Sam Yudin, Greg Lee and other 786 members pose for a photo.

By Sam Yudin, Post 786 Commander

Tibor Rubin Post #786 has ensured Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient display cases see the light of day for the first time in over 10 years in an exhibition at the Merage JCC in Orange County, CA.

The 40th Infantry Division of the California National Guard has been the home of 16 display cases highlighting 17 Jewish American Medal of Honor recipients.  The display cases have sat in a classroom in the back of a building on Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos, CA.  The cases were built by JWV member Alvin Selinck, of blessed memory, and donated to the California Military Department in 2004.  They were displayed at the state’s military museum in Sacramento until it closed its doors.  After that, they made their way to Los Alamitos by way of San Diego.

Tibor Rubin Post #786 wanted these important pieces of Jewish American military history to be seen by the widest audience possible. The obvious choice was front and center at the Merage JCC in Orange County which has 50,000 members a month pass through the aptly named main street which house(s/d) (-d depending on publication date) the Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient Exhibit from October 12- November 30th.

From the beginning the Merage JCC has been a very supportive partner to JWV Tibor Rubin Post #786. The exhibit when first discussed was a no brainer for the president and CEO, Dan Bernstein, and the Chair of the Board, Irv Chase.  “From the founding of the United States, Jews have defended the liberties that all Americans enjoy,” says Irv Chase.  On the meaning of this exhibit to the JCC he continues, “It is important for American Jews to know what sacrifices their fellow Jews have made to protect the liberties they enjoy.”

On November 8th, a reception was held in honor of the exhibit and Jewish veterans in the community.  The purpose of the event was to celebrate Jewish American pride in service and recognize the veterans in the community.  The event which featured the California State Military Reserve Military Heritage Command’s color guard and over a dozen military members in uniform was attended by approximately 100 people.  The event was called one of the most important events to happen at the JCC and very

The exhibit

moving by many others.

A very important feature of this exhibit is only possible due to the partnership with the California State Military Reserve Military Heritage Command which has enhanced the exhibit with many period artifacts and uniforms from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. They also have been providing tours and activities for children and adult groups at the exhibit.  The children have enjoyed writing letters to the Medal of Honor recipients and trying on period uniforms.  Brigadier General Jay Coggan, Commander of the California State Military Reserve was present for the event and announced that this exhibit is the very start of his command getting these important military artifacts in the eyes of the public.

Brigadier General Coggan’s comments indicate there is now a commitment that the Jewish American Medal of Honor Recipient display cases will continued to be displayed in the community. Discussions are already ongoing to bring this exhibit back next year at another local venue such as the Alpert Jewish Community Center Long Beach.

This event has also brought Jewish veterans and the Jewish community closer together. The Merage JCC has embraced its community’s veterans by definitively displaying they are proud of and value the veterans in their community making them a very veteran friendly community.  JWV Tibor Rubin Post #786 looks forward to many years of great relations with the Merage JCC.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Service members from California, under the direction of Army Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Sam Yudin, CA Post 276,  participated in the memorial service for Sgt. David Rosenkrantz, who was killed during WWII.

By Greg Lee, Department Commander of California

Sam Yudin at the ceremony.

Every day, people enquire, “what does JWV do?”  The answer varies because there are more than 300 local posts that represent the organization.

One of our missions as Jews and Jewish War Veterans is to ensure that every single one of our service members receives a dignified and proper burial. Usually that happens without a problem, but sometimes we must get involved.

What do you do when the person who needs to be interned has no identification?  What do you do when the person has been missing since World War II?

Sgt. David Rosenkrantz had no identification and he was missing since WWII.   He was a true airborne hero, dropped behind enemy lines, never to be seen again, but thanks to modern technology and DNA testing, Sgt. Rosenkrantz was finally identified.  His remains that had been in cold storage for 70 years have been cleared for internment.

He was to be transferred to Riverside National Cemetery and buried just like the 35 -50 burials that take place there every day.  We also learned that the ceremony was not going to be a Jewish ceremony, which we can assume Sgt. Rosenkrantz would have wanted.

When Jewish War Veterans learned of this monumental event, they sprang into action.  National Headquarters reached out to the Department of California echelon.  Commander Greg Lee made some phone calls.

The most important call was to the Tibor Rubin Post 786 Commander Sam Yudin.  CSM Yudin is not only an active JWV member but an Active Duty soldier in the US Army.  Rabbi David Becker from the California National Guard also answered the call to help make sure that this Jewish soldier received a Jewish burial, and without either of their help, this soldier would not have the burial that he deserved.

Yudin immediately stepped up and contacted his Commanding Officer with a request to delay his reporting for duty by one day so he could attend the funeral of Sgt. Rosenkrantz. The CO immediately affirmed that action and Yudin was set.  CSM Yudin then coordinated the order of battle at the cemetery services by contacting the cemetery director, the Family of Sgt. Rosenkrantz, and some local Rabbis.

CSM Yudin then “suited up” in his military dress blues and drove 75 miles to the Riverside Cemetery on one of the hottest days in California history. He proudly represented Jewish War Veterans as he paid his respects to a Jewish hero. He represented JWV, the Jewish people and himself in the finest tradition of service and Mitzvot.

So in case you ever wondered – this act of supreme respect represents one thing that Jewish War Veterans do!

Volume 72. Number 3. Fall 2018