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"Heading Home: Team Israel" World Baseball Classic comes to national release


Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is the David-and-Goliath story of Israel’s national baseball team as it competes for the first time in the World Baseball Classic.

After experiencing years of crushing defeats, Israel finally ranks among the world’s best in 2017. Its roster includes many Jewish-American major leaguers, most with a tenuous relationship to Judaism, barely any ever having set foot in Israel. Their odyssey takes them from the Holy Land where they are hailed as modern-day Maccabees to the tournament in South Korea where they must debunk their reputations as has-beens and wannabes. The connection to Israel that the players forge pushes them to unexpected heights as they represent the country on the world stage.




Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel reflects the journey of a group of young people, who through an indefatigable belief in themselves and their cause defy the world’s expectations. Released in the 70th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel.

Infielder, Cody Decker brought the Mensch on a Bench to dugouts as Team Israel's good-luck mascot
"Heading Home: Team Israel" premiered in L.A. Thursday night, September 5th, at the Laemmle Ahrya Fine Arts cinema - in coordination with the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival.

Cody Decker reflects as "Team Israel" WBC baseball docupic opens on "Munich" Olympics anniversary. He compares security between MLB and the World Baseball Classic.



Greg Laemmle at "Heading Home: Team Israel" in L.A.
How Jews confronted discrimination via baseball- which still exists all around.
 


At the Film Festival premier of "Heading Home: Team Israel in April  2108, Josh Rawitch, VP, Communications with the MLB Arizona Diamondbacks, discussed his experience serving in Media Relations when Team Israel competed in the World Baseball Classic division tournament in 2017 in South Korea.



Watch the post-screening discussion between Team Israel infielder, Cody Decker, and Greg Laemmle of the Laemmle Theaters cinema group which are debuting the documentary and post-screening discussions with Cody Decker.

 

In-person guest appearances are scheduled Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday 9/6-12 in NY/NJ and Los Angeles:


Valerie Harper, 80, Gentile actress who championed the image of women, Jews, and Zionism in society

Traditionally in Hollywood, character roles of attractive Jewish women were given to Gentile actresses to portray. As writer Liese Spencer wrote in "If in doubt, cast a gentile" in The Independent:

The rule was, if a woman was attractive she wasn't Jewish, and if she looked Jewish then she wasn't attractive.  . . . Actors were encouraged to get nose jobs and name jobs. Tula Ellice Finklea became Cyd Charisse, Betty Perske became Lauren Bacall."
From 1970-1978, actress Valerie Harper's portrayal of Rhoda Morganstern (on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, spun-off in to her own "Rhoda" series) helped introduce and integrate female Jewish identity into American cultural consciousness. 

Valerie Harper is reunited with Mary Tyler Moore in "Along Comes Mary" episode of "Rhoda" (CBS Archives)

In March 2013, The "Times of Israel" announced: "Zionist 'Rhoda' star has terminal cancer"

"First famous as Mary Tyler Moore’s Jewish sidekick on the former’s eponymous TV show, Harper’s character later earned her own self-titled spin-off, “Rhoda,” which ran for five seasons. The character’s Jewish background had been front-and-center on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” setting the plot in motion on several episodes. Though it faded when she became a protagonist, the character remains one of the most prominent and identifiable Jewish figures to serve at the center of a primetime American TV series. 


An accomplished dancer and stage actress, Harper later starred in a film version of “Golda’s Balcony,” the long-running off-Broadway play, in which she portrayed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir at the end of her life. Harper, now 73, brought the movie to Israel for the 2007 Eilat Film Festival, where she called “the creation of this state one of the crowning achievements of the 20th century.”  
 
Valerie Harper in promotion for "Golda's Balcony" theatrical national tour, Nov 2005 - May' 06

Warm, humble and down-to-earth, Harper also recalled her first visit to Israel, in 1976, at the height of her television fame. Though she didn’t meet Golda Meir, she remembered sharing tea with Abba Eban, Israel’s widely admired ambassador to the US and UN. "

Ms. Harper survived the skull cancer until August 30, 2019. She was among the Gentile actors whose performing of Jewish roles helped introduce Jewish culture in popular society. 

Despite the 21st century's era ethnic touchiness for "cultural misappropriations," Ms. Harper used the celebrity status she gained portraying "Rhoda" to draw attention to Israel's qualities, in the face of challenges, by portraying Prime Minister Golda Meir in a national tour in 2005/06 Tovah Feldshuh portrayed Golda's Balcony off, then on-Broadway- in a long, popular run.
TV and film director Jeremy Kagan directed Ms. Harper's film version of "Golda's Balcony" - the first motion picture based on William Gibson's one-woman play.

NY Israel Parade '08 (r-l) Valerie Harper, Ron Rifkin, Rich Kind, Lainie Kazan






When honored as a Grand Marshall at NYC's 2008 Salute to Israel Parade, she explained her understanding, learned through that role, of Israel's strategic importance to the free-world in limiting Russian hegemony over the oil-producing Middle East - which she learned and conveyed in portraying Israel's fourth prime-minister.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Prime Minister Golda Meir, wrestled with Henry Kissinger to replace Israel's arms stock lost in staving off the surprise-onslaught by the Russian-supplied armies of Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.




On Ms. Harper's passing, Prof.  Kagan spoke with JooTube about his professional experience with Ms. Harper and other Gentiles who introduced Jewish characters to the public.
Jeremy Kagan directing Robby Benson in The Chosen (1981)

He also directed "The Chosen" with Maximilian Schell, Robby Benson, and Rod Steiger.  We talked about the image of the Jewish-American, the American-Israeli.

We spoke about the contribution of Ms. Harper and other Gentiles to the image of the Israeli and the American Jew in the public eye.  

Transcript from video interview: "Here I am, okay! I'm Jeremy Kagan - I am a filmmaker, film-director, direct television, direct movies, and I am a full-tenured professor at the University of Southern California- the School of Cinematic Arts. Lots of words but that's somewhat of my titles for what they're worth.



Question: You have directed to movies of seminal interest of the American Jewish representation in the United States. What were they?

I directed a movie called "The Chosen" which is from Chaim Potok's masterpiece. And actually I directed the movie called "Crown Heights" for Showtime which was about the Crown Heights riots. My first two features starred two Jewish actors- a picture called "Heroes" with Henry Winkler, and a picture called "The Big Fix" with Richard Dreyfuss. So I've had a lot of sort of Jewish subjects and characters in my movies.  And then I directed Valerie Harper in "Golda's Balcony."
Robby Benson in Jeremy Kagan's "The Chosen" location

Question: Valerie Harper unfortunately passed away yesterday, yes?

I already miss her. She was in my mind the last two days and the way the mind works, sometimes we pick up energies and then I've just learned just hours ago that she had passed although I know she was quite sick. And I wish her soul, her neshama, reaches a level of performance and giving that her being here in this planet exemplified for all of us- of the capacity to give and Valerie's contribution to the Jewish community in America - to the Jewish community worldwide - is a major gift to all of us so I want to thank her so and wish it a good journey!

Golda's Balcony comes from a play that was written by William Gibson. Initially this actually brilliant playwright had written a play with many characters in it. But after he saw it on Broadway and even as Golda who was still alive actually came and actually saw it as well it came backstage and talked to him he felt it really needed to be rethought. And then he came up with the idea of a one-woman show. And he rewrote the play so that's what it became. 

Valerie took that on and performed it around the country around the United States to audiences of five and six thousand. Big, big theaters and major cities all across the country. 

Valerie herself, this play specifically about why the word Golda's Balcony relates to the fact that supposedly there is a balcony in an area hidden in somewhere in the desert where the all of the atomic bomb materials and research is done.

And there's a balcony that goes down deep into the earth and during the Yom Kippur War in 1973, Golda was faced with the possibility of using the bomb in order to save Israel from being destroyed by this surprise invasion from the Egyptian and Syrians. And she actually considered it. And since he knew that that was part of her consideration and she sort of when she saw the play it was said "You got things right" but never said anymore. That he wanted this play to deal with the great terror (that we still have at this very moment) of using nuclear weapons and so that's the balcony that she went on to see where and how this is all goes down.

Question: Did Valerie Harper play Golda both on Broadway and the film?

She played it all. In New York she played it and every major city in the United States. And then her partner her husband, Tony Cacciotti - and my sympathies go out to Tony right now because obviously it's a great loss for him - it's a great loss for all of us - but a personal great loss for him and time the grieving is what's happening for him) I'm sure. But he then said "let's make a movie of this, it's so successful!" 

People loved her performance. That means these she had packed audiences everywhere she went. I went to see a performance in Phoenix. Six thousand people, standing ovation, major applause, and I was I was so moved I was crying twice and midst of the piece because it's an emotional piece. I went backstage to see her and like I saw her and I started weeping and she smiled gave me a big hug and I said look if there's any way I can help make this happen as a movie I'll do it.

We then came up with an idea because they were limited finances that we would do that all against and this is a term of some of your viewers I'm sure know - all against green screen - meaning there would be no sets.  It would just be her against the green screen. And she plays more than Golda - she plays Golda's husband, she plays other characters that Golda had to deal with, and she would play all these characters - and sometimes she would play both of them - and I would make it so that you in the film, she would be quote talking-to-herself - and then we, in the green screen, we created an entire environment. So when the war was happening (which is part of this story) we were able to get all the documentary footage from the war and that all was playing behind her on these green screens (that now no-longer were green). And so if you watch the DVD, it's this incredible energetic rather sort of, I don't know if I'd call it experimental (because, I mean, so many movies have taken advantage of green screen) but it but it has its own feel. It's a fresh way of taking on a piece of theater and making it cinematic - and she was spectacular!

Here is the trailer for the movie:

Question: What role did Judaism or American Jewishness play in Valerie's life - having portrayed Rhoda Morgenstern for the years both on Mary (Tyler Moore Show) and on her own show?

You know, I talked to Valerie about this because Valerie (she's not Italian, she's not Jewish) yet she has played these kind of characters and brought such reality to them. Now there are two factors that allowed that to happen - one it was a personal reality for Valerie when she was a young person. Some of her best friends were Jews and she hung out with them and with their families. So she kind of knew the social relationships, the way certain people talked, the way that certain kinds of things happen between them, attitudes she knew this. So it was very easy for her as an actor to recreate it. And some of these people who as I said were her best friends.

Barry Miller, Rod Steiger, and Robby Benson in "The Chosen
And as she grew up as a young woman, some of her best friends - when she was a gypsy on Broadway - they were, and I know them, they were Jewish girls and so this was part of her environment she just was affected by. 

But the other part is what a great actor can do and that is find within themselves another human being and bring that to the fore. And that's you know when we watch great performances we say "boy, look at this - how did they do that?" 


"The Chosen" Barry Miller and Maximilian Schell (1981)
And in my case, I've worked with three non-Jews. And these three non-Jews have created Jewish characters that I think are excessively believable to a Jew or to a non- Jew: Maximilian Schell and Rod Steiger in the movie that I mentioned, "The Chosen." 

Rod played a Rebbe - he did his homework, but that Rebbe existed in him somewhere and he brought it out. Maximilian's but you played a more contemporary, intellectual Jew. Very easy because he was a very smart guy on his own to get to that kind of Jew.



 

And Valerie, well you've seen what she's played from Rhoda to Golda. But I mean that a great actor finds those beings in them. And then there's a third factor this is a little bit woowoo some viewers would say. And that is - I actually think a Jewish neshama was inside ... a Jewish soul was inside somewhere deep in her now that maybe inside everybody I says I'm suggesting and certainly an actress all fine but I have a feeling somewhere that was there.

So I mean we see Valerie continuously through her life stepping up and speaking for Israel stepping up and speaking for Jewish concerns. Stepping up and raising its a dog up for various Jewish issues I mean that's ... she just did this continuously - besides playing Jewish characters. And we owe her a lot!


Question: What do you feel the Jewish people owe Gentiles who have helped establish Jewish identity in the public realm?

Well, I think first we have to recognize Torah itself which is saying, you know, you need to be recognized that you once were a stranger and you need to have compassion for the stranger. You need to feed that other person who is in need as much as you because in essence we're all created by HaShem. So recognizing people who are not Jews who are making major contributions to helping both the acceptance of us as a people, the acceptance of Israel as a nation - we need to say "thank you."

And I want to say personally a major thank you to Valerie. Because, you know, I hope people who watch this actually go get the DVD and watch the DVD and see who Golda was created by her. And you will not think that's a non-Jew playing - you'll think that's Golda! And now you will learn who Golda was and all of Golda's contributions to that nation, and to us as a Jewish people. 

And by the way, on that DVD, if you're interested, there are people who knew Golda ... I went and traveled this country and in Israel and interviewed people from Ehud Barak to people that were in her cabinet - to ask what was it like to work with this remarkable human being and so that's on the DVD too. So in honor of Valerie, go watch it and see what she was doing for us - and see in fact what Golda did for us!"

Prof. Kagan also credits Ms. Harper's "Rhoda Morganstern" character as an extension of Mary Richards' role (as crafted by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, and developed by David Davis and Lorenzo Music) in the evolution of society's acceptance of women's equality and independence.


Footnote: Valerie Harper's performance of Golda's Balcony is out of print and available on DVD used (priced as rare). The film of Tovah Feldshuh's portayal of Golda's Balcony (which JewTube covered at the 2019 L.A. Jewish Film Festival) is playing at Jewish Film Festivals in North America from September to May, 2020.

The relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and Jewish philanthropist Leslie Wexner, explained

"The relationship between Jeffrey Epstein and Jewish philanthropist Leslie Wexner, explained" by Ben Sales in J.T.A. Aug 13, 2019 
Leslie Wexner/ Jeffrey Epstein (Laura Adkins/Getty Images)

One of the most befuddling questions surrounding the Jeffrey Epstein saga is why Leslie Wexner, a billionaire entrepreneur, entrusted all of his money to Epstein, a secretive financier with no college degree. 

Since the Epstein sex scandal resurfaced this year, these questions have dogged Wexner, the owner of Victoria’s Secret who at one point was Epstein’s only known financial client. Wexner was very close with Epstein and trusted him as a money manager and legal representative. 

Epstein was found hanged in his jail cell on Saturday in what officials are calling a suicide. 

As the scandal has unfolded, Wexner and his associates have put out a series of statements on Epstein and their relationship. His connection with Epstein has also led to stormy discussions among the recipients of his largesse about the ethical dilemmas they face.

How much has Leslie Wexner given to Jewish causes? Plenty. The Wexner Foundation is among the most prominent private Jewish charities in the world. In 2017, according to tax documents, it gave $3.6 million in charity, much (but not all) of it to Jewish educational causes, as well as more money for educational programs. The foundation is best known in the Jewish world for its graduate fellowship, which awards scholarships to 20 promising graduate students in Jewish fields, including rabbinical school, cantorial school, Jewish educational school or another degree program. More than 1,800 people have participated in its program aimed at providing volunteer board leadership with lessons in Jewish history, thought, texts and contemporary issues. The foundation runs a variety of other programs, including training for Israeli public officials. 

Here’s a primer on how the two became so close, and why their relationship poses a dilemma for many in the Jewish community. 

4th anniv of "Stop Iran Rally" - a teaching moment for Democrat politicians & voters

Protesters oppose Obama's nuclear Iran plan in Times Square
July 22, 2019 (photo: Kena Betancur/AFP/GettyImages)
While Iran featured less prominently on the second night of Democratic presidential candidates' debates, moderators asked candidates in the first round (June 26th) whether they would reenter the Iran nuclear deal "as it was originally negotiated." Every candidate on stage, except for Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ) responded yes, even as they continued to criticize parts of Pres. Barack Obama's accord.  (source: Bryant Harris in al-Monitor, "Intel: Where candidates came down on Iran in Democrat debates" 6/28/19)

Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "I think that any objective look at the consequences of doing that (resuming the JCPOA) would come to the conclusion that it would actually hurt the interests of the United States and the region and so on.  . . 

 “To go back to the JCPOA means letting Iran get nuclear weapons.”  Quoted 27 June at the Israel Hayom conference in Jerusalem in conversation with editor-in-chief Boz Bismuth. (source: Jacob Kornbluh in Jewish Insider)

Not only are the Democratic candidates opposing Pres. Trump's strategy to renegotiate the arrangement, but the anti-Trump media has turned a public majority against it - without understanding (other than Iran threatens military conflict) the logic in Pres. Trump's strategy to elicit a stronger deal.

This week four years ago, more than 10,000 people gathered for a "Stop Iran Rally" in New York's Times Square. They watched experts explain the folly in Obama / Kerry's JCPOA (Iran nuclear weapons agreement) to the legislators who would be voting on it.

Experts and luminaries delivered rational, impassioned arguments why Congress should reject approving this flawed plan - which has since been revealed by Israel's Mossad that Tehran still sought to obtain nuclear weapons, despite its pact with world powers to curb its nuclear program in return for a loosening of sanctions


Benjamin Netanyahu shows U.N. General evidence of Iran's untrustworthiness and violations under the JCPOA

Speeches on this playlist (advance through list via button in upper right):



  1. Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, Stop Iran Rally emcee, Jewish Rapid-Response Coalition;
  2. Helen Freedman - Chair, Americans for a Safe Israel;
  3. Alan Dershowitz - Harvard Law School professor (ret.)
  4. Col. Allen West - ret. US Army Iraq War, gives impassioned challenge to Obama;
  5. Clare Lopez - former CIA analyst;
  6. Caroline Glick - political columnist Jerusalem Post;
  7. Rabbi Abraham Cooper - Simon Wiesenthal Center;
  8. Col. Richard Kemp - led British Forces in Afghanistan;
  9. Mort Zuckerman - formerly Newsweek; publisher N.Y. Daily News;
  10. Navy Admiral James "Ace" Lyons - US Military leader (died 12/12/18);
  11. Major Gen. Paul Vallely - senior military analyst, Fox News;
  12. Frank Gaffney, Exec. Dir, Center for Security Policy;
  13. Steven Emerson - Exec. Director, The Investigative Project;
  14. Monica Crowley- radio broadcast journalist, Fox News;
  15. James Woolsey - former C.I.A. director;
  16. Robert Morganthau - retired NY District Attorney (d. 7/21/19);
  17. Kasim Hafeez - reformed Muslim-extremist from Britain;
  18. US Rep. Trent Franks;
  19. NY former Gov. George Pataki;
  20. Richard Allen - rally co-organizer;
  21. Kevin McCullough - talk radio host, NYC;
  22. Concerned NYC man on the street about Obama's plan;
  23. Jeffrey Wiesenfeld;
  24. Col. Richard Kemp - led British Forces in Afghanistan;
  25. Herbert London - founder, The London Center for Policy Research (died Nov. 10, 2018);
  26. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R- MI) WMD-expert;
  27. Genevieve Wood- The Heritage Foundation;
  28. Lauri Regan - Stop Iran Rally co-organizer;
  29. Sarri Singer - Survivor of Iran-funded terror;
  30. Tony Lo Bianco - actor, "The French Connection," "Police Story";
  31. Vered - an Israeli-New York designer/ fashionista;
  32. Scott Jacobs - video-journalist, JewTube.Info;

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu shows UN Gen. Assembly Iran nuclear red-line, 27 Sept 2012

Bostonian, Larry Saloman, expresses pride at witnessing Israel Prime Minister telling US Congress-people about the flaws of the Iran JCPOA nuclear weaponizing terms which Obama was pushing them to ratify.



Libertarian, FreedomFest conference session on Israel's economics jumps the rails

Steve Forbes chats with John Stossel as Mark Skousen gathers FreedomFest '17 speakers for a group photo
The panel at the libertarian, FreedomFest '17 Conference, "Capitalism vs Socialism: Which Way, Israel?" got a bit testy when former president of the Arab Bankers Association of North America, Ziad Abdelnour, changed the direction from the examining of Israel's maturation from Socialism to Capitalism - into chiding Israel for not resolving the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Panel moderator Gene Epstein (Barron's magazine columnist) called on Ziad less after this- giving more time to co-panelists George Gilder, co-founder of Discovery Institute, author/radio commentator Michael Medved, and author Rabbi Daniel Lapin. 




The following video is a compilation of Mr. Abdelnour's speaking opportunities.

Michael Medved reacts to Mr. Abdelnour's conduct on the panel. 


Rabbi Daniel Lapin shares his views on the donnybrook and the group of anti-Zionists who support Mr. Abdelnour's critical views.


George Gilder (author "The Israel Test") explains the Lebanese financier's performance and defends Israel against anti-Israelism from Christians and Muslims. 

Watch the annual Herzliya Policy Conference in Israel presenters and panels

The Herzliya Conference is Israel's foremost global policy annual gathering, drawing together the most senior Israeli and international participants from government, business, and academia to address pressing national, regional, and global issues. 


Video of Herzliya Conference Opening Day, Sunday, June 30 


Program Schedule / Agenda 


Video of Herzliya Conference 2nd Day, Monday, July 1 



 Video of Concluding, Third Day, Tues, July 2

Jewish musicians' contributions to pop and jazz - musicologist, Gary Alexander, at FreedomFest '17

Jewish contributions to Jazz - musicologist, Gary Alexander, a Gentile, at FreedomFest '17

Gary Alexander, the gentile author of planned book, "Beauty and the Beat:  How the sons of Tevye and the grandchildren of slaves joined to create the greatest, 20th century American music: The Great American Songbook and Jazz."

Mr. Alexander, who plays clarinet, explains how Jewish composers (e.g., George Gershwin) and songwriters (e.g., Irving Berlin) contributed music which became pop "standards" - elaborated upon by improvisational jazz musicians (e.g., Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman). 

  

Recorded at FreedomFest in Las Vegas following panel discussion he moderated with Patty Farmer, Alexander Green, and Hyperion Knight on July 21, 2017.


Anti-Israelism remains a barrier in LGBTQ Pride marches


Jill Raney, a  DC Dyke March organizer and member of IfNotNow, and
Blake Flayton, a Jewish activist, debate the overarching symbolism of the
Israeli flag and Pride flag with the Star of David. (photo: Moment)

The D.C. Dyke March barred the Jewish pride flag. This LGBTQ space no longer feels safe.

 NBC News.com on Monday, 
10 June published an op/ed by Mr. Khen Massig, who self-identifies as a queer Mizrahi Jew: 

"Just as I did not choose to be gay, I did not choose my ethnicity. But now, the organizers of a queer march held in Washington on Friday are telling me that I should be ashamed of where I was born, my nationality and that I am Jewish. In solidarity with the Palestinians and to create a safe space for them, the D.C. Dyke March banned “nationalist symbols” from countries with “oppressive tendencies,” in particular Israeli flags. This included the Star of David superimposed on a rainbow pride flag, which the organizers considered evocative of the Israeli flag, though Palestinian flags were allowed. 
.  .  .

Delegitimizing the state’s entire existence due to its embodiment of Jewish self-determination makes no sense. I too am very critical of my country’s government, as are many of my compatriots in this vibrant democracy. However, despite its imperfections, Israel is still the most free country in the Mideast. 

The idea that we should boycott an entire country’s people due to the objectionable policies of their government is unacceptable, misguided and harmful to both myself and LGBTQ+ Israelis, a community in need of and deserving of support. 

I implore progressives and LGBTQ+ activists who have joined this campaign to think twice. It’s a vile effort designed by a coalition of anti-Zionist organizations to manipulate others into fighting their own political war against Israel. 

Ultimately, their agenda runs counter to everything LGBTQ+ activism stands for — ostracizing an LGBTQ+ community that has made progress in its pursuit of its own equality, defending a society that truly oppresses LGBTQ+ individuals and hijacking people’s good-faith efforts to expand the rights of the LGBTQ+ community worldwide. This is the true definition of pinkwashing." 

On Sunday, Mr. Aryeh Mavazy, led "Jewish Queers Int'l" marching in the L.A. Gay Pride Parade. He discussed the hypocrisy of banning of Israeli flag derivatives, such as the rainbow Jewish star flags by the Dyke Marches.

Rob the Realtor mans the Pulse Foundation signature wall at the LA Pride Parade in the wake of L.A. Pride's anti-Trump, Resist March. While LGBT activism professes pursuit of tolerance for all, for some people, it seemed to end at the Log Cabin Republicans booth.

Synagogue's Memorial Day ceremony attracts diverse vets, raises questions

Jewish soldiers buried at the
American 
Cemetery in
Normandy, 
France
How many Jews gave their lives defending our diaspora nations? Should America's Memorial Day apply to volunteers for Israel? To civilian casualties of terror?

In Simon Wolf's 1895, "The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier, and Citizen," out of a Revolutionary War era population of 3,000 Jews in the colonies, 46 fought in George Washington's army.  The first Jew ever elected to public office in the colonies, Francis Salvador, became the first Jew killed fighting for America's independence from the British.

Since then, Jewish-North Americans (including Canadians) numbering approximately 1.5 million Jews fought in the regular Allied armies,  according to Yad Vashem 

In many cases, the percentage of Jews fighting was greater than the percentage of Jews in the population.

About 500,000 Jewish soldiers fought in the Red Army during World War II. Some 120,000 were killed in combat and in the line of duty (4.6% of the Jewish population); the Germans murdered 80,000 as prisoners of war. More than 160,000, at all levels of command, earned citations, with over 150 designated “Heroes of the Soviet Union”— the highest honor awarded to soldiers in the Red Army.

Approximately 550,000 Jewish soldiers fought in the US Armed Forces during World War II. They served on all fronts in Europe and in the Pacific. Some 10,000 were killed in combat, and more than 36,000 received citations. Many Jewish soldiers took part in liberating the camps.

Approximately 100,000 Jews fought in the Polish army against the German invasion. They made up 10% of the Polish army, commensurate with the percentage of Jews within the general population. Approximately 30,000 Jews fell in battle, were taken captive by the Germans, or declared missing during the battles defending Poland, 11,000 in the defense of Warsaw. Thousands of Jews later served in various Polish armies fighting against the Germans in the Allied Forces.

During World War II, more than 17,000 Jewish Canadians enlisted. They served in every branch of the armed forces and in the merchant marine. 577 Canadian Jewish casualties in the Canadian Armed Forces include servicemen who died while serving in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. 

About 30,000 Jews served in the British army in 1939-1946, some in special units of Jews from Palestine, such as the Jewish Brigade.

Rabbi Ed Feinstein of
Valley Beth Shalom
On May 25, 2019, L.A. synagogue Valley Beth Shalom commemorated Memorial Day during the Musaf service and afterwards - in a special ceremony which attracted both Jewish veterans and members of the air-veterans fraternity, Wings over Wendy's.
Harvey Keenan organizes
egalitarian ceremonies for

Memorial and Veterans Days

After officiating at the Los Angeles National Cemetery ceremony on Memorial Day, Chaplain Dov Cohen explains annual ceremonies at Valley Beth Shalom, organized by Rabbi Ed Feinstein and Harvey Keenan.


How is African-American, Honor Guard Roscoe Frazier, Jr. an esteemed participant in Jewish-Americans' veterans' activities?
Following the Memorial Day Service at Valley Beth Shalom, Harvey Keenan introduces Roscoe Frazier, Jr. - a 20-year, Army veteran who is also a valued member of the Wings over Wendy's veterans' fraternal association.

Should American Memorial Day include the Anglo volunteers killed in defending the Holy Land? 




Sgt. Bob Stiles, a Christian-raised, former USAF air-traffic controller at Castle A.F.B, discusses his service during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Mr. Stiles, a self-identified, "latter-day Jew" contends that the wars which Americans recognize on Memorial Day - ought to include the wars in which Anglo-Americans (Jewish, Christian, and otherwise) volunteered from around the world to defend the independence of Israel, the Judeo-Christian, Middle-East outpost, against Arab onslaught, beginning in 1947. 


WWII and Korean War veteran, Hy Arnesty, 96,
a former Jewish War Veterans post commander,
attended both Memorial Day veterans' events 
Approximately 1,400 North American volunteers, mostly World War II veterans, participated in the War of Independence, and played particularly crucial roles in the nascent Israeli air force and navy, said Dean Ralph Lowenstein, director of the Machal Archives and Museum at the University of Florida. 

123 Machalniks were killed or went missing-in-action during the War. Many were wounded, and some were taken prisoners-of-war. A Memorial was erected at the entrance to the Burma Road in the Sha’ar Hagai Forest, to commemorate the Fallen Machalniks. A memorial plaque lists the names of the Fallen in Hebrew and English, and the countries from which they came. Most Machalniks returned to their home countries after the War. About 550 Machalniks (16%) stayed on in Israel, or returned later to make their homes here. 


Briton Dr. Jason Fenton enlisted in the fledgling IDF in 1948- now active in Machal, Zionist veterans association (recorded 2012 at Celebrate Israel Festival).



Today, there is an annual constant stream of 150—180 young Jewish volunteers from all over the world who continue to come to Israel to serve in all branches of the IDF, many in combat units, and a number have died in action. (Source: http://www.machal.org.il/)

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History has compiled a list of American Jewish Casualties of Operations Iraqi Freedom (2003), Enduring Freedom (2001), and New Dawn (2003-2011).