Jewish News - Salute to the Military Supplement 10.25.21

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SALUTE TO THE MILITARY Supplement to Jewish News October 25, 2021

jewishnewsva.org | October 25, 2021 | Military | JEWISH NEWS | 17


Military FIRST PERSON

Navy has three rabbis stationed in Tidewater Rabbi Yonatan Warren, BCC Lieutenant Commander U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps

Three rabbis walk into a bar. One Reform, one Conservative, one Orthodox.

T

he story is significantly less funny than you might imagine. While, in general, rabbis tend to be pretty funny people when you get them together in social settings, this was a business meeting. It just happened to be in the bar of the hotel where the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council was engaged in annual training. The three rabbis walked into a bar in Miami Beach, Florida to talk explicitly about building connection and community for Jewish military service members and their families in Tidewater. While synagogues and community organizations have long supported Jewish military

members in the area, many military Jews (for a variety of reasons) still feel isolated or outside the mainstream community. Now, for the first time (possibly in the history of armed forces chaplaincy), three Navy rabbis would be stationed in the Norfolk area and they committed to working together to enhance Jewish Military connection and experience in Tidewater. It is unclear which is more rare: three Navy rabbis stationed in Norfolk or the fact that these three rabbis from different backgrounds, experiences, ranks, and denominational affiliations like each other and want to work together to make things happen. I have been in the area for several years. I grew up in Hampton, matriculated through Hebrew Academy of Tidewater and stayed active in the southside community through USY in high school. Ordained

by the Jewish Theological Seminary, I joined the Navy in 2011. In 10-years on Active Duty, my tours include 3d Marine Logistics Group in Okinawa, Japan, the Brigade of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, and sea duty aboard the USS Oak Hill (LSD-51). I now serve the Navy as a clinical staff chaplain (hospital chaplain) at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. I have been working for years to make Jewish connections between servicemembers and the community and with each other. But, I have never been more delighted than when I found out I would be able to work with these two exceptional other chaplains in realizing this dream. The senior rabbi of the group, Rabbi Aaron Kleinman, grew up in Virginia Beach. A graduate of Norfolk Collegiate School, Kleinman studied at the U.S. Naval Academy before commissioning as

NORFOLK NORFOLK

18 | JEWISH NEWS | Military | October 26, 2021 | jewishnewsva.org

Rabbi Yonatan M. Warren, BCC, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps.

a Naval Aviator. After tours at VAW 120 and VAW 121 here at NAS Norfolk, as well as DCMA Saint Augustine, FL, he entered the Reserves and began his Judaic studies. Ordained by Yeshivas Pirchei Shoshanim, Rabbi Kleinman has been


Military

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assigned to Naval Station Great Lakes, IL; USS Harry S. Truman CVN 75 in Norfolk; Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.; Marine Aircraft Group 16 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.; and is wrapping up a tour as the Chaplain Corps Officer Community Manager at Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Millington, Tenn. Rabbi Kleinman is a Commander (O-5) in the Chaplain Corps and will be serving as the Deputy Command Chaplain for Marine Forces Command (MARFORCOM) at NSA Hampton Roads. “We’re not just colleagues—we are friends,” says Rabbi Kleinman. “We certainly have our differences, including different approaches to Judaism. But there is far more that binds us together than separates us, and we are certainly united in our desire to elevate the services available to Jewish military personnel and families in Hampton Roads.” While Rabbi Yoni Greenberg has no youth connections to the area, his story might be the most eclectic. Having grown up in the Greek Jewish community, Rabbi Greenberg served in Greek Army’s Special Forces before emigrating to Israel. He studied at an orthodox yeshiva in Bnei Brak and received an orthodox ordination after four years. After also being ordained at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Rabbi Greenberg’s previous tour was with Marine Corps Installations in Okinawa, Japan. He is currently in the Naval Air Station Oceana area. Over the coming year, the rabbis will roll out a plan for holidays and education. Working with national projects produced by Aleph and the JWB: Jewish Chaplain’s Council, we hope to provide educational programming at all levels to military families. Coming from different backgrounds but working together, we hope to synergize trans-denominational Jewish education in a way that will enhance the spiritual experience of each service member and each family member. “Judaism teaches that all Jews are responsible for one another regardless of denomination of level of observance,” says Rabbi Greenberg. “As military rabbis we are eager to help Jewish service members and their dependents in any way we can.”

COMPOSER

LIBRETTIST

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Carol Thomas Downing AND THE

WORLD PREMIERE BASED ON THE PLAY BY ELIE WIESEL

LIBRETTO ADAPTED BY

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Sponsored by the Reiff Center for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution at Christopher Newport University and the United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula Endowment Inc. Krasa’s Brundibár is performed by arrangement with Bote & Bock Berlin and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc. The Trial of God is performed through arrangement with Georges Borchardt, Inc., on behalf of the estate of the author Elie Wiesel. All rights reserved.

jewishnewsva.org | October 25, 2021 | Military | JEWISH NEWS | 19


Military

FDIF Virginia Chapter meets, celebrates, and hears from Israeli military leaders Jasmine Amitay

A

merican athletes have won a total of 2,673 medals in the history of

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the Olympics, so the chances of meeting an American medal winner is low, but not impossible. Given that Israeli athletes have won only 13 medals, what are

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the chances of meeting an Israeli medal winner, much less meeting one in the United States? It turns out the answer is 100%. At least it was for a group of local supporters of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF). FIDF is the sole organization authorized to collect charitable donations on behalf of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces across the United States of America. The athlete they met was Avishag Semberg, the youngest Israeli Olympic medalist, and the first Israeli to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Semberg was the featured speaker at the FIDF Virginia Chapter Celebration on Sunday evening, October 3 at the Cavalier Golf

and Yacht Club. While FIDF intentionally kept the group of attendees small to accommodate COVID protocols, it did not hold back on flying in a prominent group of IDF service members for the crowd. “It was unbelievable,” says Joel Nied, the President of the Virginia chapter of FIDF. “We have a strong group of FIDF supporters in this area. FIDF did not disappoint us with the dazzling group of guests. When I first heard who was coming, I thought it was a mistake—how in the world was Virginia Beach Avishag’s first stop in her U.S. tour? I know FIDF has a huge base of support here, but wow. We were all so excited.” Before Avishag regaled the crowd with the details of her stunning medal-winning taekwondo match, the attendees heard from another Israeli hero: Major General (Res) Nadav Padan, the national director of Friends of the IDF. Padan is a legend in the Israeli military. He began his military service in Duvdevan, the special forces unit on which the series Fauda is based. Over a 36-year career, Major General Padan held several command positions within the IDF, including Commander of the Central Command and Founder and Head of the IDF C4i and Cyber Defense Directorates. Padan pointed out to the crowd that the IDF does not just defend Israel, but it helps shape Israeli society. As the primary instiSimone and Joel Nied. tution that brings Israel’s diverse youth together, the IDF relies on the FIDF’s programs, like Project Overcome, which gives troubled youth the opportunity to serve in the IDF. After dinner was served in the dockside party tent at the Cavalier, Padan told the crowd that the overwhelming majority of Israeli political and business leaders served in special forces units. If kids who had encounters with the law or the need to get a job Avraham Ashkenazi, Corporal Semberg, and Nathan Drory. to help support their families


Military can’t serve, they won’t be able to reach the highest levels of success. FIDF programs give those kids that opportunity. Another speaker, Major Y. (whose name cannot be disclosed for security reasons) told the story of his last-minute wave-off of an Israeli strike on a Hamas missile emplacement this summer during Hamas’ horrific missile attack on Israel’s civilian population. Hamas had intentionally placed the missile launchers near a kindergarten. When Major Y. realized the proximity of the launchers to the innocent civilians, he called off the attack just in time. Despite the threat posed to the Israeli civilian population by the terrorists’ weapons, Yuval made the decision mandated to him by the IDF’s strong Code of Ethics—Ruach Tzahal (literally, “Spirit of the IDF”) —to call off the strike. Finally, Joel Nied discussed FIDF’s commitment to provide IDF soldiers over $3,000,000 worth of vouchers—holiday travel vouchers for “Lone Soldiers” (people from around the world who enlisted in the IDF), food vouchers for combat and combat support soldiers facing food insecurity, and pre-enlistment vouchers for low-income recruits who lack the means to purchase hygiene products and other necessities for basic training. “Thanks to the success of Sunday night’s events,” Nied says, “we are well on our way to providing this essential support.” Nied, however, says he needed to clear the air about a rumor circulating at the event: that he had challenged Israel’s 108-pound taekwondo champion to an exhibition match. “That is categorically false,” Nied says. “I had heard, however, that Avishag was planning to challenge me to a match. After all, I did wrestle in high school.” Nied says he skirted the issue by avoiding eye contact with Avishag during the celebration. He did, nonetheless, inadvertently lock eyes with her for a moment. “It was,” Nied says, “very intimidating.” Interested in getting involved with the FIDF through one of its many programs? Contact Jasmine Amitay, Associate Director, FIDF Virginia Chapter, at jasmine.amitay@fidf. org or Joel Nied, FIDF Virginia Chapter President, at joelnied@gmail.com.

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Military

Thank You Veterans The Tidewater Jewish community honors all those who have served In remembrance of local veterans who have passed in the last year: Jerome “Jerry” Greenberg US Navy

Lawrence J. Goldrich US Army Air Force

Alvin Margolius, Jr., MD US Army

Judge Norman Olitsky US Army

Leonard Willard Saunders US Army

Louis Padersky US Army

Dr. Bonnie Louis Reshefsky US Air Force

Stanley Graber, MD US Navy

Wade Louis Preddy US Army

Louis Brenner US Navy

Lawrence E. (Larry) Cooper US Air Force

Harry Sandler US Army

Gerald Pributsky US Navy/US Army Reserves

Leonard “Lenny” D. Levine US Navy/JAG

Dr. Jack Cherin US Air Force

Bessie Silver Finder US Army Corp of Nursing

Edward F. Kraus US Navy

Harvey Warren Steen US Air Force

Dr. Theodore (Ted) Adler US Army

William Hirsch Kittner US Army

Harold “Boodie” Friedman US Army

Norman Blumenson US Army Air Corps

Bernard “Bernie” Schloss US Coast Guard

Thomas Bachman US Navy

Cantor Aaron Hersh Sachnoff US Navy

Herbert Alan Levin US Navy

Darby Beetham US Air Force

List updated as of October 12, 2021

Support the Jewish War Veterans Monument at the Sandler Family campus and honor a veteran by purchasing a monument paver in their name. For more information, contact Ann Swindell aswindell@ujft.org | 757-965-6106 foundation.jewishva.org

22 | JEWISH NEWS | Military | October 26, 2021 | jewishnewsva.org

New novel, The Serpent Papers, focuses on Vietnam War

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he Serpent Papers by Jeff Schnader, an area author and professor of medicine, is set on Columbia University’s campus amidst protests against the Vietnam War. This is the first book written about Columbia’s 1972 demonstrations. For the Vietnam War generation, the war is still the defining event of their lives and rivets their interest. The war created a generational rift between those who fought and those who protested, which this novel aims to heal with rapprochement. In the book, J-Bee, scion of a military family, is raised in a violent milieu during the 1960s where he commits a retaliatory act of brutality. While his best friend volunteers to fight in Vietnam, J-Bee is repulsed by his own violence and refuses to follow in his father’s military footsteps. Instead, he matriculates at Columbia in 1971, an era of counterculture, in order to seek redemption. Although he feels loyalty to his friend fighting overseas, he strongly sympathizes with his girlfriend’s rationale against the war. Torn between supporting the war or protesting against it, his paradoxical feelings are fueled when his best friend, on furlough from Vietnam, visits him at Columbia. With ratcheting tensions and bullhorns inciting students to protest, pro-war and anti-war factions collide in campus riots, and J-Bee redeems his prior acts of violence by making the choice that comes to define his life. Publication date for the 302-page hardcover book is January 2022. Jeff Schnader was at Columbia in 1972 where he participated in student-held massive demonstrations and was beaten by the N.Y. Tactical Police in full battle regalia, an experience which he uses as inspiration for true-to-life scenes in the novel. After training at Johns Hopkins, he has been a physician, journal editor, research scientist, and Professor of Medicine for 25 years. He has authored 50 medical publications

(including in The New England Journal of Medicine); he has spoken and chaired more than 130 national medical panels and symposia in front of audiences of 200–1,000 scientists. He has also appeared on NPR more than 20 times as an expert guest. He resides in Norfolk and notes that two of the book’s characters are Jewish.

One Review of The Serpent Papers by David Aldridge If you want to know what it was like in the early ’70s in America’s colleges as the Viet Nam War dragged on and on, then this is your ticket to the tie-dyed, psychedelic, bell-bottomed world of Columbia University at the peak of the Anti-Establishment, Anti-Vietnam War, Make-Love-Not-War Woodstock Era of America’s youth. This book takes you right back to those days of ‘Hell No, We Won’t Go’, when Students for a Democratic Society and the notorious Weathermen held sway across campuses from coast to coast. I was amazed that I identified so much with the main character, J-Bee. As I read, I was rooting for the students to win their fight. J-Bee is thrust into the maelstrom of political turmoil complicated by his fiery first love, strained relationships with his parents, childhood friends, Anti-War friends, and the Mysterious Serpent, a coffee house sage who speaks pearls of wisdom and Truth to those who will hear. A rollicking ride of conflict through the trials and tribulations of a young American torn between his family who want him to serve the nation honorably and those opposed to serving and who are competing for his very soul. David Aldridge: Recipient of 3 Purple Hearts & 2 Bronze Stars, Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Palm Award, Meritorious Service Medal. US Army, 1st Infantry & Americal Divisions; Vietnam, 1966–67, 68–69, 70–71 (served 1000 days).


Military

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Dr. Jill Biden, lawmakers, and advocates urge solutions to confront Military hunger First Lady endorses basic needs allowance, legislative solution crafted and championed by MAZON: A Jewish Response To Hunger Washington, D.C.—The bipartisan Congressional Military Family Caucus (CMFC) convened a virtual summit to discuss the most pressing concerns affecting military families on Thursday, October 14. Among the topics discussed was food insecurity, which impacts thousands of military families on every military installation in the United States. First Lady Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks, urging lawmakers to support legislation to address the obstacles that prevent military families from accessing many of the benefits to which they are entitled—including nutrition benefits. “By supporting a basic needs allowance, we’re going to confront food insecurity and promote well-being in our military community,” she said, adding, “This is a top priority in the Biden administration.” The U.S. House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a provision that would enshrine a basic needs allowance for military families facing food insecurity into law. This month, MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger sent a letter—co-signed by two dozen national organizations that advocate for military families—to the White House, Department of Defense, and other Administration officials, urging them to use their influence with Congress to close loopholes that currently prevent military families from accessing food benefits. The letter also urged the administration to leverage its executive authority to address food insecurity on military bases and to convene a White House Summit on hunger, including discussions about longterm solutions to military hunger. Biden’s remarks signal the White House’s strong support for legislative

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solutions that MAZON and others have advocated for nearly a decade. Earlier this year, MAZON released a comprehensive report, Hungry in the Military: Food Insecurity Among Military Families in the U.S., detailing the pervasive and persistent problem of military hunger and outlining policy recommendations to address this longstanding issue. A representative from MAZON participated in the summit on a panel about food insecurity. “It’s just unconscionable that we’re still talking about this issue—an issue that’s grown far worse during the course of the pandemic, but an issue that can be solved,” says Josh Protas, vice president of Public Policy at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger. “This is a preventable problem, and this problem is the responsibility of the federal government. It should not be up to the charitable sector to address this. It’s critical that this year’s NDAA includes our full provision for a Military Family Basic Needs Allowance, as outlined in the bipartisan House bill.” jewishnewsva.org | October 25, 2021 | Military | JEWISH NEWS | 23


Military BOOK REVIEW

Untold Story X Troop— The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II Leah Garrett Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021 351 pages

A

sk most American Jews about Jewish warriors and they will promptly mention the Maccabees and contemporary Israeli soldiers. In X Troop—The Secret Jewish Commandos of World War II, author and historian Skip Sacks. Leah Garrett, provides a long overdue addition to that list with a well-researched account of Jewish/British Commandos and their extraordinary contributions to the defeat of Nazi Germany. The opening chapters take readers to late 1930’s Germany and Austria where well-established Jewish families must cope with the Nazi’s steadily escalating anti-Jewish measures. In 1938, following Kristallnacht, many desperate Jewish families make the heart wrenching decision to send their children to England as part of the Kindertransport. Rather than providing a collective, historian’s description of this time-period, the author combines meticulous research and a storyteller’s touch to introduce individual families and their sons as they try to escape the Nazi’s ever tightening grip. Upon arrival in Britain, these young men are initially placed with relatives, sympathetic families, and charitable organizations. However, when England declares war on Germany, the boys who were outcasts in Germany due to being Jewish are now seen as a threat to their new home due to being German. They are promptly rounded up and placed in internment camps much as the Japanese were in the U. S.. Garrett’s account of the deprivation and gratuitous cruelty suffered by the occupants of internment camps in England, Canada, and Australia shines a spotlight on a dark and little-known chapter of British history. As the war continues, Winston Churchill recognizes the potential value of adding German speaking refugees to British commando units. All the better to include German Jews seeking an opportunity to fight against Hitler and his antisemitic regime. Eighty-seven volunteers are selected for “X Troop” and undergo extremely intense commando training. Previously urban, intellectual German Jews are

quickly transformed into fit and ferocious warriors who even take on Anglo names and identities in case they are captured. Instead of fighting as a single unit, the X-Troop commandos are embedded with other British commando squads where their fluency in German can have the broadest impact. This disbursal complicates the author’s task. Rather than tracing a single commando squad through the war, the narrative follows individual Jewish commandos from unit to unit, campaign to campaign and operation to operation. At times, the shifting narrative, combined with abundant military acronyms and the commandos’ dual identities can be daunting. However, readers are rewarded with astonishingly detailed accounts of each commando’s missions during critical engagements including the Normandy Invasion, the Battle of the Bulge, and the post-war de-Nazification of Germany. The X Troopers’ bravery and ability to interrogate German prisoners in the heat of battle repeatedly provide crucial, actionable intelligence regarding German positions, numbers, armaments, minefields, and more. One Jewish commando uses his fluency and charm to convince the Germans to surrender their garrison on the Island of Corfu without a single shot being fired. Another helps lead his force through minefields on Normandy Beach based on intel gained from captured Germans. Yet another single handedly captures hundreds of German soldiers. The X Troop commandos suffer heavy losses with many killed, wounded, and missing in action, but some survive the war and play key roles in de-nazifying post war Germany and bringing Nazi war criminals to justice. Franky, it is astonishing that this fascinating historical tale has remained untold for decades. Whether a fan of World War II history or just looking to add to your list of Jewish war heroes, X Troop is that rare blend of historical treatise and gripping war story that will educate, engage, and inspire.

Ken Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise A World War II-era romance Through November 7, Wells Theater

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en Ludwig’s joyous tale and heartwarming story of his parents’ courtship during World War II, Dear Jack, Dear Louise tells the story of a Jewish military doctor and a Jewish Broadway chorus performer’s unlikely romance. U.S. Army Captain Jacob Ludwig and Louise Rabiner fell in love entirely through letters and telegrams. This beloved production from the spring returns to the Wells as a fully realized production. Real-life married couple, Dan Fenaughty and Larissa Klinger, return to Virginia Stage Company to reprise their roles. The play is the winner of the 2020 Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for Best New Play or Musical of the Year. For more information, go to www.vastage.com.

Crystal Tuxhorn

Larissa Klinger in VSC’s production of Ken’s Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise on the deck of the USS Wisconsin.

Skip Sacks is a native of Norfolk and is Virginia State Counsel for Stewart Title Guaranty Company. Sacks has served as an adjunct professor at ODU and occasionally reviews books to honor the memory of his father, Hal Sacks, who wrote hundreds of book reviews for this publication. Leah Garrett will be in Tidewater on Thursday, October 28. See page 28.

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Crystal Tuxhorn

Dan Fenaughty in VSC’s production of Ken’s Ludwig’s Dear Jack, Dear Louise on the deck of the USS Wisconsin.


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