From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
In April 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May would be considered Jewish American Heritage Month, after resolutions passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Jewish Americans have served in our military from the beginning. A number of notable Jewish American service members have served throughout our history.
- Haym Salomon & Mordecai Sheftal both later became financiers.
- Francis Salvador was known as “Paul Revere of the South.”
War of 1812
- Commodore Uriah P. Levy was instrumental in ending “flogging” in the U.S. Navy.
- Private Benjamin Levy was a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery in the Battle of Glendale, 1862. Sergeant Leopold Karpeles was a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery in the Battle of the Wilderness, 1864.
World War I
- Sydney G. Gumpetz was a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery battle.
World War II
- Major General Maurice Rose negotiated the unconditional surrender of the Germans in Tunisia. His command, 3rd Armored Division, was the first to go into Germany and breach the Siegfried line.
- Tibor Rubin was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his bravery in battle and as a Prisoner of War in a Chinese camp.
- Col. Jeffrey S. Feinstein became a flying ace.
- Jack H. Jacobs was a Medal of Honor recipient for his bravery.
Highest Offices and Position
- General Robert Magnus was a Commandant of the Marine Corps.
- Admiral Hyman G. Rickover was known as the father of our nuclear Navy.
- Admiral Jeremy M. Boorda became the 25th Chief of Naval Operations; the only prior enlisted man to do so.
- General Norton A. Schwartz and General David L. Goldfein were the Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force.
- Mark Polansky was an astronaut and commanded a Space Shuttle.
A number of rabbis choose to serve to ensure the Jewish service members had the opportunity to attend Jewish religious services.
- Jacob Frankel became the first official Jewish chaplain in the US Armed Forces.
- Joshua L. Goldberg was the first rabbi to serve as a navy chaplain in WWII.
- Alexander D. Goode served in the Army. He was one of four chaplains who choose to give up their lives to save soldiers when a troop transport was sunk during WWII.
Following their service, many of these men went on to contribute in other areas to the United States.
According to Wikipedia, “The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America is one of the oldest veterans’ groups, founded in 1896 and with more than 37,000 current members.” This group is chartered by Congress under Title 36 of the U.S. Code. The Jewish War Veterans preamble is:
“To maintain true allegiance to the United States of America; to foster and perpetuate true Americanism; to combat whatever tends to impair the efficiency and permanency of our free institutions; to uphold the fair name of the Jew and fight his or her battles wherever unjustly assailed; to encourage the doctrine of universal liberty, equal rights, and full justice to all men and women; to combat the powers of bigotry and darkness wherever originating and whatever their target; to preserve the spirit of comradeship by mutual helpfulness to comrades and their families; to cooperate with and support existing educational institutions and establish educational institutions, and to foster the education of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, and our members in the ideals and principles of Americanism; to instill love of country and flag, and to promote sound minds and bodies in our members and our youth; to preserve the memories and records of patriotic service performed by the men and women of our faith; to honor their memory and shield from neglect the graves of our heroic dead.
Please visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.
Source: Names and preamble, Wikipedia Military History of Jewish Americans