March 29, 2010
Jewish War Veterans Mobilizing to Erect Chaplain’s Memorial at Arlington
Stephen Rosmarin, private first class in the United States Army, 7th Division, was stationed in Korea during Passover 1946. He and about 50 other Jewish soldiers, including seven commanding generals, turned to the chaplain to officiate at their seder.
And it was to another army chaplain that he turned a few years later to marry him and his wife back in New Jersey.
So when Rosmarin, who now lives in a veterans home in Lancaster, was asked to help raise money for a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of fallen Jewish chaplains, he had no doubt it was the right thing to do.
“In all honesty, I was somewhat surprised that there isn’t one already, and I think something has to be done about it,” said Rosmarin, 82. “A lot of people don’t realize, and I wasn’t sure myself, that so many chaplains lost their lives serving in the different wars.”
Of the 311 Jewish chaplains who served during World War II, eight rabbis died. Two rabbis lost their lives in the Vietnam War. No Jewish chaplains are known to have died while serving during the World War I or the Korean War, although research is still being done to confirm that.
Sol Moglen, an activist in New York who is leading the effort, contacted Rosmarin, who is active in the Jewish War Veterans, to mobilize local efforts.
Moglen has already raised $17,000 of the $30,000 needed to build the memorial, a granite slab that will be erected on Chaplains Hill at Arlington, where memorials for Protestant and Catholic clergy already stand.
Moglen had been the chief fundraiser and organizer behind the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, which has engraved on it the images and names of the 416 first responders who died on Sept. 11. It was at a ceremony dedicating that wall that a Catholic researcher told Moglen there was no memorial for Jewish chaplains alongside the others at Arlington.
“Once I knew about it, I knew I had to do it,” said Moglen, who served in the Army during the Korean War. “These chaplains did wonderful things and gave their lives, and they never should have been overlooked.”
Moglen has been raising funds in small amounts, wanting to spread the project among many people, not one large donor. He has been working with Jewish War Veterans posts around the country.
Rosmarin said he has already presented the cause at one post’s meeting, and plans to push the project at the state Jewish War Veterans convention in June.
To contribute, contact Sol Moglen at 201-415-1141, or send donations to the Association of Jewish Chaplains, 520 8th Ave., Fourth Floor, New York, New York, 10018.