By Adam Goldberg, Post 158 Commander
Jewish War Veterans (JWV) Post 158 of Southeastern Virginia had the honor of co-sponsoring the Hampton Roads Veterans Day parade and ceremony with the Hampton Roads Council of Veterans Organizations (HRCVO) in Virginia Beach, Nov. 12. This year’s festivities being significant due to the 100th year anniversary of the end of World War I which was the origins of Veterans Day previously known as Armistice Day.
The parades grand marshal was retired Chief Petty Officer Robert Freitag, past president of HRCVO and the co-marshal was Michael Berman, esq., past National Commander of JWV.
During the ceremony invocation Rabbi Sender Haber, lead rabbi of B’nai Israel Congregation of Norfolk, VA, and JWV Post 158 Chaplain recounted a message from Mrs. Kitty Saks, a member of B’nai Israel and holocaust survivor.
“She called me after the terrible shooting in Pittsburgh last week and she said I remember 80 years ago standing at a window on November 9th 1938 during Kristallnacht,” said Rabbi Haber. “Glass was shattering in Jewish homes, Jewish door fronts. We waited for my father to come home and nobody cared, nobody defended us, nobody took care of us. Here I am 80 years later in the United States of America and a synagogue is attacked and I don’t stop getting letters, messages, emails and calls from neighbors and friends in America.”
The parade was followed by a ceremony that included a wreath-laying presentation, offered by various veteran service organizations, and a ceremonious gun salute by the Virginia Beach Police Department in honor of Veterans Day.
“We need to thank god every day that we live in the United States of America,” said Rabbi Haber. “We need to thank god for our neighbors, for our government and most of all for our veterans who give their lives not only to protect us but to protect our freedom to worship to believe and take care of one another.”
Michael Berman, esq., was the guest speaker during the luncheon and talked about the alarming suicide rate of veterans.
“We are losing 20 veterans a day. You who serve, I ask a small favor,” said Berman. “If you know someone who is approaching that, you can tell. They may divest themselves of their possessions, they may hear ghosts at night, they may wake up with the sweats, they may say I can’t take it anymore there is too much in my mind I have to get out of here somehow. So if you know someone in that area, buddy up to them. You can’t do it alone. They need professional help and we are not professional help but we are their friends and sometimes their confidant… talk to them, let them know you care.”
This year’s Veterans Day proclamation also included special recognition of the Jewish War Veterans honor, integrity and supremacy to the United States.
The JWV is the voice of the Jewish service member and friend to all veterans. Formed in New York in 1896 after the Spanish American War, the Jewish veteran group was known as the Hebrew Union Veterans Association. The union fought anti-Semitism in the Armed Forces and the general public. Seeking to prove that Jews do proudly serve and fight in the US Armed Forces, the union evolved with each war, eventually taking the name we know today – JWV. With over 120 years of service, JWV is the oldest, continuously operating Veteran Service
Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018