Jewish War Veterans of USA celebrates 127th anniversary amid decline in membership

The organization was founded in 1896 by a group of 63 Jewish veterans from the Civil War to combat antisemitic comments about the lack of Jewish military service in America.

Stephen Levine

Mar 15, 2023, 9:43 PM

Updated 467 days ago

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The Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. have had members from every conflict from the Revolutionary War to the Sept. 11 terror attacks. On Wednesday, the organization celebrated its 127th anniversary.
Members of the oldest veterans organization in the country filled Central Synagogue - Beth Emeth in Rockville Centre to commemorate the occasion.
The organization was founded in 1896 by a group of 63 Jewish veterans from the Civil War to combat antisemitic comments about the lack of Jewish military service in America.
"There were those and that included Mark Twain, who said the Jews never served their country in the military," said JWV Post 652 Commander Eric Spinner. "And that was absolutely false."
A pair of 100-year-old World War II veterans from Long Island were in attendance.
Eli Levine, of Melville, says he was proud to serve as an optician for front-line servicemen and Murray Steinberg, of Wantagh, was in the Army's 240th Combat Engineers.
"I was there in the South Pacific for three years," Steinberg says. "It was a long haul, but I lived through it."
Spinner says, unfortunately, the organization is now dealing with declining membership, particularly in Nassau County.
"Unfortunately, because of age, many of our posts are getting smaller," Spinner says. "There are several posts in Nassau County, which are practically defunct."
JWV Post 652 in Nassau County is working on recruiting new members in order to continue its tradition of being "A Jewish voice for veterans and a veteran's voice for Jews."
The local Jewish War Veterans in Nassau County has 120 members.
For more information on the organization visits we-are-vets.us or call 516-369-5313.


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