously operating Veteran Service

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018



Sam Yudin, Greg Lee and other 786 members pose for a photo.

By Sam Yudin, Post 786 Commander

Tibor Rubin Post #786 has ensured Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient display cases see the light of day for the first time in over 10 years in an exhibition at the Merage JCC in Orange County, CA.

The 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard has been the home of 16 display cases highlighting 17 Jewish American Medal of Honor recipients.  The display cases have sat in a classroom in the back of a building on Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, CA.  The cases were built by JWV member Alvin Selinck, of blessed memory, and donated to the California Military Department in 2004.  They were displayed at the state’s military museum in Sacramento until it closed its doors.  After that, they made their way to Los Alamitos by way of San Diego.

Tibor Rubin Post #786 wanted these important pieces of Jewish American military history to be seen by the widest audience possible. The obvious choice was front and center at the Merage JCC in Orange County which has 50,000 members a month pass through the aptly named main street which house(s/d) (-d depending on publication date) the Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient Exhibit from October 12- November 30th.

From the beginning the Merage JCC has been a very supportive partner to JWV Tibor Rubin Post #786. The exhibit when first discussed was a no brainer for the president and CEO, Dan Bernstein, and the Chair of the Board, Irv Chase.  “From the founding of the United States, Jews have defended the liberties that all Americans enjoy,” says Irv Chase.  On the meaning of this exhibit to the JCC he continues, “It is important for American Jews to know what sacrifices their fellow Jews have made to protect the liberties they enjoy.”

On November 8th, a reception was held in honor of the exhibit and Jewish veterans in the community.  The purpose of the event was to celebrate Jewish American pride in service and recognize the veterans in the community.  The event which featured the California State Military Reserve Military Heritage Command’s color guard and over a dozen military members in uniform was attended by approximately 100 people.  The event was called one of the most important events to happen at the JCC and very

The exhibit

moving by many others.

A very important feature of this exhibit is only possible due to the partnership with the California State Military Reserve Military Heritage Command which has enhanced the exhibit with many period artifacts and uniforms from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. They also have been providing tours and activities for children and adult groups at the exhibit.  The children have enjoyed writing letters to the Medal of Honor recipients and trying on period uniforms.  Brigadier General Jay Coggan, Commander of the California State Military Reserve was present for the event and announced that this exhibit is the very start of his command getting these important military artifacts in the eyes of the public.

Brigadier General Coggan’s comments indicate there is now a commitment that the Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient display cases will continued to be displayed in the community. Discussions are already ongoing to bring this exhibit back next year at another local venue such as the Alpert Jewish Community Center Long Beach.

This event has also brought Jewish veterans and the Jewish community closer together. The Merage JCC has embraced its community’s veterans by definitively displaying they are proud of and value the veterans in their community making them a very veteran friendly community.  JWV Tibor Rubin Post #786 looks forward to many years of great relations with the Merage JCC.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Temple Beth Torah Sha’aray Tzedek

Alan Paley is an active member of the synagogue and veteran. Below are his remarks to the audience.

Good Shabbos,

Tomorrow, the nation will pause for a few minutes to both honor, and pay tribute to, the many men and women who served in the military, and then returned home.

Most cities and towns hold symbolic celebrations for their veterans at the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month. For this was the time in 1918 that the armistice was signed with Germany, ending World War 1, permitting tired and homesick soldiers to return home.

But, when we speak about Veterans, we often group them together in one big giant pot.

They are all the same.  Each one wore the uniform of the United States Military and basically did what they were told.

No more, no less.

But, Veterans are individuals as well. Each had a unique job that they performed. Each served in one of the five branches of the armed services. And, each served at a different time.

Starting with the American Revolution, and making our way through the Civil War, two deadly world wars, The Korean and Vietnam Wars.

And most recently, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan, fought as part of the U.S. War on Terrorism.

Yet, every veteran has a story all their own.

So, this morning, as we gather here in the comfortable sanctuary of our synagogue, I want to tell you about 3 individual Veterans – each unique in their military service and history. Each, a Veteran of the war in Vietnam.

Our first Veteran enlisted in the United States Navy in 1966, at a time when the draft was at its highest level.  Young men and women who enlisted during this time frame were often looked upon a being somewhat “strange” Why are you enlisting?  There is a war going on!!

You must be nuts to willingly join the military, were the cries often heard from family and friends.  Yet, this individual did just that.  He enlisted.

Following basic training at Great Lakes Illinois, this Veteran was then selected to attend Basic Electronic and Electricity Training.  Upon successful completion of those studies, he was sent to Bainbridge, Maryland, to attend additional training to become a Radioman.  As a certified Radioman, he was then assigned to the USS Joseph P Kennedy in 1967.  His duties as a Radioman were the processing and execution of all phases of incoming and outgoing electronically generated shipboard communication.

He also helped to train lower ranking personnel in the same field.  He remained on that ship until 1970.  Upon discharge from active duty, he joined the Naval Reserve, where he actively served for another 6 years.  While in the reserves, he took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled in the City University of New York, he graduated at the top of his class. He then accepted a job as a Secondary Science Teacher. He remained in that position for the next 29 years, and retired in 2005 as Teacher, and Chairman of the Science Department.  He is usually here every Shabbat, but is currently resting at home following a short hospital stay.

He is an involved member of our synagogue, and an active member of our Men’s Club.This Veteran is Aubrey Harley.

Our next Veteran enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1968, and having already graduated from college and medical school, entered with the rank of Lieutenant. He was assigned as the Battalion Surgeon at Port Hueneme in California.  However, a month later, his unit was deployed to South Vietnam, were he also served as the Battalion Surgeon.

While in Vietnam, his job was to stabilize the wounded, and prepare them to be med-evaced to area field hospitals. He saw firsthand the effects of war, as he cared for and provided medical attention to those wounded servicemen who were brought back to his Battalion for treatment. Young men, whose life at times hung by a very thin thread. Often, he stood between life and death for these wounded soldiers.

He is most proud of the fact that he initiated a program of training 3 local residents in basic health care, so they could serve as village care providers, where there was no previous health care available.

He returned to the United States in 1969 and served as the Medical Officer at the San Diego Naval Hospital.  He separated from active duty in 1970 but continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until January of 1975.  During this time, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

He continued to practice medicine all through his civilian career and just recently retired.  This Veteran, who is in the synagogue this morning, also serves as the President of our Men’s Club.

Alan Paley

This Veteran is Dr. Alan Miller.

Our third Veteran has a somewhat different story to tell.

Joining Army ROTC when he was in college, he knew that upon graduation he would have to enter the military.  As a college graduate, he would enter active duty as an officer, rather than an enlisted man, so his chances of seeing action in Southeast Asia were slightly reduced. Or so he thought…..  Following training in Virginia, he received orders to go to Germany.

Along with his wife, he set off to Manheim for his first overseas assignment, as a Brigade Personnel Officer.

Concurrent to his assignment in Germany, his younger brother, who had enlisted in the Air Force, was also stationed in Germany.  His brother however, was not an officer, but was an airman specializing in the weapons system of the latest United States Air Force fighter jet, the Phantom F-4.

The largest, fastest fighter jet in the Air Force inventory, and the leading aircraft in the war in Vietnam.

Knowing this, and realizing that the chances of his brother getting orders for Southeast Asia far outweighed his, he decided to speak with his commanding officer and subsequently, requested a transfer to Vietnam.

After only 9 months of serving in Germany, he received orders to report to Long Binh Vietnam, for a 12-month tour of duty.

He served as a Staff Supply Officer, flying from location to location via helicopter, and insured that the men and women stationed at those posts, outposts and bases were provided with all the special services supplies they could get.

Recreational items, so the troops could enjoy whatever free time they had, before going back into battle.

His helicopter was shot at, his barracks was mortared, and several army buddies were killed during one of those mortar attacks.

He returned home a year later, to his wife and new baby daughter.  Enrolling in Law School, he later practiced law, and now serves as a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey.

This Veteran, although not a member of our synagogue is my brother, and his decision to volunteer for service in a combat zone, enabled me to serve my remaining years of military service in Germany, without the threat of receiving orders for Vietnam.

I never knew what he had done until 2016, some 49 years later.

One thing each of these Veterans have in common is the deeply embedded feeling of patriotism.  Although members of the military come from different walks of life, we all learned to get along and work with one another.  We watched each other’s back and knew that our comrades in arms would be watching our back, too. This is the way you survive.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read the shocking story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, an action that created a rivalry so bitter, it is said to still be manifesting itself today. The Torah is full of stories of brother turning against brother. Cain kills Abel, Moses is compelled by God to turn against his brother – Pharaoh, Joseph’s brothers almost kill him over their jealousy of the treatment their father Jacob gives to Joseph – culminating with Jacob giving Joseph a coat of many colors.

The collection of Jewish texts does contain a few positive stories of one brother helping another. Most famously, although the source of the story has never been proven, is the tale of King Solomon’s quest to find a suitable location to build the First Temple.

One of God’s angels takes Solomon in one of his dreams to a field owned by two brothers.

One of the brothers is a bachelor; the other is married and has children. At the end of the harvest season, each brother is concerned for the other, and under the cover of night each adds grain to the other’s pile. The married brother was concerned because he reasoned that the bachelor had no children to support him in his old age. The bachelor was concerned because he reasoned that with so many children his brother needed more grain. The brothers met in the middle of the field and embraced.

This field, a manifestation of brotherly love, King Solomon reasoned was the best site for the Temple.

Brotherly love, commitment, and honor. These are the virtues of a Veteran.

Each of the Veterans mentioned today served their country with honor, and then returned to civilian life. Each one built a successful career.

They rarely speak about their military service on their own and are often shy about discussing it, when asked by outsiders.  But, all of them have earned the title of Veteran.

We are here today, able to live in this great country and enjoy the religious freedom that we have, because these men answered their call to duty, and served in the military.

And yes, a great many women answered that call too.

So, if you are a veteran, please stand up and be recognized.

Thank you all for your service.

May God bless those men and women both here today and all over the country that carry the title of Veteran. And, may God bless the United States of America.

Shabbat Shalom

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Guy Stern, Walter Sears and Fred Howard

By Sabrina Fine, Communications Intern

Dr. Guy Stern is a man of many titles. Literary scholar, Bronze Star Medal recipient and published author- to name just a few.

Stern was born in Hildesheim, Germany in 1922.  He escaped from Nazi Germany and relocated to the United States in 1937 with the help of an uncle and an American Jewish organization.  He hoped that his parents and two siblings would follow.

In 1943, he was drafted into the Army and in 1944 landed in Normandy after D-day as a Ritchie Boy. Ritchie Boys were a military intelligence unit made up of mostly German, Austrian and Czech refugees and immigrants, many of whom were Jewish.

“Beyond the fighting spirit of all GI”s, the knowledge of the Holocaust was an added incentive to put forth our utmost effort in the war, we were refugees; our own families were being murdered,” said Stern.

Since Stern spoke German he was tasked with the interrogation of prisoners of war and defectors. Stern’s story was highlighted in the book Sons and Soldiers, “the untold story of the Jews who escaped the Nazis and returned with the U.S. Army to fight Hitler.”

Stern, along with fellow Ritchie Boy Fred Howard, devised a plan to extract information from German soldiers after previous more traditional methods did not work.

“My friend and comrade Fred Howard found that the German soldiers were afraid beyond everything else of landing in Russian captivity,” said Stern.  “We played on that fear by telling the enemy soldiers that we had orders to turn them over to the Russians, if they did not cooperate. We got vital info for our air force that way.  I disguised myself as a Soviet commissar and liaison officer. I donned a Russian uniform for that purpose; Fred played a soft-hearted American.”

Stern also adopted a Russian accent, despite not knowing how to speak Russian.  Stern’s method allowed him to gather important intelligence as well as earn him a Bronze Star.

“I could make a contribution to the war effort as an interrogator of POWs by introducing mass interrogations in order to assess the strength of the last German replacement divisions and to report on the German potential for gas warfare,” said Stern.

Stern was born in Germany, yet never once hesitated in his allegiance to the United States and he felt very much American.

Guy Stern

As a Jew, American soldier and a human, he never erased memories of what he witnessed in Buchenwald.  In a 1990 oral history recording for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, he spoke of the horrors.   When he arrived at Buchenwald, Stern remembered feeling queasy.

His unit helped set up food and water for recently liberated prisoners, yet the prisoners were still dealing with shock and not fully comprehending they were free.

When speaking of the experience, Stern’s demeanor changed. His eyes became heavier and he looked off to the side in search of words to describe the almost indescribable.

He recalled a story of a man who was stooped down to a puddle of muddy water and was readying himself to drink from it.  From Stern’s perspective, it looked like something routine.   Stern’s unit had just set up clean water in the camp for the recently liberated survivors.

The survivor needed to be gently reminded and pointed in the direction of the clean water. Only then did he abandon the dirty puddle.

“To summarize it- it was almost as if you had to unlearn the concentration camp experience,” said Stern about the survivors.

Before leaving Buchenwald, Stern recalled despite their grim conditions and poor health, the survivors seemed very grateful.  He remembers the scene of them coming to the fence to greet the Americans.

After the war, Stern learned his whole family had perished in Warsaw.

In 1948, he graduated Hofstra and went on to receive his Ph.D. from Columbia University in German Literature and Culture. Doing so required Stern to wrestle with some deeply personal decisions.

“I could have entered a variety of fields,” said Stern. “I found to my satisfaction, and that of my professors that I had some gifts for German literature and German cultural history.”

Yet the troubling thought was, if he continued studying German, he would be constantly reminded of Germany and its past and the terrible memories of his youth.

“I came to the recognition I indeed had a gift and to deny it, or to let it lie fallow would be an act of self-amputation, very much like the one they were going to inflict on me, it was doing the work of the enemy,” said Stern. “So, I decided to stay in German.”

He also believed he could make a difference for the victims of Nazi Germany.

“I’ve made the right decision because I’ve lent voice to some writers who may [otherwise] have been forgotten,” said Stern. “I have in a way kept their memory and the memory of their writings alive,” said Stern.

Stern currently directs the Harry and Wanda Zekelman International Institute of the Righteous at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Members of Post 256 color guard at the Dallas Kosher BBQ opening ceremony.

By Steve Krant, Post 256 Commander

(DALLAS – September 6, 2018) For the fourth year in-a-row, Dr. Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 and Auxiliary served a delicious barbecue lunch with all the usual trimmings to more than 100 homeless veterans on the campus of the Dallas Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center.

Weeks before the event, social workers and staff from the hospital’s Domiciliary Care for Homeless Veterans (DCHV) team spread the word at area shelters and temporary lodging facilities, identified and gave out admission tickets to qualified veterans, and made arrangements for “day of” transportation to the luncheon from multiple collection points.

National Commander Dr. Barry Schneider pitched-in on the serving line before speaking to the gathering about JWV’s history and mission. In addition, he offered some encouraging insights about recently confirmed VA secretary

Post 256 recruiting new members.

Robert Wilkie and his plans for the agency’s future.

The meal  was again catered by local brisket master, Big Al’s Smokehouse and underwritten by Post 256 and the generosity of a veteran-friendly Dallas philanthropist. Big Al’s crew sliced and served their beef and chicken, while post and auxiliary members dispensed iced tea and lemonade at one end of the serving line, and fresh apple pie at the opposite end.  (NEC) Jerry Benjamin brought 22 fresh pies, special ordered with a liberal discount from the bakery department of his neighborhood Tom Thumb grocery (part of the Albertsons group). Our ladies auxiliary team decorated the long tables with edible centerpieces made-up of “take away” tangerines and bananas graciously contributed by a local Costco Wholesale warehouse.

The appreciative crowd was entertained throughout the meal by talented teen singer and songwriter Joli Reiman — granddaughter of proud post members Lionel Reiman and Jim Walsh. Known professionally as “Joli Hope,” the future headliner already has several of her original songs listed on iTunes and Spotify.

In years past, the Dallas Post served a “full Monty” turkey dinner to local homeless veterans at the VA facility during the Thanksgiving holiday week. Unfortunately, well-meaning competition from other benevolent groups diluted the effort and caused “turkey burn-out” among the intended recipients. That led post leadership to rethink and regroup, ultimately launching a new tradition four years ago: An end-of-summer BBQ scheduled around the Labor Day holiday.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

JWV members of Post 625 for a photo with the sign proclamation.

By Ron Markowitz & Marian Schwartz, Post 625

POUGHKEEPSIE N.Y. – A sign honoring Pvt. Herman Siegel was dedicated on the corner of Forbus and May Streets in the City of Poughkeepsie, signifying the culmination of several years of planning between Jewish War Veterans Post #625 and the City of Poughkeepsie.  Pvt. Siegel was the first Jewish serviceman from Poughkeepsie killed in World War II, and Jewish War Veterans Post #625 is named in his memory.  It is an extremely apt location for the sign since Herman Siegel lived most of his life in a house that still stands on May Street. To express gratitude to the City for the sign, the members of Pvt. Herman Siegel Post #625 Jewish War Veterans of the USA pledged to clean May Street of litter on a monthly basis.

Herman Siegel was born May 4, 1925, at Vassar Hospital, the only child of Esther and Harry Siegel.  He attended local schools and graduated Poughkeepsie High in June, 1943. An excellent student in both math and science, he was involved in the music festival, orchestra, band, and track, and was very popular among his fellow classmates.  In fact, the comment under his senior photo in the year book was, “Six foot tall and not too shy, who cannot help but like this guy.” He had

Mayor Rob Rolison at the sign unveiling.

planned to attend Clarkson College, but was drafted into the military right after graduation.

On August 7, 1943, Herman was inducted into the Army and sent for training first to Camp Upton, L.I., later to Fort Riley, Kansas and finally to Fort Meade, Maryland.  He was then assigned to the 141st Armed Signal Battalion that supported the First Armored Division in North Africa, and was sent to participate in the Anzio Campaign.  Herman was killed on the Anzio Beachhead in Italy on May 18, 1944; he had just turned 19 years old.  Private Siegel was first interred in the military cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, and reinterred in the Hebrew Benevolent Cemetery in the City of Poughkeepsie in 1947.  After his death, his parents established the Herman Siegel Memorial Prize for Excellence in 12th Year Math at Poughkeepsie High.

The ceremony to dedicate the sign was attended by many local veterans, as well as ordinary citizens and a host of dignitaries.  Among those there to honor Pvt. Siegel were Poughkeepsie’s Mayor Rob Rolison, Director of County Veterans Services Marc Coriello, a group of administrators from the Poughkeepsie School District including Supt. Kathleen Farrell and H.S. Principal Ronald Jackson, and a representative of State Senator Sue Serino who presented the Post a proclamation from the NYS Senate.  Rabbi Eliezer Langer of Congregation Shomre Israel gave the invocation and benediction, and a Scout from John Jay High School closed the ceremony with taps.  All the speakers expressed the hope that Pvt. Siegel would prove an inspiration to today’s youth who attend Poughkeepsie High School right across the street from the sign that is dedicated to his memory.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Service members from California, under the direction of Army Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Sam Yudin, CA Post 276,  participated in the memorial service for Sgt. David Rosenkrantz, who was killed during WWII.

By Greg Lee, Department Commander of California

Sam Yudin at the ceremony.

Every day, people enquire, “what does JWV do?”  The answer varies because there are more than 300 local posts that represent the organization.

One of our missions as Jews and Jewish War Veterans is to ensure that every single one of our service members receives a dignified and proper burial. Usually that happens without a problem, but sometimes we must get involved.

What do you do when the person who needs to be interned has no identification?  What do you do when the person has been missing since World War II?

Sgt. David Rosenkrantz had no identification and he was missing since WWII.   He was a true airborne hero, dropped behind enemy lines, never to be seen again, but thanks to modern technology and DNA testing, Sgt. Rosenkrantz was finally identified.  His remains that had been in cold storage for 70 years have been cleared for internment.

He was to be transferred to Riverside National Cemetery and buried just like the 35 -50 burials that take place there every day.  We also learned that the ceremony was not going to be a Jewish ceremony, which we can assume Sgt. Rosenkrantz would have wanted.

When Jewish War Veterans learned of this monumental event, they sprang into action.  National Headquarters reached out to the Department of California echelon.  Commander Greg Lee made some phone calls.

The most important call was to the Tibor Rubin Post 786 Commander Sam Yudin.  CSM Yudin is not only an active JWV member but an Active Duty soldier in the US Army.  Rabbi David Becker from the California National Guard also answered the call to help make sure that this Jewish soldier received a Jewish burial, and without either of their help, this soldier would not have the burial that he deserved.

Yudin immediately stepped up and contacted his Commanding Officer with a request to delay his reporting for duty by one day so he could attend the funeral of Sgt. Rosenkrantz. The CO immediately affirmed that action and Yudin was set.  CSM Yudin then coordinated the order of battle at the cemetery services by contacting the cemetery director, the Family of Sgt. Rosenkrantz, and some local Rabbis.

CSM Yudin then “suited up” in his military dress blues and drove 75 miles to the Riverside Cemetery on one of the hottest days in California history. He proudly represented Jewish War Veterans as he paid his respects to a Jewish hero. He represented JWV, the Jewish people and himself in the finest tradition of service and Mitzvot.

So in case you ever wondered – this act of supreme respect represents one thing that Jewish War Veterans do!

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018