Members of Post 157 participate in Color Guard at Benjamin Rutstein Commemoration.

By Barry Lischinsky, JWV Membership Chairman

One of our biggest missions at JWV is to remind the Jewish community that Jews do serve in the U.S. Armed Forces and in so doing, we remind the world that Jews have served in the Armed Forces of many nations.  So, with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice fast approaching, we are speaking to Jewish communities across the nation about the vast and great history of Jewish service during World War I.

JWV Members with Boston Veterans Affairs Commissioner Fransisco Urena

On July 15, 1918, Private Benjamin Rutstein, a Boston native, was killed in action fighting the German army on the French-German border.  Pvt. Benjamin, served in the 167th Infantry Regiment, 42nd Division, and was 23 at the time of his death. Before volunteering for the army, Pvt. Rutstein had worked as a newsboy for the Boston Globe. Pvt. Rutstein is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American military cemetery, near to where he died.

In his memory, a memorial was erected on 20 Staniford Street in downtown Boston, and it is named the Benjamin Rutstein Square.

In commemoration of the centennial of his death, there was a ceremony at the memorial, at 20 Staniford Street, on Friday, July 20th at 11:00 AM.  At that time, the Consul General of France, Mr. Valery Freland, offered remarks to honor the deceased.  Additional speakers at this event included representatives from both the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts, as well as his nephew, 100-year old WWII veteran David Levenson, a long-time resident of Framingham. Representatives from the Jewish War Veterans Post 157 were be on hand to present the Honor Guard.  They played an essential part in the service, all in order to remember and teach the next generation that Private Benjamin Rutstein was not merely a street sign in Boston.

It is because of the sacrifices of Jews like Private Benjamin Rutstein that we have the freedoms we enjoy today, and it is our duty at JWV to teach this important history to the next generation.  This is why we are asking you to call your local JCC, synagogue, school or other Jewish center and tell them to get a speaker through JWV’s Project Maggid program completely free.  We are trying to teach this next generation about the proud service of Jews in World War I and beyond.  If you need any help, contact the JWV Programs Department.

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018