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By COL Herb Rosenbleeth, USA (Ret)
National Executive Director

COL Herb Rosenbleeth, USA (Ret), National Executive Director

JWV National Executive Committee (NEC) members “stormed the Hill” February 13th and 14th, and met with their Senators and Representatives to discuss our key legislative issues. Led by National Commander Dr. Barry J. Schneider, our leadership walked the halls of Congress wearing their JWV caps and recommitted our support for all veterans.
For the most part, JWV’s key issues are developed by our Resolutions Committee and then voted on at our National Convention.

Our NEC members, who converge upon Washington, D.C., from throughout the country, study the issues. For example, our New Jersey delegation met with the legislative staff of Senators Cory Booker, Bob Menendez, Congressmen Tom Malinkowski, Bill Pascrell, Albio Sires, and Chris Smith. They met with and had their picture taken with Congressmen Van Drew, Malinkowski, Pascrell, and Smith.

Our legislative priorites include:
1. Suicide Prevention
2. Veteran Homelessness
3. Burn Pit Accountability
4. Legislation regarding Blue Water Navy Veterans
5. GI Bill Accountability
6. Support for Israel
7. POW/MIA accountability

The JWV Florida delegation met with Congressman Brian Mast, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Of special interest to JWV, Congressman Mast volunteered with the Israel Defense Forces, working at a base near Tel Aviv, packing medical kits and moving supplies. Pictured from left: PNC David Magidson, PDC Richard Rosenzweig, DC Alan Paley, PNC Ainslee Ferdie, Congressman Brian Mast, PNC Dr. Robert Pickard, and PDC Gerald Rennert.

In speaking with many of our legislators we were able to express our concern regarding Rep. Omar’s anti-Semitic comments and many of our Congress members shared with us their comments and statements on this issue and JWV issued a strong press release regarding Rep. Omar.

Our Florida delegation hit the Hill with 20 confirmed appointments. In each Senate and House office, the Florida group discussed three categories of topics – the military, Israel, and veterans. Additionally, they spoke about support for Israel, and this year, they spoke in detail about the anti-Semitic remarks recently made by one of the new members of Congress.

The Florida delegation closed by speaking about veterans issues. They handed a copy of JWV’s Legislative Priorities to each member and then went into detail about concerns that one or more of JWV members have with either veteran’s benefits or the Veterans Administration.

The Florida contingent is always well received, and every legislator that they met with thanked us for our military service.
Capitol Hill Action Days are two very exciting and intense days. It is an opportunity that I urge every member of JWV to experience, at least once.

During our Capitol Hill Action Days, PNC Dr. Robert Pickard arranged a JWV visit to the Office of the Secretary of the VA, the Honorable Robert Wilke. While not on the Hill, the VA’s backing is crucial to the passage of many legislative proposals. The JWV group met with 7 lay VA executives, led by Jason Beardsley, a Special Assistant to Secretary Wilke.

JWV Capitol Hill Action Days fully conclude when NC Schneider presents JWV’s legislative priorities to a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs.

Volume 73. Number 1. 2019

By Chaplain (COL) Larry Bazer

After almost 30 years in the military, I’m still amazed with the surprise of people learning that I’m actually a soldier or more specifically—National Guardsman, and a rabbi! I even get, “You mean the Israeli Army, right?” “No, I’m in the US Military. I’m a United States Army officer and Jewish Chaplain.”

Jewish have served in the American armed forces since the Revolutionary War. During war and peace time, rabbis have marched, sailed, or flown along with our brave American troops, caring for both Jews and Gentiles. There are Jewish chaplains on full-time active duty and others with both Reserve components, either Reserve or National Guard. Only the Army and Air Force have both Reserve and National Guard, Navy and Marines only have the Reserve.

What do Jewish chaplains do? Pretty much the same as any chaplain, regardless of religious denomination. We all care for the living, we also counsel, visit, or tend to those in need, or the most sacred work, honor the dead. We do both staff officer and clergy work. When I was deployed to Afghanistan the second half of 2011, I was on my commanding general’s special staff, and I was the only Jewish chaplain in the entire operational theater. One of the most memorable experiences I had was leading a Hanukkah Menorah lighting on my base, Camp Phoenix in Kabul. On a cold, wintery night, twenty-five people gathered around a five foot Hanukkiyah I had specially built. We were from all branches of service as well as government contractors. Not everyone who attended was even Jewish. I was proud to lead them in the blessings and songs. We finished up by feasting on latkes and sufganiyot (jelly donuts). This scene was replicated all over the world on military bases or ships by Jewish chaplains or lay leaders. All were serving our nation as Jewish military personnel.

Presently, I’m serving on active duty at the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, VA, after being a full-time pulpit rabbi for 25 years. For most of my military career I was part-time in both the Massachusetts and New York Army National Guard. I was a “weekend warrior…minus Shabbat.” I, like many Reserve Component rabbis, held other positions like pulpit, education, or hospital chaplaincy. When in uniform, I delivered prayers at many military ceremonies, or did counseling, or even gave the hamotzi at JWV events. In my present role, I’m overseeing the religious response mission of the National Guard’s domestic response or its State Partnership program with other nations’ armed forces. Luckily, I still get to teach some Jewish text or lead Hanukkah celebrations at the Guard Bureau or even at the Pentagon.

This coming April will be 30 years since I raised my right hand in the Jerusalem Consulate of the United States Embassy and took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States as an army officer. Ever since that sacred moment, I’m proud to wear the uniform of an US Army officer. I’m proud to wear the Jewish chaplain’s tablets on my uniform. I’m proud to be military combat veteran, and I’m proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow Jewish War Vets, all of us, members at one time, of our United States military! For God and Country!

Chaplain (COL) Larry Bazer is the Deputy Director of the National Guard Bureau-Office of the Joint Chaplain. Prior to serving on active duty, he was the Joint Forces State Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard and the rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom in Framingham, MA. He is still a proud member of Framingham/Natick JWV Chapter and MA Jewish War Veterans.

Volume 73. Number 1. 2019

 

A protest held July 26, 2017 in Times Square outside the U.S. Army Recruiting Center in response to President Trump tweeting that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. Photo by Jere Keys, New York City, USA.

By Harvey Weiner,
JWV National Judge Advocate

Jews, as a community, have always been willing to fight for this country, even prior to its official beginning. Over 360 years ago, when those first 23 Jews came in 1654 from Recife, Brazil, to settle in New Amsterdam, now known as New York City, they were not welcomed by Governor Peter Stuyvesant, he of the well-known peg leg. Nevertheless, they were allowed to stay and some months later, Asser Levy, one of the initial 23 Jewish immigrants, protested to Stuyvesant that Jews were not allowed to stand guard. According to Stuyvesant, the reason why he did not want a Jew to stand guard was because of the discrimination and unwillingness of local residents to serve as fellow soldiers with the Jewish nation and to be on guard with them in the same guard house.Levy insisted however, that, as a manual laborer, he should be able to stand guard like everyone else. Levy appealed to some of the Jewish shareholders of the Dutch East India Company, which owned New Amsterdam and, within two years, Levy had succeeded in standing watch and ward, like the others.

On July 26, 2017, President Trump announced in a series of tweets that transgender troops would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, reversing the policy of the Department of Defense. A formal Presidential Memorandum followed on August 25, 2017. JWV National Commander Carl A. Singer issued a statement on behalf of the JWV opposing this new discriminatory policy. Suit was brought by the transgender community in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent the Trump Memorandum and its subsequent progeny from being implemented. Doe v. Trump, CA No. 17-1597 (CKK). A preliminary injunction was issued preventing this discriminatory policy from going into effect. This injunction was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in January.

The Trump administration has appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the merits. The JWV was asked by Mary Bonauto, the “Thurgood Marshall” of the LGBTQ movement, if it would be willing to file an Amicus brief in light of Commander Singer’s statement and the JWV agreed. The JWV, along with several other veterans groups, filed a supporting brief on October 29, 2018 with oral argument expected to take place in December, 2018. However, the major veterans groups chose not to join in.

The appeal focuses on the limits of the power of the President as Commander in Chief. Not needing to repeat this legal argument, the JWV brief focused on policy arguments. The proposed ban would make military units weaker, not stronger, because unit cohesion is the product of values and experiences shared by those who serve, and permitting openly transgender personnel to serve does not hinder unit cohesion, but rather enhances it. Furthermore, the proposed ban would arbitrarily exclude capable individuals who are willing to serve their country and would demean all who serve.
“When you are in the military, no one thinks of you as black, or Asian, or gay, or transgender. These are life-and-death situations, and people are just thinking about whether you can do your job and have their backs. Being a service member overshadows any other identity you have.”

A major reason for the transgender ban is undoubtedly similar to the reasons why Asser Levy was initially forbidden to stand guard over 360 years ago, (i.e., others who serve wouldn’t like it). And today, such discrimination based on religious or gender identity is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution. Levy would not have had to appeal to the Netherlands had his situation arose today. He would have had the rule of law on his side.
The right to serve in the military is a value kept alive by the JWV.

Volume 73. Number 1. 2019

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) strongly condemns the comments and hate-filled language espoused by Alabama 5th District Representative Mo Brooks. On March 25th, 2019, Representative Brooks quoted Adolf Hitler to describe the attacks that President Trump faced from “socialist Democrats and their fake news media allies”. He then proceeded to continue with an English translation of a passage on the strategy of the “big lie of the Jews” from his 1925 book Mein Kampf. These comments were factually incorrect and inappropriate. While all elected leaders as well as private citizens do have the right to make strong and impassioned comments, speeches and addresses about topics of importance, Representative Brooks’ comments deserve scrutiny and are highly inappropriate for any elected leader to use in a public forum.

Representative Brooks espoused the hateful language of a fascist dictator who endorsed and ensured the systematic slaughter of innocent people. The citizens under Hitler’s regime were dehumanized and considered “inferior” by his administration, and this dehumanization was an important step towards the facilitation of mass genocide. The use of Mein Kampf passages in a manner other than for purposes of historical education, especially to deride political opponents, was completely out of line and unacceptable.

We, The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, are requesting that Representative Brooks be reprimanded and/or censured for his comments. These comments do not reflect the values of this organization or our nation, nor should they ever.

The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. (JWV) strongly condemns the anti-Semitic comments, tweets and hate-filled language espoused by Minnesota 5th District Representative Ilhan Omar. We’re angered by the attacks on Jewish elected leaders and organizations, and find that her comments are completely unacceptable for any person assigned to any committee, but most especially the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

In her time as the representative of Minnesota’s 5th District, she has been linked to organizations that have known deep terrorism ties and has been quoted attacking and intimidating people and organizations that are pro-Israel.

We, the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. are requesting that Representative Omar be removed from her position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and be reprimanded for her comments, which do not reflect the values of our organization or our nation.

Post/Command: Post 158 Old Dominion of Tidewater (effectively Southeast Virginia)

Current Residence: Norfolk, VA

Military Service dates: 1999-2019 (from 1995-1999 I was enlisted in the reserves while attending college)

Member since year:  Oh, around about 2006’ish tried to work with the post in Jacksonville Florida, but nothing ever came of it.

  1. When and why did you serve in the military?

– Enlisted in the reserves in 1995 and commissioned in 1999.  It is our duty as Americans to serve our country in one form or another.  For me, it seemed like a good fit to do this through naval service vice some other civil service.  But, if you ask my good Jewish mother (sorry to keep referencing her but she is prolific in my life) I did it just to upset her.  I’ve never disputed that claim.

  1. How did you get introduced to JWV?

– I do not remember, just heard about it one day while stationed in San Diego, I was on sea duty with 1, 2, 3, 5 small children so did not follow up with it till much later.

  1. What is a program that JWV offers, in which you would like to be more involved with, and why?

– The main mission, Veterans Affairs.

  1. What is an American tradition that makes you the proudest?

– Being an American, there is a lot to be proud of.

  1. What is the best military Jewish holiday story you have?

– There I was in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba it was the 5th night of Hanukkah 2008 and my ship had bulled in for a brief refueling and resupplying.  There was a cool breeze blowing off of the Caribbean through the old battle field that was the Cuzco Well, and shaking the windows of the O’Kelly’s Irish Pub where my local detachment of American Jews had lit the menorah for the fifth night.  Through the flicker of these holy lights USMC Sargent C. Fox commenced to debrief the story of Hanukkah as only a Jewish Marine from West Virginia could…  I have tried to tell his story over again cleaning out the language and “civilian-izing” it, but it does not have the same comical punch to it!  This kid got so into telling the story about Judah Maccabi set up irregular gorilla operations against the Syrians through physical gestures (theatrics) of mock up squad  tactics (he got fellow Sailors and Marines to participate) and close order combat.  He really got into it.  We laughed so hard, I don’t think I had ever heard or seen anything so funny in my entire life!  Give me some time and I will try to recreate it….  It was funny.

  1. What is your favorite movie about the military and does it relate with your experience in the military?

– First off, any movie with John Wayne is top!  “In Harm’s Way,” “They Were Expendable,” “Operation Pacific,” et cetera!  But if you want a movie my wife says represents me it would be “The Last Detail.”  She says they managed to break my personality down into the three main characters.  Truth is my career has been more of a “Down Periscope” than anything else.

  1. Do you prefer Latkes or donuts on Hanukkah?

– Bourbon, was that a choice?

Cub Scout Pack 210 proudly display their new Scout Pack charter. The charter is the first Shomer Shabbat/Kosher Cub Scout Family Pack in the nation.

By Stephen Troy, Post 210-AZ

December 2, 2018 was a very special day for the Jewish Community in Phoenix as the first Shomer Shabbat / Kosher Cub Scout Family Pack in the nation was chartered. A Family Pack is a new concept in scouting where both boys and girls are in the same pack and can earn the same awards, however in our pack they are in separate dens.

The Ceremony was held at Beth El Congregation in Phoenix. Many scouting executives of the Grand Canyon Council of the Scouts of America were in attendance.

The ceremony began with Cubmaster Gavi Tabor welcoming everyone and having the Cub Scouts lead in the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag, the Scout Oath and the Scout Law. Herb Cohn, from the Catalina Council Jewish Committee on Scouting in Tucson, gave the opening prayer. This was the first day of Chanukah and Bennett Cooper, the Ritual Vice President of Beth El, with the assistance of Andy Price, the new scout executive for the Grand Canyon Council, lit the first candle for the beginning of the holiday

Fernando Gomez, executive with the Central District Scouts of America, presented Anita Gettleson, Chair of the Grand Canyon Council Jewish Committee on Scouting, with an award for founding the new Cub Pack.

After that, Shari Judah, the Cub Pack advancement chair, presented the Bobcat Award to several of the Scouts.

Andy Price, the new scout executive for the Grand canyon Council of Phoenix, presented Major Steven Troy of JWV Post 210 and the chartered organization representative of the Pack with the official charter.

After the ceremony the Scout project for the night was to make Menorahs.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Medal of Honor. Photo Credit: Netflix.

by Harrison Heller, Membership Coordinator

On November 9, Netflix premiered its new docuseries entitled Medal of Honor. The series shares the stories of eight veterans who served from World War II to the Global War on Terror. For season one, Medal of Honor features the stories of: SGT. Sylvester Antolak (WW2), SSGT. Clint Romesha (Afghanistan), SFC. Edward Carter (WW2), SSGT. Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura (Korea), MSG. Vito Bertoldo (WW2), CPL. Joseph Vittori (Korea), CMSGT. Richard L. Etchberger (Vietnam) and SSGT. Ty M. Carter (Afghanistan).

Each episode is an individual story and details “the worst day of their lives”. The stories are re-enacted and told by military historians, witnesses, and sometimes even the recipient. Medal of Honor shares some amazing stories about some of our nation’s bravest heroes. The stories of Staff Sergeants Clint Romesha and Ty Carter are from the same battle, a Taliban assault on Combat Outpost Keating. This is the first time since Vietnam that the Medal of Honor was awarded to two survivors of the same battle. Medal of Honor is a must watch and a must binge.

One story that truly stood out to me was that of Staff Sergeant Edward Carter, Jr. The child of an African American father and East Indian mother, Carter was raised in India and Shanghai, China. Carter’s parents were missionaries and were constantly on the move. Edward Carter was a born soldier. In 1932 he ran away from home to serve with the Chinese Nationalist Army. After it was discovered that he was only 15, he was forced to leave the Nationalist Army. A short time later, he found his way to Europe and served in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. The Lincoln Brigade was a group of American volunteers who served in the Spanish Civil War, which fought against the regime of General Francisco Franco.

In 1941, Edward Carter entered the Army. Due to his previous combat experience, Carter stood out among the other recruits and in less than year, he achieved the rank of staff sergeant. In 1944, he was deployed to Europe and was assigned to supply duties. General Eisenhower ran short of combat-arms replacements in December 1944 and instituted the volunteer Ground Force Replacement Command for rear-echelon soldiers of all races. At the height of Carter’s career, he served as one of General George S. Patton’s guards.

After months of volunteering, Carter’s platoon made it to the frontlines and was assigned to the “Mystery Division”. When Carter was assigned to this unit, he went from staff sergeant to a private. This was because his superiors would not allow an African American to command white troops. One thing to keep in mind, America was fighting one of the most racist regimes in world history, Nazi Germany, yet our own military was still segregated.

On March 23, 1945, while scouting with his platoon, the tank that was carrying Carter was hit by bazooka fire. Carter quickly dismounted,confronted his superior officer and asked to go across and examine a nearby open field, where he noticed a mortar crew and 2 machine gun nests. The officer first told him no, due to his rank. Carter replied that he held the rank of staff sergeant before going to the frontlines.

Carter entered the open field with three other African American troops. In the field, Carter was able to get a better view of the situation. He told his troops to run back and that he will continue forward. Two of his troops were killed and one was severely wounded. Carter continued deeper into the open field alone. He was wounded five times before taking cover. As eight German soldiers scan the field in an attempt to capture Carter, he sprung up and killed six Germans and captured two. While limping and using the two captured Germans as a shield, he was able to interrogate them. The Germans gave Carter valuable information on enemy-troop positions. For this Carter was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He was also awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, and many other citations and awards.

In 1949 Edward Carter tried to re-enlist in the Army. Due to unfounded allegations, as a result of his time serving with the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, he was denied. They believed that he had communist contacts and allegiances. Carter died of lung cancer on January 30, 1963, attributed to shrapnel remaining in his neck. He was 47 years old. He was buried in Sawtelle National Cemetery in Los Angeles.

In 1992, John Shannon, Secretary of the Army, commissioned an independent study to identify unrecognized African American heroes from World War II. The study was completed in 1996, under the name “The Exclusion of Black Soldiers from the Medal of Honor in World War II.” On January 13, 1997, SSgt Edward Allen Carter, Jr’s Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton at a White House ceremony. SSgt Carter’s body was exhumed and relocated to Arlington National Cemetery, where he was laid to rest with full honors.

As part of the new Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, there is a hall dedicated to the many African Americans who served in the American armed forces from the American Revolution to current War on Terror. There is a section dedicated to African Americans who were awarded the Medal of Honor. On your next trip to Washington, DC, we recommend that you a make a stop at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture. If you bring your Military ID, you can skip the line and enter without a reservation.

As the series Medal of Honor grows, it is the hope of the Jewish War Veterans that they include the stories of our Jewish heroes who were awarded this highest honor.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Screenshot from film. Photo Credit: HBO.

By Sabrina Fine, Communications Intern

Crisis Hotline: Veteran Press 1 is a HBO documentary film in association with Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) that chronicles veteran crisis line counselors.   It gives insight to day and night conversations with veterans on the verge of suicide or having suicidal thoughts.   The only Veterans Crisis Line (VCL) Center is in Canandaigua, New York.

The documentary produced by Dana Perry and directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent is both educational and tear-jerking.  The fact that 22 veterans take their own life each day makes the counselor’s job matters of life and death.  The counselors are at the frontline of the battle of saving veterans from suicide.  VCL counselors are seen in the opening of the documentary with either hands pressed against their foreheads or stoic and professional as they recite words such as “I know you said you have a knife nearby you. Do you agree to not use that knife while I put you on hold?”  Another counselor says “putting a gun in your mouth is not an option we want to discuss today, sir.”  The call center receives more than 22,000 calls a month.

“You have five children, you have a wife and you have a lot to live for,” says one counselor named Darlene. Her voice is calm, but her eyes are fearful as she speaks with a former Marine who says he is a weapon to himself and suffers from recurring nightmares and having flashbacks.   “I am not going to leave you; I am not going to go anyway.”  Eventually a wellness check is sent to his home and Darlene briefly speaks with the Marine’s wife before she is abruptly hung up on.

The documentary is hard to watch yet it feels like a significant insight to the extreme suffering that some veterans feel.   To fully comprehend the documentary, you can watch it on HBO.  JWV supports IAVA in their continued campaigns that battle the veteran suicide rates.

Post 243 at the Children’s Hospital.

by Greg Woodfield

On the wall of David Magidson’s home study is a framed photo. It was taken in Washington DC and David is standing in a group with Barack Obama. The picture is one of a number on quiet display and there is a humble pride in the way David singles it out. Yet it is not vanity from being photographed next to a two-term sitting president at the nation’s capital that means so much to him. It is the reason that he was there that is crucial. He is representing Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. David explains, “Every year we go to Congress for a week, and we talk about veterans and we talk about Israel. And we get stuff done. That is a measure of the regard in which the organization is held.”

This past president of Temple Judea is passionate about his continued role as a national officer in the organization. While JWV has a distinguished history, David is still fighting to correct erroneous perceptions that linger about the Jewish contribution to the military. According to David, “It remains crucial to let everyone know that Jews have served the United States honorably and courageously and continue to do so.”

David, who spent a year in Madrid studying Spanish before his Army service, speaks with humor and nostalgia about his introduction to the military in 1967. After being commissioned, he was posted to the Miami field office of the 111th Military Intelligence Group as an operations officer. Upon leaving the Army, David stayed in Miami and graduated in law to add to his undergraduate degree in Spanish from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Thus, his involvement with the Jewish War Veterans also began. He joined Coral Gables post 243, rising to become post commander, then National Judge Advocate followed by in 2005 by the top job of National Commander.

More than half a million Jews served in World War II, and David recognizes this figure might be a surprise even to Jewish people. To him, it is perception influencing reality. The perception even within our own communities that Jews have traditionally sought non-military roles in life. And the reality is that Jews served here as early as the American Revolutionary War. David cites three significant victories accomplished by JWV in recent years. He explains that “First there was no GI Bill after Vietnam and we played a significant part in getting it reintroduced. After, we had a Congress bill passed in which we got the President and the Defense Department to revisit all the Jewish servicemembers who won the Distinguished Service Cross, but not the Medal of Honor. We believed many didn’t get the higher honor because of anti-Semitism. Many were upgraded and now we have 17 Medal of Honor recipients.”

JWV’s latest battle felt particularly painful on an emotional level. Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Tzipi Hotovely, claimed American Jews never send their children to fight for their country. Her comments in November last year drew withering criticism in the United States. And a hasty apology left out Jewish Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, further inflaming the situation. David was one of the past JWV national commanders to sign a letter to Ron Dermer, Israeli ambassador to the U.S. demanding Ms Hotovely apologize directly to Jewish veterans of all conflicts. This she did. That home truth was illustrated following David’s powerful words at the Friday night Shabbat service before Memorial Day this year, which was dedicated to veterans.

After he spoke, a haunting slideshow of the 58 Jewish servicemembers who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan emphasized the commitment and sacrifice. They were people, not statistics. According to David, “After I spoke, Rabbi Jonathan Fisch asked all those who had served in the military to stand up. People stood. He then asked those who had brothers or sisters or father or mothers who served to stand up. And the number of people on their feet grew and grew. We had nearly three quarters of the congregation standing up.”

Closer to home, David’s son Ben was an intelligence officer attached to an infantry battalion, serving 15 months in Afghanistan. David recalls: ‘I remember when Ben finally came back and for some reason I’m looking through his duffel bag. And I say “what’s this?” He says casually, “It’s the Bronze Star”. I say, “I never knew”.’

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018