Jewish Federations of North America to honor Jewish service
In a ceremony honoring the Jewish military personnel who have served our country, JWB Jewish Chaplains Council will take center stage, opening the final session of Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly on Tuesday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
The program begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Md. and will include both active-duty and retired chaplains who will share their own personal experiences serving Jewish men and women of the United States armed forces. JWB representatives include Capt. Irving A. Elson, U.S. Navy; Capt. Sarah Schechter, U.S. Air Force; retired Capt. Matt Simon, U.S. Navy; and Maj. Henry Soussan, U.S. Army.
“The Jewish men and women who serve in the United States military have chosen to wear their country’s uniform. Many have given their lives so that we enjoy ours. We at the JWB are their conduit to Jewish community, who nurture and support them through their service,” said Rabbi Harold Robinson, a retired navy chaplain and director of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. “We are honored that Jewish Federations of North America has chosen to show their respect to our Jewish men and women in uniform, past and present, through the prism of Jewish chaplaincy.”
In addition to the dramatic readings from the chaplains’ own wartime experiences, the tribute includes video saluting the service of Jews in the military from World War I to present. The Jewish Chapel Choir of the United States Military Academy at West Point will also take part in the ceremony.
The Jewish Welfare Board was created to administer to Jewish servicemen’s needs, and to vouch for the authenticity of the rabbis serving as chaplains. It grew out of the Council of Young Men’s Hebrew and Kindred Associations, which promoted programs of the various YMHAs and JCCs throughout the country. The JWB, today a program of JCC Association, is looking forward to its 100th anniversary, which coincides with America’s entry into First World War.
“As the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council approaches its centenary, the entire American Jewish community is indebted to the scores of rabbis from all streams who have served Jews in the military and the Veterans Administration,” said Rabbi Frank Waldorf, the current chair of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. “ The tradition of sacrifice continues today as three dozen rabbis serve an estimated 10,000 American Jews serving around the globe. JFNA is wise to honor their commitment and patriotism.”