By Larry Katz

Veterans Day events were more than just opportunities for barbeques and family get-togethers for Congregation Shaarey Zedek (CSZ) Religious School students. A new program started this year to ensure students remember and honor Jewish veterans.

This joint venture between the CSZ Religious School and the Jewish War Veterans Department of Michigan took place on Sunday, November 18, 2019. The goal of the program is to introduce meaningful interpersonal experiences into the school’s curriculum, allowing students to learn the lessons of history proactively, educating and inspiring students about the sacrifices necessary to protect and preserve the freedoms we enjoy, and building intergenerational connections within the synagogue.

Thirty-seven students attended the three sessions at the CSZ Berman Center for Jewish Education.
In the first session, the veterans and students gathered together in the library. Veterans introduced themselves and shared stories about their military experience. Several brought photographs and other visual materials to show the students.

The second phase of the program consisted of three breakout sessions. Students were matched with veterans in a more personal setting, enabling one-on-one discussions. The veterans tailored each session to the ages of the students.

The third and final phase of this program was a return to the library with the veterans addressing any follow-up questions based on what the students had learned from the veterans and what the veterans had learned from the students.

Future local projects with CSZ and JWV will feature structured dialogue with current and former military service members and their families, field trips to military sites, cemeteries, museums, memorials. and other sites dedicated to the victims of war and genocide, and other proactive events including face-to-face dialogues with people who have devoted their lives to public service as well as those who benefitted from their sacrifice and courage.

Volume 73. Number 4. 2019

Post 210 in parade

By Steven Troy, Post 210 Adjunct

Several members of Scottsdale Post 210 spent many hours on Friday November 9 and Sunday November 11, in front of 5 FRY’S  food stores collecting for Veterans organizations that they support, to include The Arizona State Veterans Home in Phoenix, Packages from Home, the National Cemetery in Phoenix and others. It was a successful weekend of the generosity from FRY’S patrons.  Some of the Post members that collected were Commander Rochel Hayman, Michael & Ahuva Chambers, Steven Troy, Juli Altman & David Woodland, Jonathan Sorrell & Millie Rogowin.  See pictures 1,2,3.

Another venture of Scottsdale Post 210 of the Jewish War Veterans was to Charter Cub Scout Pack 210.  On Sunday night November 12, members of the Jewish Cub Scout Pack 210 attended an American Flag Retirement Ceremony at North Mountain Park, Yavapai Ramada.  In addition to many Cub Scouts and older Scouts there were representatives from both The Grand Canyon Council and the Central District of the Scouts of America.  After several speeches Phoenix Councilwoman Debra Stark presented the first folded flags to be retired to the Scouts from Pack 210.  Troop 41 and Troop 329 then continued to retire more than 100 flags.  During the event, a bugler played.  Only cloth flags were retired.

According to the U.S. Flag Code:  The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning. 

The Cub Scouts that attended learned the proper way to fold the flag and to retire it.  This was a valuable ceremony that not many get to observe.

The last event, of the weekend, that Scottsdale Post 210 and Cub Scout Pack 210 participated in was in the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade in downtown Phoenix on November 12th.   The parade this year had Loretta Swit as its Celebrity Grand Marshal along with Eight Veteran Grand Marshals, representing each era of military service from World War II to present day.  The Post and pack were fortunate to partner with the Arizona Military Vehicle Collectors Club and ride in two of their vehicles. A WWII Jeep and a 5-ton troop carrier with no top.  The parade route took us through the streets crowded with cheering people.  The Scouts and veterans waved at all and had a ride to remember.    See pictures 8, 9, 10.

Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) is the voice of the Jewish serviceperson and friend to all veterans. Formed in New York in 1896 after the American Civil 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 Organization in the country.


Sheila doing the pledge with Allentown Jewish Day School.

By Ben Kane, Programs Assistant

Post Commander Sheila Berg of Lehigh Valley Post 239 is no stranger to the JWV and its community outreach programs. Sheila serves not just as a Project Maggid speaker, but also as JWV’s Chairwoman of the Women in the Military Committee and has previously served as an NEC for the Department of Pennsylvania. Recently, Sheila was a participant in a Veterans Day ceremony at the Allentown Jewish Day School, where she shared her story with the students.

Retired Senior Master Sergeant Sheila Berg, originally from Westbury, Long Island, joined the United States Air Force reserves in 1980 because she wanted to serve our country and sought a challenge. For 14 years, she served as a jet-engine mechanic in and around Dover Air Force Base. She also deployed to Iraq during the Gulf War. After 14 years as a jet engine mechanic, Berg became 1st Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of Family Readiness for the Reserves at Dover and was called up to Active Duty for 3 years. In 2009, SMSG (ret) Sheila Berg decided to hang up her hat from the military, and she decided to give her experience and expertise to JWV and the Jewish community.

Sheila with the 7th Grade group.

During this Veterans Day, she first joined the Middle School students of Allentown Jewish Day School for a flag raising ceremony, and following that, she gave a talk to the students at an assembly. Several guests, high ranking military personnel and representatives joined her for this talk, including Rabbi (Lieutenant Commander) Seth Phillips, State Representative Michael Schlossberg, Naval Commander Sean Boyle, Captain and Jewish Day School (JDS) parent Kristen Johnson, and JDS teacher and IDF veteran Merav Wirthiem.

“It was an educational and interesting assembly, with a great deal of wisdom imparted to the students,” said Sheila. The assembly concluded with Rabbi Lieutenant Commander (Ret.) Seth Phillips remarking that “people in uniform are the most peace loving of all, because we know the cost. We don’t long for a fight. We wish we all could live in Shalom”.

Speakers, like Sheila, go out into Jewish communities through JWV’s Project Maggid storyteller program. To date. it has proven itself to be a very popular program with over 100 speakers telling stories of Jewish veterans in 2018. Any veteran interested in being a Project Maggid speaker is invited to reach out to JWV National Headquarters and learn how you can become one.

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Temple Beth Torah Sha’aray Tzedek

Alan Paley is an active member of the synagogue and veteran. Below are his remarks to the audience.

Good Shabbos,

Tomorrow, the nation will pause for a few minutes to both honor, and pay tribute to, the many men and women who served in the military, and then returned home.

Most cities and towns hold symbolic celebrations for their veterans at the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month. For this was the time in 1918 that the armistice was signed with Germany, ending World War 1, permitting tired and homesick soldiers to return home.

But, when we speak about Veterans, we often group them together in one big giant pot.

They are all the same.  Each one wore the uniform of the United States Military and basically did what they were told.

No more, no less.

But, Veterans are individuals as well. Each had a unique job that they performed. Each served in one of the five branches of the armed services. And, each served at a different time.

Starting with the American Revolution, and making our way through the Civil War, two deadly world wars, The Korean and Vietnam Wars.

And most recently, the Iraq War and the War in Afghanistan, fought as part of the U.S. War on Terrorism.

Yet, every veteran has a story all their own.

So, this morning, as we gather here in the comfortable sanctuary of our synagogue, I want to tell you about 3 individual Veterans – each unique in their military service and history. Each, a Veteran of the war in Vietnam.

Our first Veteran enlisted in the United States Navy in 1966, at a time when the draft was at its highest level.  Young men and women who enlisted during this time frame were often looked upon a being somewhat “strange” Why are you enlisting?  There is a war going on!!

You must be nuts to willingly join the military, were the cries often heard from family and friends.  Yet, this individual did just that.  He enlisted.

Following basic training at Great Lakes Illinois, this Veteran was then selected to attend Basic Electronic and Electricity Training.  Upon successful completion of those studies, he was sent to Bainbridge, Maryland, to attend additional training to become a Radioman.  As a certified Radioman, he was then assigned to the USS Joseph P Kennedy in 1967.  His duties as a Radioman were the processing and execution of all phases of incoming and outgoing electronically generated shipboard communication.

He also helped to train lower ranking personnel in the same field.  He remained on that ship until 1970.  Upon discharge from active duty, he joined the Naval Reserve, where he actively served for another 6 years.  While in the reserves, he took advantage of the GI Bill and enrolled in the City University of New York, he graduated at the top of his class. He then accepted a job as a Secondary Science Teacher. He remained in that position for the next 29 years, and retired in 2005 as Teacher, and Chairman of the Science Department.  He is usually here every Shabbat, but is currently resting at home following a short hospital stay.

He is an involved member of our synagogue, and an active member of our Men’s Club.This Veteran is Aubrey Harley.

Our next Veteran enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve in 1968, and having already graduated from college and medical school, entered with the rank of Lieutenant. He was assigned as the Battalion Surgeon at Port Hueneme in California.  However, a month later, his unit was deployed to South Vietnam, were he also served as the Battalion Surgeon.

While in Vietnam, his job was to stabilize the wounded, and prepare them to be med-evaced to area field hospitals. He saw firsthand the effects of war, as he cared for and provided medical attention to those wounded servicemen who were brought back to his Battalion for treatment. Young men, whose life at times hung by a very thin thread. Often, he stood between life and death for these wounded soldiers.

He is most proud of the fact that he initiated a program of training 3 local residents in basic health care, so they could serve as village care providers, where there was no previous health care available.

He returned to the United States in 1969 and served as the Medical Officer at the San Diego Naval Hospital.  He separated from active duty in 1970 but continued to serve in the Naval Reserve until January of 1975.  During this time, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

He continued to practice medicine all through his civilian career and just recently retired.  This Veteran, who is in the synagogue this morning, also serves as the President of our Men’s Club.

Alan Paley

This Veteran is Dr. Alan Miller.

Our third Veteran has a somewhat different story to tell.

Joining Army ROTC when he was in college, he knew that upon graduation he would have to enter the military.  As a college graduate, he would enter active duty as an officer, rather than an enlisted man, so his chances of seeing action in Southeast Asia were slightly reduced. Or so he thought…..  Following training in Virginia, he received orders to go to Germany.

Along with his wife, he set off to Manheim for his first overseas assignment, as a Brigade Personnel Officer.

Concurrent to his assignment in Germany, his younger brother, who had enlisted in the Air Force, was also stationed in Germany.  His brother however, was not an officer, but was an airman specializing in the weapons system of the latest United States Air Force fighter jet, the Phantom F-4.

The largest, fastest fighter jet in the Air Force inventory, and the leading aircraft in the war in Vietnam.

Knowing this, and realizing that the chances of his brother getting orders for Southeast Asia far outweighed his, he decided to speak with his commanding officer and subsequently, requested a transfer to Vietnam.

After only 9 months of serving in Germany, he received orders to report to Long Binh Vietnam, for a 12-month tour of duty.

He served as a Staff Supply Officer, flying from location to location via helicopter, and insured that the men and women stationed at those posts, outposts and bases were provided with all the special services supplies they could get.

Recreational items, so the troops could enjoy whatever free time they had, before going back into battle.

His helicopter was shot at, his barracks was mortared, and several army buddies were killed during one of those mortar attacks.

He returned home a year later, to his wife and new baby daughter.  Enrolling in Law School, he later practiced law, and now serves as a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey.

This Veteran, although not a member of our synagogue is my brother, and his decision to volunteer for service in a combat zone, enabled me to serve my remaining years of military service in Germany, without the threat of receiving orders for Vietnam.

I never knew what he had done until 2016, some 49 years later.

One thing each of these Veterans have in common is the deeply embedded feeling of patriotism.  Although members of the military come from different walks of life, we all learned to get along and work with one another.  We watched each other’s back and knew that our comrades in arms would be watching our back, too. This is the way you survive.

In this week’s Torah portion, we read the shocking story of Jacob stealing Esau’s blessing, an action that created a rivalry so bitter, it is said to still be manifesting itself today. The Torah is full of stories of brother turning against brother. Cain kills Abel, Moses is compelled by God to turn against his brother – Pharaoh, Joseph’s brothers almost kill him over their jealousy of the treatment their father Jacob gives to Joseph – culminating with Jacob giving Joseph a coat of many colors.

The collection of Jewish texts does contain a few positive stories of one brother helping another. Most famously, although the source of the story has never been proven, is the tale of King Solomon’s quest to find a suitable location to build the First Temple.

One of God’s angels takes Solomon in one of his dreams to a field owned by two brothers.

One of the brothers is a bachelor; the other is married and has children. At the end of the harvest season, each brother is concerned for the other, and under the cover of night each adds grain to the other’s pile. The married brother was concerned because he reasoned that the bachelor had no children to support him in his old age. The bachelor was concerned because he reasoned that with so many children his brother needed more grain. The brothers met in the middle of the field and embraced.

This field, a manifestation of brotherly love, King Solomon reasoned was the best site for the Temple.

Brotherly love, commitment, and honor. These are the virtues of a Veteran.

Each of the Veterans mentioned today served their country with honor, and then returned to civilian life. Each one built a successful career.

They rarely speak about their military service on their own and are often shy about discussing it, when asked by outsiders.  But, all of them have earned the title of Veteran.

We are here today, able to live in this great country and enjoy the religious freedom that we have, because these men answered their call to duty, and served in the military.

And yes, a great many women answered that call too.

So, if you are a veteran, please stand up and be recognized.

Thank you all for your service.

May God bless those men and women both here today and all over the country that carry the title of Veteran. And, may God bless the United States of America.

Shabbat Shalom

Volume 72. Number 4. Winter 2018

Department of Rhode Island

By Barry Lischinsky, National Membership Chairman

How to Run A Veterans Day Ceremony at Your Local Jewish Community Center, Synagogue or School

What is the purpose of JWV Posts running Veterans Day ceremonies?

Veterans Day is an excellent opportunity for JWV Posts to interact with their local Jewish communities – to remind them that Jewish veterans exist and live among them.  We must capitalize on this opportunity by reaching out to our local JCCs, synagogues and schools in order to remind the Jewish community of their proud and historic service to the United States.

What is Veterans Day?

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

What is the importance of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of WWI?

JWV Members setting up Veterans Day exhibit in the Merage JCC.

This Veterans Day is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice (the peace agreement) of World War 1 (WW1).  WW1 remains America’s forgotten war, even though more Americans gave their lives in that war than the wars of Korea and Vietnam combined.  More than four million American families sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform during World War 1, and 225,000 American Jews served in that war – many of them new immigrants.  It was also the first time women were formally introduced into the Army, and we are proud to say that the first female doctor in the US Army, Kate Karpeles, was a proud Jewish woman and the daughter in law to a Jewish Medal of Honor Recipient.  By learning and teaching our community about our service, we are not only teaching the next generation, but we are also making a promise to this generation of soldiers and sailors that their service will not be forgotten 100 years from now.

How do I run a Veterans Day Ceremony?

The ceremony itself consists of 8 parts: (1) Posting of the Colors, (2) Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem, (3) Introductory Remarks, (4) Introduction of Special Guests, (5) Principal Speaker, (6) Special Reading, (7) TAPS and (8) Closing Benediction.

  • Prelude and Posting of Colors —A procession and posting of the Nation’s colors (the American Flag) is always a moving event. Local veterans service organizations or JROTC programs often participate with their impressive array of military banners and American flags.
  • Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem — The program chairperson should invite the audience to stand and join in the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of the National Anthem.
  • Introductory Remarks — Brief introductory remarks can set the tone for the program. This year, it would be appropriate to give a brief history of WW1 and the impact that it has had through our nation. A guide on WWI can be found at the WW1 Centennial Commission website, and information about Jewish soldiers during WW1 can be found at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History
  • Introduction of Guests — Dignitaries selected as special guests may include local government officials, distinguished military personnel and veterans from your community should be introduced at the event.
  • Principal Speaker — Your principal speaker should be invited far enough in advance to allow adequate preparation for your program. JWV is able to provide speakers through our Project Maggid program.  Please contact JWV’s Programs Department if you are interested in getting a speaker.
  • Selected Reading —A reading of a well-known patriotic address by a famous military hero by a talented student can be effective. Selected readings are available from the National Museum of American Jewish Military History.
  • Moment of Silence, Taps — While Veterans Day is primarily a tribute to America’s living veterans, and should be observed more as a celebration than as a somber remembrance, it is always appropriate to include a moment of respect for those who gave their lives for their country. This year, the Jewish community lost two American heroes in the line of fire – Captain Samuel Schultz and SFC Christopher Celiz. It is important to remind the Jewish community of their stories and the stories of the other 15,000 current Jewish service members.
  • Closing Benediction — Inviting a local Rabbi or a lay leader can be a meaningful way to end the ceremony. The Prayer for America’s Military Personnel is appropriate. A link to the lyrics and musical accompaniment can be found at the JWB Jewish Chaplain’s Council

By Herb Rosenbleeth, National Executive Director

JWV will be the host organization at the Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery in 2021. It seems far off, however, the time will go quickly!

Each year one of the organizations which serves on the Veterans Day National Committee becomes the host organization on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1996, the year of JWV’s 100th anniversary, JWV was the host organization. It was a day we will always remember!

On the morning of the Arlington Cemetery program, Past National Commander Bob Zweiman was seated on the dais with President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown, and the leaders of the other Veterans Service Organizations. PNC Zweiman gave an eloquent, rousing speech to a standing room only packed house at the Arlington Cemetery amphitheater. He said it is a tragedy that no one really cares about our veterans, noting that “our government has a moral and a real obligation to provide for our veterans.” The crowd cheered and applauded throughout PNC Zweiman’s speech and several times during the speech, President Clinton nodded approvingly. PNC Zweiman closed with the words “For your tomorrow, we gave our today.” The entire crowd in the amphitheater rose to their feet, applauded, and cheered. What a great day for JWV!

Next came the Veterans Day Reception hosted by JWV at the Ft. Myers Officers Club. It was a perfect setting and was extremely well attended, including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the Honorable Jesse Brown. The spirited program went off smoothly.

Fast forward to Thursday, November 11, 2021: JWV will again be the host organization. Our National Commander will be on the dais and will address the crowd. Our reception will follow.  JWV is in the process of raising the money necessary to fund the reception. Tax deductible donations may be sent to JWV, Attention: 2021 Reception.

Volume 72. Number 1. Spring 2018