By Chuck Ashman, Deputy Commander JWV California

Sgt. Alvin York, the legendary Medal of Honor recipient from World War I, was the first person to have a VA Medical Center bear his name in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  The second, Audie Murphy, was the most decorated soldier in World War II. His name is on the VA Center in San Antonio, Texas.

And then, there were three!

On May 10, the Long Beach VA Medical Center welcomed fellow Jewish War Veterans, friends, and family of their most famous and beloved former patient and volunteer, Tibor Rubin, to rename the Center in Rubin’s honor.  Lt Colonel Robert Huntly, Tibor’s nephew, spoke for the family.

Just days before that ceremony, the past president of the Medal of Honor Society, Air Force pilot and POW Leo Thorsness, passed away. He had described Tibor as a “hero’s hero” and remained mindful of how Tibor had used what he learned as a boy in a Nazi concentration camp, to help other POWs survive after he was captured.

For years, Jewish War Veterans leaders and Tibor’s relatives joined U.S. Congressman Al Lowenthal in lobbying to have the nation’s highest award presented since it had been put forth four times for Tibor’s “one man army” exploits and his dedication to others in the POW camp. The half-century delay had clearly been caused by anti-Semitism when Rubin was fighting for his country in Korea.

In early 2015, National Commander Maxwell Colon, National Executive Mathew Millen, and California Department Commander Greg Lee went to Capitol Hill only to learn that regulations prohibited naming a facility for any veteran while he was still alive. He passed away on December 5 of that year.  Just over a year later, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill changing the medical center’s title.

On May 10th, 2017, with the first Jewish Secretary of Veteran Affairs in our nation’s history approved by the Senate, the name-changing ceremony took place among hundreds of friends and fans who knew and loved Tibor for his humanity and sense of humor.

National Commander Carl Singer shared the remarkable story of Tibor Rubin’s combat conquests, his POW camp leadership, and his dedication to those at the hospital where he was treated.

Darin Selnick, a former California State Commander, is the Senior Advisor to the Secretary and had brought the formal documents signed by President Obama authorizing the name change.

The hospital administration arranged for a portrait of Rubin, which was unveiled and will have a place of honor within the medical facility. Meanwhile, the JWV Department of California shared their documentary honoring Rubin and the 16 other Jewish American heroes who had received the nation’s highest honor.

As the ceremony concluded, there was a startling roar from the gray skies where the crowed was gathered under a huge tent. Some thought it was a Navy fighter jet breaking the sound barrier with its unmistakable deafening sound. Others thought the Lord was expressing appreciation for the ceremony and welcoming Tibor Rubin to his new home.

Volume 71. Number 2. Summer 2017

By Stan Levinson, Post 172 Commander

Sarasota/Manatee Post 172 held its annual JROTC Awards Banquet was held on Sunday, February 19, 2017. It was a huge success.

Each year, Post 172 plans one of its monthly meetings as an Awards Banquet, where we award medals to four high school cadets, who have been nominated by their respective JROTC department. This award is based on the Cadet’s ability to excel in patriotism, National pride, excellence in academics, and standing up for what is morally right. This year’s recipients came from four of the local high school’s JROTC Departments.

Each Cadet was presented an Americanism/Patriot medal and ribbon. The Cadets will receive, at his/her school’s Award Ceremony, a Certificate from JWV acknowledging the Award. This Certificate is signed by the National Jewish War Veterans Commander, Col. Mark Singer, and then counter-signed by the Senior Army Instructor of the student’s JROTC Department.

Post 172 is highly supportive of this JROTC Awards Program, as it provides the students with a great curriculum, as well as instilling discipline, a solid direction in life, originality, and an awareness of other people’s existence.

The Jewish War Veterans organization is the oldest active Veterans organization in the United States. The local chapter meets the third Sunday of the months October through April, though this year’s April meeting had to be cancelled, due to the Passover observance at Kobernick House.

For further information about the activities of Post 172, please contact Stan Levinson at stanlevinson172@gmail.com.

Volume 71. Number 2. Summer 2017

By Dr. Barry Schneider
Ft. Worth Post 755 and past TALO Department Commander

Twenty-two cadets from the Air Force Academy, Virginia Military Academy (VMI), Amherst, Princeton, and Colorado State met for a weekend of comradeship and learning at the annual Jewish Warrior Weekend: Aggieland, which took place from April 14-16, 2017 at Texas A&M University. Three of the four military branches were represented.

The cadets arrived in College Station on Friday and celebrated Shabbat at Hillel with a welcome from Brigadier General Joe Ramirez, the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets. He expressed great appreciation for everything Jewish Military members have done for the country from the beginning at New Amsterdam to the present.

After a lecture and update on Middle East politics from Andrew Ashford of AIPAC, the cadets were treated to a late night showing of “True Honor,” a documentary about Jewish Medal of Honor Recipients created by the JWV Department of California.  The cadets were really taken with Tibor Rubin’s story and interview- they loved his quote about praying “to anyone who would listen.” A special thank you to Greg Lee and the Department for making the film available to the cadets.

Shabbat morning services were held at the College Station A&M Chabad house followed by a great (Passover) lunch and learn session with the Rabbi’s wife.  Throughout the day there were campus tours, speakers on leadership, and a visit to the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. It was clear that the cadets were engaged and attentive; they clearly appreciated opportunity to meet and talk with each other, military personnel, and veterans.

Former Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz shared his thoughts on service and leadership with the cadets, and the importance of making good decisions. Major General David Rubenstein spoke about how the military helped him define his own career path, and the role Jewish cadets play as America’s next leaders. He emphasized that you can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself; don’t let emotions cloud your judgement.

Cadet Daniel Rosenfield commented, “Jewish Warrior Weekend solidified my commitment to the military and the Jewish people. As future Jewish military officers, we must remember that we are defenders of the United States, while ensuring we remain steadfast advocates for our Jewish community. Hearing from active-duty and veteran Jewish military officers rekindled that sense of patriotism and pride.”

The conference ended Sunday morning with a round table discussion featuring Chaplain (Maj) Sarah Schechter, USAF Academy Chaplain, Chaplain (Capt.) Menachem Stern, Ft. Hood Chaplain, and Herschel Sheiness, Commander of San Antonio Post 753. I moderated the panel as they chatted about leading the Jewish people, JWV’s role in helping veterans, personal experiences in the military, and interesting anecdotes from the panel members.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the whole weekend was being able to get to know the cadets individually. We talked about our backgrounds, my deployments, and made both personal and military connections. In addition to sponsoring the event, JWVF purchased kippot for each of the participants and I also gave them lapel pins with the Israeli flag and the Texas state flag- that definitely garnered a few laughs.

Jewish Warrior Weekend is a wonderful opportunity for young cadets to meet other Jewish officers and develop a sense of comradeship; they known they are not alone. JWV’s role for the future is even clearer: we must let cadets and military personnel know that we are available, we will support them.

I am thrilled that the Jewish War Veterans Foundation sponsored this wonderful event. We can’t wait to see what happens next year!

Volume 71. Number 2. Summer 2017

By Jeffrey R. Weitzenkorn
Commander, Post 735 MA

On January 30, 2017, representatives of Sharon Post 735 presented a check in the amount of $1,600 to Richard Leeman, Assistant Chief of Voluntary Service, and Lana Otis, Voluntary Services Program Manager, at the Brockton Campus of the Veterans Administration Boston Healthcare System.  The Post raised these funds during their Veterans Day solicitation at the local Shaws Supermarket from November 9th through 11th of last year.

These funds will be used to help hospitalized veterans for the personal needs of these men and women while undergoing treatment and extended care within the VA facility.  Among the items provided are specialized telephones for paralyzed patients so that they may more easily maintain contact with their families.

Since 2009, the post has raised and contributed over $23,000 to this organization.

In addition, Post 735 has received the Jewish War Veterans Department of Massachusetts Community Service Award for their continued support of hospitalized veterans for the years 2014 and 2015. The post also regularly sponsors deserving seniors from Sharon High School and Stoughton High School at the annual Massachusetts Classmates Today Neighbors Tomorrow scholarship breakfast program.

Volume 71. Number 1. Spring 2017