Project Maggid has been a part of JWV since it’s founding. The first members of JWV got together in response to an article from Mark Twain that stated Jews did not serve in the Civil War. They did serve, and they told their story to whoever would listen. Thus, starting our long and rich history of telling our story.
Project Maggid is the newest incarnation of JWV’s Storyteller Program. Our members go out into their communities and tell the story of the American Jewish Warrior. In 2016, our members told hundreds of stories to their local synagogues, schools, community centers and local veteran’s organizations. The National Headquarters also can provide materials to local veterans about Jewish Military History.
Our museum, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, is located in Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. The Museum’s mission is to tell the story of the American Jewish Warrior as well as preserve the story of American Jewish Fighters. The Museum is open to group tours, and hosts schools from around the nation in order to teach them about the history of our people. Our Museum is full of materials for teachers and students to learn more about Jewish Military History.
What are Maggidim?
Maggidim were Jewish storytellers that wandered from town to town, speaking and teaching in marketplaces or wherever people would congregate. They delivered powerful and soulful stories that revitalized Judaism as we know it.
The word Maggid means storyteller, and here at JWV, our members have some great stories to tell. We like to think of them as our own Maggidim, who are willing to inspire anyone willing to hear.
What are our Maggidim’s experiences?
At JWV, we are very proud to say that we are the Veteran’s Service Organization with the longest legacy. We have had members from the Civil War to members in today’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Currently, we have living members from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Depending on your location, we are able to provide storytellers to your organization from each of these conflicts.
In addition, we have Maggidim who know a lot about the history of Jews in the United States military, which goes all the way back to Asser Levy.
Why have a maggid come and speak to your organization?
There are many veterans coming home who feel like no one wants to hear about their story, but we know that it is good for veterans to talk about what happened “over there.” This is not only for our veterans. We as Americans can bridge the military-civilian divide and make the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan a shared American experience. In some ways, this can make our veterans feel less alone. We owe it to our veterans to understand where they are coming from and to make them part of our community. Together, we can help them overcome their problems, and they can teach us about what it means to serve something greater than themselves.
How to get a Maggid to come speak to your organization?
If you wish to request a Maggid for your organization, please contact the Programs Department at 202-265-6280 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will try to accommodate your organization’s needs the best we can, but our Maggidim’s experiences and knowledge are subject to location.