By Martin C. Hochhauser

On a cold but clear day on January 30, 2017 dignitaries came to Hyde Park, NY to commemorate the birth of our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Born on January 30, 1882, this year we celebrated FDR’s 135th birthday. It was a beautiful ceremony as The Long Gray Line of West Point cadets came marching into the Rose Garden to the beat of a solemn drummer. Following this majestic entrance came over a dozen dignitaries who presented wreaths to honor President Roosevelt. The local community was on the periphery of the Rose Garden to witness this annual event.

Among the twelve groups presenting wreaths, one group was the Jewish War Veterans of the United States, Pvt. Herman Siegel Post #625 of Poughkeepsie, NY. Representing the Post was Past Commander Ralph Schwartz and Chief of Staff Martin Hochhauser.

Our Post was named after a local resident, Herman Siegel, who was born and bred on May Street in the City of Poughkeepsie. Born in 1925, he graduated Poughkeepsie High School in June 1943 and joined the Army. Eleven months later, on May 18, 1944, at age 19, Pvt. Herman Siegel was killed in action in Anzio, Italy. He was the first member of the local Jewish community to die in World War II.

In addition to Commander Schwartz presenting the JWV wreath, Chief of Staff Hochhauser placed a stone on FDR’s tombstone in the Jewish tradition to indicate that a visitor has come to show respect, that the deceased has not been forgotten and to rekindle the memories of the past.

An additional wreath and flowers were presented by the family of FDR and finally the Presidential wreath was presented by Brigadier General Cindy R. Jebb, Dean of the Academic Board, United States Military Academy, West Point, NY.

The formal event was concluded with salutary volleys of an Army firing squad followed by the sounding of Taps. The Long Gray Line marched out of the Rose Garden once again to the sound of a drummer.

Finally, everyone was invited back to the Visitors’ Center to partake in two huge birthday cakes and hot beverages.

By Judge Sol Gothard

The Jewish community of New Orleans has a special Memorial Day Tradition.  Every year, the Ben Katz Post 580 and Congregation Beth Israel come together to remember our departed veterans in a uniquely Jewish way.  An indispensable tenet of the Jewish faith is remembering and honoring our deceased loved ones by saying the Kaddish prayers for them every year on the anniversary of their death as well as three times during the year – Passover, Sukkot and Shavout.

This year, 580’s Memorial Day Remembrance was spread out over the three day weekend.  After usual Friday services, the congregants each lit memorial candles for their deceased veterans as Major Carl Berman USAR called out their names.  Judge Gothard, commander of Post 580, lit candles for his three brothers that served in World War II – Abe, Jack and Gerald.  Abe was a combat engineer, and he was part of the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach.  He fought throughout the war until he was seriously wounded at the Battle of the Bulge, and he was awarded the Purple Heart for his service during the battle.

On Shabbat morning, a special memorial service was held, and you could see members of JWV dressed in uniform and wearing their JWV caps.  MAJ Berman gave the sermon – “the fundamental question for this speech is ‘How does one who was raised in a Black Baptist family and went to a Jesuit Catholic college, end up marrying into an Orthodox Jewish family and want to become a Jew?”  She spoke about her love of the Jewish faith and her experiences in Afghanistan in 2008.  “Even though I had not been to the mikvah yet, I have always adhered to the Jewish faith to the point where my dog tags say ‘Jewish’.”  She was advised by one of her senior officers to bury her dog tags if something bad happened.  “I decided that my dogs would not be buried in the desert; they will hang around my neck,” said Berman.

On Memorial Day, members of JWV and the clergy staff of the synagogue held a graveside memorial service.  The Rabbis recited our ancient memorial prays on behalf of those veterans who served and of those who gave their lives fighting.  Gothard spoke at the ceremony, stating that Jewish veterans of any branch of the military are eligible for membership at the New Orleans Post.  He was very proud that Post 580 is one of the most diverse chapters in America.  He stated that patrons from other faiths joined because of the humanitarian work that we do on behalf of veterans.  “Anyone can join as a Patron member; you do not have to be a veteran or Jewish,” said Gothard.  Post 580 is currently doing a membership drive for 2017 to 2018, where the post will provide the dues for new members and give them a free service cap.  For more information, please contact Judge Gothard at

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

By PNC Lawrence Schulman

On May 24, 2017, Gary Ginsburg and I visited West Point for their annual Baccalaureate Service for the class of 2017.  Our post, David J Kauffman Post 41, has sponsored the refreshments at the Baccalaureate Service in the West Point Jewish Chapel for over 30 years.

This year, the Jewish graduating class consisted of 15 cadets – 1 woman and 14 men.  The cadets come from all over the United States, including New York State as well as the State of Washington.  Their first assignments range from Elgin Air Force Base to the Graduate School at MIT.

The ceremony opened with a Wall Dedication Ceremony, where the graduates’ names are added to the Wall of Names in the chapel.  If you remember our history with West Point, one half of the first class of graduates were Jewish – that class graduated with two officers and one was Jewish!

This year, a new Jewish chaplain was appointed – Captain David Ruderman.  They rotate Jewish chaplains every three or four years.

The service consist of a welcome to those in attendance, invocation by the chaplain, music by the Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir and a keynote address by an alumni of West Point.

This year’s speaker was BG Cindy Jebb, USMA Class of 1982.  BG Jebb serves as the 14th Dean of the Academic Board.  She has served in many positions in the Army – starting a s a military intelligence officer to service as a member on the Foreign Relations Council.

After his keynote address, LTC (R) Walter Stern and Bernard Stotch from the JWV Department of New York presented Kiddush cups to the men and candlestick holders to the female graduate and copies of Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Telushkin.

Department of New York was sponsored the Friday night Onegs at West Point for over fifty years.  Many posts and other departments join in to make this possible.  If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Post 41 for more information.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

By Mort Millinger

At the 86th JWV Department of New Jersey Annual Convention, the Leo A. Seigel – Dr. Philip Shapiro Education Grants were awarded to three deserving recipients – Austin Grant, Joshua Schuman and Eric Schneider.  All are direct descendants of JWV members, and we could not be prouder of their education, athletic and community accomplishments that contributed them to getting these awards.

The JWV NJ Education Grant program awards these grants annually to graduating seniors from public or private high schools in the state of New Jersey.  All applicants must be a direct descendent of a member, living or deceased, of a Jewish War Veterans Post in New Jersey for a minimum of three years.

This year’s recipients are a prestigious group of young adults, and we know that they will go on to do great things for our community as well as the United States. Austin Grant of Verona, NJ, will be attending Duke University. Joshua Schuman of West Orange, NJ will be attending the University of Delaware.  Lastly, Eric Schneider of Livingston, NJ will be attending the University of Maryland.  Congratulations Austin, Joshua and Eric!  Now, go make us proud!

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

Oceanfest, in Long Branch NJ, “Down the Jersey Shore,”   is a 27-year old July 4th celebration organized by the Greater Long Branch Chamber of Commerce. July 4th festivities there have resurged with vigor since the revitalization of the beachfront promenade following the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Under perfect skies this year, the holiday crowd was estimated at more than one hundred thousand for the day-long event and evening fireworks display.

Participating at Oceanfest again this year, as it has done over the past decade (except for Saturday occurrences of Independence Day), JWV Jersey Shore Post 125 set up its public service booth in an ideally situated assigned location and staffed it with a hard-working cadre of volunteers to raise funds for veterans’ support services in the state and to interact with the public in increasing awareness of JWV activities on behalf of veterans’ affairs. Post 125’s contingent, led by Post Commander Dr. Allan Solden, was joined by visits from Dept. of NJ Commander Al Adler and PDC Bob Jacobs. A sudden change in travel plans prevented a scheduled visit by National Commander Carl Singer who, a decade earlier, as Department of New Jersey Commander, was instrumental in launching JWV participation in the Long Branch event.

Post 125’s Oceanfest event organizer and Honorary Dept. Commander, Gerald Levine, in summarizing the success of the day’s activities this year, observed that the stream of friendly visitors at the booth was unabated, even into the late afternoon moments as the team was closing down. Those who visited the booth represented a full spectrum of American society. Post 125’s team felt especially gratified by the seemingly endless stream of greetings that included, “Thank you for your service.” It was clear that these words flowed from the hearts of individuals, family groups, the young, their parents, and the young-at-heart, who stopped by to say hello, to contribute, and to express their gratitude to America’s community of veterans. JWV Jersey Shore Post 125 was proud to represent that community at Oceanfest.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

By Art Kaplan

The Harvey J. Bloom Post 256 in Dallas met their local Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts at the Dallas Jewish Community Center in order to honor our fallen Veterans at 3 area cemeteries.  There were 32 volunteers present, and they all went to the Shearith Israel Cemetery on Dolphin Rd.  Back in 1955, Post 256 sponsored a monument honoring our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in order to preserve our American way of life.

A few words were spoken by TALO Commander Art Kaplan, and then NEC, PDC Jerry Benjamin played TAPS.  After the ceremony, the Boy Scouts alongside the JWV members proceeded to put flags on the graves of our Veterans.

After Shearith Israel Cemetery ceremony was complete, some of the group went on to Temple Emanu-El’s Cemetery on Lemmon Ave and some went to Sparkman Hillcrest Cemetery to put flags on the Veterans graves there.  “The day was a humbling experience knowing what these deceased Veterans did for us to be able to enjoy all the freedoms that America has to offer,” said Art Kaplan, Commander of TALO.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

By Carl Singer

I just returned home from doing a Mitzvah.

One of my other volunteer “hats” is county chair for ESGR – the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.  ESGR is a Department of Defense organization that addresses the needs of Guard and Reserve service members and their employers.  (See:  for information.)  As such along with other veterans-oriented volunteers I attend meetings coordinated by the Catholic Family and Community Services Supportive Services for Veterans and Families (SSVF).  David Pearson does a unbelievable job as their Assistant Director of Veterans Services.  Last week I received an email from David that a veteran who lives in the Paterson Park Apartments (New Jersey) had been mugged and robbed – both his money and his bicycle had been stolen.  For this veteran his bicycle is not recreational, but his primary means of transportation.

Like many empty nesters I have a few bicycles gathering dust at home.  So I contacted Michele Kadell who is the Senior Case Manager at Paterson Park Apartments which provides “Permanent Supportive Housing for Homeless and/or Disabled Veterans.”  Michelle runs a wonderful apartment complex for veterans.  This complex which is private/public funded provides a home to both male and female veterans (and in some cases their families.)  As you’ll recall in my testimony before the joint Senate/House Veterans Affairs Committee – “One homeless veteran is one too many!”

I teamed up with a friend of mine, Paul Anderson, (SgtMaj U.S. Marine Corps, Retired) who helped me fix up my son’s bicycle and we then were able to deliver the bike today.

It shows again that little things mean a lot – helping veterans on a 1 to 1 basis is important.

Pictured below are the bicycle and (from left to right) me, Paul and our veteran, Gary.

God Bless the United States of America.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

By Steve Markman

It would be difficult for any major museum, or other major public attraction for that matter, to function without an army of dedicated volunteers.  The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just outside of Dayton, Ohio, is no exception.  While visitors will see staff members just about everywhere they venture in the Museum’s four massive buildings, just about all of them are volunteers.  From the Information Desk at the entrance to docents stationed at most of the exhibits, and others throughout the complex, most staff that a visitor will see are volunteers.

Members of Jewish War Veterans Post 587 always have supported the Museum.  Currently, six members serve in various roles throughout the complex, which is the largest military museum in the world.

Three members volunteer in the Holocaust exhibit:  Ira Segalewitz, Henry Guggenheimer, and Joe Bettman.  Ira and Henry are Holocaust survivors and routinely tell of their personal experiences from this sad era to large groups of school children.  Both also are Army veterans of the Korean War.  Joe Bettman has visited two former concentration camps and relates his thoughts of this experience to Museum visitors.

Leslie Buerke and Bert Cream serve as docents in different galleries throughout the Museum.  They study about the aircraft and artifacts in their areas and are ready to answer the m  ost-often asked questions from the public (Getting stumped usually results in their researching the question to be better prepared for the next time).  Bert always is ready to answer technical questions based on this thirty-six years experience in military aviation R&D.  Their duties also include watching for any problems visitors may have and providing assistance or calling in professional staff as needed.

Steve Markman, former Post 587 Commander and now Dept of Ohio Commander, volunteers in the Restoration Division.  He works out of sight of the public, helping to prepare aircraft for display.  For over ten years, Steve has been restoring the historic Memphis Belle.  The Memphis Belle was the first U.S. Army Air Forces heavy bomber to return to the U.S. after completing 25 missions over Europe.  (The Memphis Belle will go on public display in May of 2018.)

A seventh member, Felix Weil, who escaped Europe on the Kindertransport, also volunteered as a docent, but recently left the area to be closer to family.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

On September 16th, David Hymes will mark his centennial birthday. Most of us know David as our Past National Commander, but I got the opportunity to sit down and speak with him about his story for the past 100 years.

According to David, he was born on the kitchen table. “My mother couldn’t leave my sister alone in the apartment, and my dad was away working. To be honest, I don’t even know if we could have afforded to go to the hospital. So, I was born right there,” said David. David grew up on the West Side of Chicago, and he went to Marshall High School. His parents owned a small produce store that they both worked at 7 days a week. “We weren’t rich, but we always had food on the table,” he said.

“I wanted to study dentistry, but my parents couldn’t support it,” said David. After he graduated high school, he ended up getting a job at the local post office while he attended Northwestern at night. He studied for 6 years, and he graduated as an accountant or, as David calls it, “a Jewish engineer”.

After graduating, David and his friend rented a car, and they took a trip to Denver. The day after they drove back was the day that David’s draft number was picked. While he was at basic training, Pearl Harbor was hit, and as he put it, “my two year mandatory service turned into a four year mandatory service.”

He first got stationed in Panama, and he was able to transfer to Finance. After he reached sergeant, David was able to attend Officer Candidate School, and he obtained the rank of second lieutenant. He spent sometimes in the states before he was transferred to SHEAF headquarters in Europe.

“When I arrived there, I asked the guy what my job was going to be. He told me that I was going to be a postal finance officer, and I asked him what the hell a postal finance officer was. He said, ‘I heard you had a degree in finance and that you worked in a post office.’ I said yes, and he said, ‘there you go.’” He was in charge of getting supplies for different units that were in combat on the European front. While on duty, Mr. Hymes was shot in the arm, and he was hospitalized for nine months. He was discharged from the Army when he finished his rehab, and according to David, “I did not go back to the post office.”

The first job that David applied for was an accounting job. In those days, you had to put your religion on your application, and when he went for the interview, the manager said that they did not hire Jews. David told me that he said some things that would have not made his mother proud. However, he got another interview lined up for an accounting position at a liquor distribution company, and he ended up working there for a couple of years.

Around that time, David met his wife, Evaline, and they found an apartment in Hyde Park, Chicago. They ended up having two daughters. He also went into business with his brother in law, where he worked until he was 90.

He joined JWV in 1963, and he helped form the Dr. Samuel Pearlman Post 800 in 1967. He served as the Post Commander from 1970-1972. He subsequently was elected to the Illinois Department Commander in 1976. He served on the National Executive Committee from 1976 to 1994. He was then elected to National Commander in 1994. He also has served on the National Museum of American Jewish Military History’s board of directors.

David’s wife, Evaline, passed away in 2004, and David said he sold his house for an apartment in Chicago. He ended up retiring 3 years later. “I mailed all my accounts, and I told them that their accounts had been paid in full because I was retiring,” said David. He says his grandson is getting married in September, and he cannot wait to be there.

Volume 71. Number 3. Fall 2017

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