Memorial Day weekend will be especially poignant for Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, a congregation with a tradition of honoring war veterans and members of the Jewish War Veterans (Department of California). More than 100 people are expected to gather at Home of Peace to dedicate Los Angeles' first monument for Jews who laid down their lives in the defense of our country.
"A lot of people say that Jews never fought. It hurts me when I hear this," says Sephardic Temple board member Hy Arnesty. "So many Jews - men and women - have given their lives for this country."The idea for the monument came to Rabbi Daniel Bouskila during a trip to Washington D.C. with a graduating confirmation class. Following a visit to the National Museum of American Jewish Military History, he took the students to the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. "Some of the students wanted to know if there was a monument honoring Jewish war veterans," says Bouskila, who served in the Israel Defense Forces in 1984.
Bouskila approached Arnesty, a veteran of two wars who had helped establish the congregation's annual Veterans Day Shabbat dinner, with the idea of a establishing a memorial to honor all Jewish veterans. The monument will list all of the wars in which America has fought - from the American Revolution to Desert Storm - and bear the emblem of the 104-year-old Jewish War Veterans of the United States, the oldest veterans group in the nation.
The ceremony, to be followed by a catered reception, will take place Sun., May 28, at noon in the Garden of Maimonides at Home of Peace, 4334 Whittier Blvd. in Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 475-7311.