JWV welcomes non-vets, non-Jews as members

By Steve Markman

You don’t have to be Jewish to join Jewish War Veterans. For that matter, you don’t have to be a veteran, either. JWV is America’s oldest veterans’ organization, and anyone can join as a patron donor. This type of membership is open to any supporter of the organization who upholds, reflects and pursues the values of JWV.

Patrons are encouraged to participate in all activities with their local post and to support JWV programs. They have all the privileges of a regular member, except they are not eligible to hold elected JWV office or act as a delegate at JWV conventions.

JWV is our country’s oldest continuously operating veterans’ organization, and currently has nearly 250 posts in the United States, and one in Israel. JWV was formed by Jewish veterans of the Civil War to counter claims that Jews did not serve when their country needed them and were being denied the benefits they’d earned.

Steve Markman
Steve Markman

The truth is that Jews served and distinguished themselves during the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War, and since have continued to serve in all branches of the service, during all of our wars and military actions, right up through today.

While the discrimination of the post-Civil War era largely is gone, JWV has moved on to being a strong advocate for all veterans and others associated with our military, regardless of religion, race, or creed.

At the national level, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C., JWV works with the Congress and federal agencies to promote veterans issues and to be a strong advocate for Israel.

In addition, JWV offers a variety of youth scholarships, and supports Jewish military academy and ROTC cadets and Scouting. JWV also maintains the National Museum of American Jewish Military History in Washington, which displays and archives the stories and artifacts of Jewish military service.

At the local level, the Dayton/Cincinnati Post 587 is commanded by Jeff Thau. Under his leadership, the post volunteers at the Dayton VA Medical Center, participates in naturalization ceremonies to welcome new citizens, places flags on the graves of Jewish veterans for Memorial Day, maintains liaison with Jewish military personnel at Wright-Patterson AFB, and assists Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops.

The post conducts two brunch meetings each year, each with a speaker, and participates in the community Chanukah lunch with Hadassah, JFS Active Adults, and the JCC Yiddish Club. In Ohio, JWV also has posts in Cleveland, Sandusky/Lorain, Akron, Canton, and Columbus.

Active duty Jewish military members are eligible for in-service membership. Annual membership is free while on active duty and for the first year out of the service.

Your participation matters. Besides being part of an active post here in the Dayton area, the size of our national membership is important.

When JWV advocates for veterans, numbers matter and often are as important as the significance of the issue. Your membership can help make JWV’s voice stronger as we continue to help all veterans across the country.

Steve Markman is past commander of Jewish War Veterans Post 587 and current JWV commander for the state of Ohio.

To read the complete May 2017 Dayton Jewish Observer, click here.

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