Being Jewish in the Military
There is a story about George Washington and a Jewish private, Michael Hart, who inspired George Washington with a candle. As the story goes, General George Washington and his troops were cold and hungry during the Winter of 1777 at Valley Forge. Washington went out to visit his troops, and lo and behold, he saw one of his troops sitting above two tiny flames. He asked the private what he was doing, and Private Hart told Washington about the story of Hannukah – the victory of a tiny nation over a large tyrannous empire. The story ends with Washington thanking the soldier, and he returned to his tent inspired to fight another day.
Here at JWV, we know that being a religious Jew in the military can give strength and hope to the men and women around you. From Private Hart to Private Daniel Agami of the Iraq War, Jewish troops have been inspiring their units to be better and to continue to fight for what is right.
It is our hope that these new Jewish graduates will be inspired to keep alive their Judaism within the military, and we are always here to help throughout their career and beyond.
How to get your own Kiddush Cup?
Every spring, JWV National gifts personalized Kiddush cups to the Jewish graduating cadets of the four military academies. This program is designed to recognize their hard work and achievement, and let the cadets know that the Jewish War Veterans is a resource.
To receive the Kiddush cups, the cadets and their command can reach out to JWV, and let us know how many Jewish cadets they have in their graduating class.
In addition, graduates are eligible for free membership as active duty service members. We encourage the new graduates to join, as JWV can serve as a support system during their time in the military. We are here for our service members and make it our duty to help them any way we can.
If you would like to help support this program, you can donate online, over the phone, or by mail. To ensure that your support goes to this program, note that the donation is for the “Kiddush Cup Program.”
New York Post Sponsors West Point Graduation
On May 24, 2017, members of the David J. Kauffman Post 41 helped sponsor the graduation of the West Point Jewish cadets in the West Point Jewish Chapel, which they have been participating in for over 30 years.
The Jewish graduating class consisted of 15 cadets – 1 woman and 14 men. Their first assignments range from Eglin Air Force Base to 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!
The service consisted of a welcome to those in attendance, invocation by the chaplain, music by the Jewish Chapel Cadet Choir, and a keynote address by an alumnus 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 as a military intelligence officer to service as a member on the Foreign Relations Council.
After her keynote address, LTC (R) Walter Stern and Bernhard Storch from the JWV Department of New York presented Kiddush cups and copies of Jewish Literacy by Rabbi Telushkin to the graduates.