Letters | May 27, 2020


Donning the uniform is part of Jewish American heritage

The May 21 issue highlighted May’s Jewish American Heritage Month with the article “What is the Jewish American Heritage?” and the editorial “Celebrating Jewish American Heritage.” Both gave reasons for American Jews to celebrate, emphasizing that the liberty and freedoms found here caused Jews from all over the world to emigrate to America to exercise their Jewishness. The interim CEO of the National Museum of American Jewish History, Misha Galperin, said that the purpose of Heritage Month is to “commemorate the contributions that American Jews have made to the fabric of our American culture and history.”

But there was one aspect of that contribution that was omitted, an aspect one would recognize by visiting the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. It would have informed America’s Jews and all Americans of the contribution made by those Jews who helped make and preserve those freedoms and liberties.

Since 1656, when the Jewish community of New Amsterdam won the right to bear arms and stand guard on the city’s walls, approximately 1 million Jewish men and women have donned the uniform of one of our country’s military services, and thousands have died to protect those freedoms. From those pre-Revolutionary times to today’s wars in Southwest Asia, American Jews have answered the call: 17 of them earning our nation’s highest award, the Medal of Honor. Several hundred rabbis also joined the services and accompanied our servicemen into battle. The names of 14 rabbis are carved into a marble monument on Chaplain’s Hill in Arlington National Cemetery.

The dedication and service of our Jewish servicemen and women have made an impact on the Jewish community and our nation that will last forever. They are an integral part of the Jewish American Heritage that should be commemorated and, above all, remembered.
The writer is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and a docent/historian at the National Museum of American Jewish Military History


Consideration, respect, smarts and caring

It’s great that WJW highlights the giving, support and sacrifice around us at this time of crisis. For example, health care experts are continuing their role in guiding us to keep our families safe and healthy. It would be consistent that we listen to the same experts when it comes to being safe from the coronavirus. And being considerate of those around us who are vulnerable, and not overwhelming the healthcare workers putting their lives on the line fighting this disease, would show menschlichkeit and consideration. Wouldn’t it be considerate to wear a mask and maintain social distancing when in public so as not to infect those vulnerable and not overwhelm hospital staff while they’re endangering their lives?

Consideration, respect, smarts and caring would make us a cohesive am echad, as at Har Sinai.
Silver Spring

Don’t call it annexation

No matter how often editorial writers, critics or friends of Israel mention annexation, the historical truth is an oft-delayed recognition of Jewish sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, which is not annexation (“Annexation is Israel’s decision,” Letters, May 21).

The Jewish people were given sovereignty to Judea and Samaria at the 1920 San Remo Conference, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration. The League of Nations ratified this status in Article 22. The United Nations Charter in Article 80 requires its member states, which include every member of the EU and the United States, to honor these past agreements which, declare the Jewish people’s sovereign right to Judea and Samaria. The Israeli government will simply be restoring the Jewish people’s acknowledged sovereignty to Judea and Samaria as the above-listed international agreements and documents support. Neither Jordan, the Palestinian Authority nor any other Arab entity has such a legitimate claim to sovereignty of this land. Annexation has nothing to do with it no matter how often the word is repeated and by whom.
Margate, Fla.

Don’t celebrate infectious diseases

Your May 21 feature on Camp Modin in Maine seeks to paint a picture of a Jewish summer camp well prepared to protect children from the threat of COVID-19 (“A Jewish camp in Maine is actually opening”).

As evidence of this readiness the feature cites the camp’s experience in managing “outbreaks of other diseases,” including measles, swine flu and meningitis. To me, this history does not suggest experience but, rather, reveals ignorance of public health standards. An outbreak of measles at the camp in 1992 and swine flu in 2009 indicates that the camp accepted children without requiring appropriate vaccinations. Why would you reprint a feature celebrating this unfortunate history?

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