Keeping tradition with the new guard

June 7, 2019

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Zipporah Goldberg, 2019.

Zipporah Goldberg, 2019.

This past Memorial Day, my family and I went to a few of the local Jewish cemeteries in Tidewater to place American Flags on the graves of those who have, “borne the brunt of battle.”

Ever since we moved to the area, some seven years ago, we have made this a family tradition. Being a Navy town, our local community has a rich history of honorable service. This is very apparent in the number of flags we have placed to include monuments of Jewish Service Members that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation’s freedom.

This dedication, until recently, was shared by fellow veteran Capt. Jim Eilberg, a retired US Navy Captain, whom, for many years, diligently tended to the graves of the Jewish Veterans at Forest Lawn cemetery. He recently turned over the watch to Scott Levin, a Tidewater native. Though not a veteran himself, this year Levin ensured that the more than three dozen Jewish Veterans graves at Forest Lawn were properly decorated with American Flags.

B’nai Israel Cemetery.

B’nai Israel Cemetery.

“It is an honor to maintain the memory of those who served and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom.” Levin says. “My father served proudly in the Navy, my father-in-law was a navel aviator, and my grandfather was a POW in WWII. As the son and a grandson of military veterans, placing flags on the graves of our Jewish War Veterans strengthens my bond with our military community.”

Our Jewish Veterans’ graves lie scattered throughout Tidewater, from the little Workman’s Circle cemetery in Chesapeake to Forest Lawn, the large city cemetery in Norfolk, and to the historic Hebrew Cemetery. Many veterans’ graves are identified, but a fair portion are not.

As the Post Commander for the local chapter of the Jewish War Veterans, Post 158, it is not just my responsibility, but an obligation as an American Jew and Veteran to ensure that the service of members of our community get the proper honor that they deserve each Memorial Day. If you get the opportunity to walk through Forest Lawn, you will see that only the Jewish sections of the memorial park are covered with flags. We are the only organization in Tidewater, which I know about, that annually honors our war heroes with flags.

Many of the identified Veterans graves are still in need of a sponsor such as Edward Floum, B’nai Israel Cemetery, who received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and was killed in Italy during WWII, or Emmanuel Baras, Workman’s Circle Cemetery, who was killed at age 19 in France.

If you are interested in sponsorship or know of any additional veterans graves, contact Adam Goldberg, Post Commander for JWV Post 158, at (831) 917-3996 or email jwv.post158.se.virginia@gmail.com.

Letter to the Editor