Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

Infobox Organization
name = Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

image_border =
size = 200px
caption =
membership = 32,000
abbreviation = JWV
formation = 1896
headquarters = 1811 R Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
leader_title = National Commander
leader_name = Ira Novoselsky
website = []
The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (also referred to as the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A., the Jewish War Veterans, or the JWV) is an American Jewish veterans' organization. It has an estimated 37,000 members."Associations and Societies." "The World Almanac and Book of Facts 2007". New York: World Almanac Education Group, 2007, p. 397.]

History and purpose

The Jewish War Veterans were established in 1896. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. [" [ Article I (Name)] ." Jewish War Veterans of the United States National Constitution."] [" [ Title 36 (Patriotic and National Observances, Ceremonies, and Organizations). Subtitle II (Patriotic and National Organizations}, Part B (Organizations), Chapter 1101 (Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Incorporated)] ." Title 36 of the United States Code.]

In the preamble to its National Constitution the purpose of the JWV is stated::"To maintain true allegiance to the United States of America; to foster and perpetuate true ; to combat whatever tends to impair the efficiency and permanency of our free institutions; to uphold the fair name of the Jew and fight his or her battles wherever unjustly assailed; to encourage the doctrine of universal liberty, equal rights, and full justice to all men and women; to combat the powers of bigotry and darkness wherever originating and whatever their target; to preserve the spirit of comradeship by mutual helpfulness to comrades and their families; to cooperate with and support existing educational institutions and establish educational institutions, and to foster the education of ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen, and our members in the ideals and principles of Americanism; to instill love of country and flag, and to promote sound minds and bodies in our members and our youth; to preserve the memories and records of patriotic service performed by the men and women of our faith; to honor their memory and shield from neglect the graves of our heroic dead." [" [ Preamble] ." Jewish War Veterans of the United States National Constitution."]

The JWV is a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations [" [ Member Organizations] ." Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.] and Jewish Council for Public Affairs. [" [ JCPA Member Agencies] ." Jewish Council for Public Affairs.]


The JWV is organized into, in descending order of rank, a National Convention, a National Executive Committee, departments, district or county councils, and posts. There are also subsidiary organizations, including the Ladies Auxiliary, posts or other echelons created outside the United States, and any other subsidiary organizations established by a two-thirds vote of theNational Executive Committee." [ Article III (Organization)] ." Jewish War Veterans of the United States National Constitution.]

The National Convention is the annual assembly of the JWV, in which "supreme power" is vested in. The National Convention usually takes place over a week in a major U.S. city determined by the National Executive Committee. The 113th Annual National Assembly in 2008, for example, will take place from August 10-17 in Pittsburgh. Membership at National Conventions is restricted to voting members of the National Executive Committee who shall vote at the same time with their posts and delegates. Each post may send up to one delegate and one alternate for each ten members.

The leader of the JWV, the National Commander, is elected at each National Convention, serving a term beginning with the adjournment of the National Convention and ending with the adjournment of the next National Convention. If a vacancy occurs in the office of National Commander, it is filled by election by the National Executive Committee, and the chairman of the National Executive Committee acts as National Commander until such election, to be held at the next National Executive Committee meeting or within 60 days, whichever occurs first. No person is allowed to succeed himself or herself to the office of National Commander, except when the U.S. is at war.

Additionally, in any Department consisting of 10 or more posts, no two members of the same post may serve at thesame time as an elected National Executive committeeman. National Executive Committeemen serve one-year terms commencing with the adjournment.


Membership eligibility is established in the JWV's National Constitution, which lists the forms of membership as active, associate, honorary, in-service, posthumous, life, and distinguished life, and provides that "No person who promotes, or is a member of any organization or group which believes in, or advocates, bigotry or the overthrow of the United States government by force of arms or subversion" shall be eligible for membership." [ Article IV (Membership)] ." Jewish War Veterans of the United States National Constitution."]

Active membership may be granted to "any person of the Jewish faith of good character" who is a U.S. citizen and was an active duty member of the U.S. military (including the National Guard and Reserves) in or during any war, campaign, or conflict. The National Constitution also requires that members to have not been discharged under any conditions other than honorable.

Associate membership may be conferred on any Jew and U.S. citizen who does not qualify for active membership but who did either serve in wartime in a military allied to the United States and have been honorably discharged, or served in the U.S. military but not in wartime. The Constitution establishes that associate members are entitled to all the rights and privileges of active members except the right to act as a delegate of any echelon.

Life members are equivalent to active members but have no obligation to pay dues. Distinguished life veterans are those that are otherwise eligible to active or associate membership and are certified by the National Executive Director as a "service-connected paraplegic, a double amputee, or is suffering from a service connected total blindness." Like life members, distingushed life veterans are equivalent to active or associate members but have no obligation to pay dues.

Posthumous membership may be granted with the written consent of the next of kin of a Jewish member of the armed forces, of the Jewish faith who died while in the service. In-service membership may be granted to any Jew and American citizen of good character serving in active duty in the U.S. military. In-service members are exempt from dues.

Honorary membership may be conferred upon those ineligible for active membership who have "performed distinguished or faithful service for the United States of America, or for this Organization," and may be conferred only by the National Convention, "after investigation and report received from a Committee designated by the National Executive Committee."


The Jewish War Veterans divides its activities into four areas: patriotic, Jewish, service, and affinity.


The Jewish War Veterans engage in advocacy to preserve religious freedom and separation of church and state as it relates to the U.S. military. [" [ Religious Freedom] ." Jewish War Veterans.] Among other activities, the group has criticized Evangelical proselytizing at the United States Air Force Academy [See " [ JWV Condemns Revised Interim Guidelines on Exercise of Religion in the Air Force] "; " [ JWV Condemns Anti-Semitism and Urges Training in Cultural Diversity at Military Academies] "; the [ Letter of JWV National Commander Louis Abramson to Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, Jr., Superintendent, U.S. Air Force Academy] ; Harrison, Donald H. " [ Beirut 1983: An Indelible Memory] " "San Diego Jewish Times"; and " [ It's the Constitution - Sir: Remarks by MeLinda Morton at the 110th JWV Annual Convention] ."] and has criticized the presence of crosses on war memorials and military bases. The Jewish War Veterans filed lawsuits seeking the removal of the Mount Soledad cross [See " [ Jewish War Veterans v. Rumsfeld] " (complaint), United States District Court for the Southern District of California; " [ Federal Answer to Trunk and Paulson's First Amended Complaint] "; " [ JWV Condemns Efforts to Protect Mt. Soledad Cross] "; " [ JWV Litigates Mt. Soledad Memorial] "; " [ JWV Files Complaint to Remove Mt. Soledad Cross from Federally-owned Property] "; " [ ACLU Represents Jewish War Veterans and San Diego Residents in Effort to Relocate Mt. Soledad Memorial] ," American Civil Liberties Union.] as well as a large cross at Camp H. M. Smith, [See " [ Jewish War Veterans v. United States] " (complaint). United States District Court for the District of Columbia; and [ court decision] .] and supported a federal court decision to remove a cross on federal lands at an armed forces memorial at Mojave National Preserve. [" [ JWV Applauds Decision to Bar Mojave Cross from Public Lands] ." Jewish War Veterans.]

The JWV also has programs supporting the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. [" [ Boy Scouts] ." Jewish War Veterans.]

Each year the JWV holds a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery commemorating Orde Wingate, a major general in the British Army and Zionist. [" [ Orde Wingate] ." Jewish War Veterans.] The JWV also holds Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, [" [ Memorial Day and Veterans Day] ." Jewish War Veterans.] as well as Vietnam Veterans Memorial [" [ JWV National Vietnam Veterans Memorial Projects] ." Jewish War Veterans.] and Korean War Veterans Memorial programs, [" [ Korean War Veterans] ." Jewish War Veterans.] as well as programs for Vietnam veterans. [" [ We Care About Vietnam Vets] ." Jewish War Veterans.]

The JWV also actively supports women in the military. [" [ Women in the Military] ." Jewish War Veterans.]


The JWV manages the National Museum of American Jewish Military History in Washington, D.C., close to its headquarters. [" [ National Museum of American Jewish Military History] ."]

The organization sponsors, in cooperation with the Department of Defense, a "Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust" observance on military installations during the week coinciding with Yom HaShoah. [" [ Days of Remembrance in the Military] ," Jewish War Veterans.]

The JWV administers a JWV National Reward Fund, which offers rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those who have perpetrated antisemitic and other hate crimes [" [ JWV National Reward Fund] ," Jewish War Veterans.] and presents about 30 engraved Kiddush cups to Jewish graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, and U.S. Air Force Academy each year, [" [ Service Academies (Kiddush Cups)] ." Jewish War Veterans]

Additionally, the JWV runs the Lend a Hand program for the Jewish homeless and the poor, particularly needy veterans. [" [ Homelessness and Jewish Poor] ." Jewish War Veterans.]


The JWV gives different awards to its members for excellence and service, including awards give to different departments, councils, or posts, as well as any echelon or to individuals. [" [ National Awards] ." Jewish War Veterans.] The JWV also gives college scholarships to high school seniors who are direct descendants of members in good standing. [" [ Scholarships] ." Jewish War Veterans.] The group runs a "Support Our Soldiers" (SOS), which sends care packages of toiletries and kosher food, and Jewish holiday items to Jewish soldiers serving overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. [" [ SOS Program] ." Jewish War Veterans.]

The JWV also runs anti-substance abuse programs, [" [ Drugs and Alcohol Abuse] ." Jewish War Veterans.] a disaster relief fundraising and volunteer program, [" [ National Disaster Relief] ." Jewish War Veterans.] and a National Stamp Distribution Program for "hospitalized veterans, shut-ins, and school-age children." [" [ Stamp Distribution] ." Jewish War Veterans.]

JWV members also volunteer at VA hospitals [" [ Veterans Affairs Volunteer Services] ." Jewish War Veterans.] and maintains a videotape library on veteran's affairs, Israel, and JWV topics for members. [" [ Video Cassette Library] ." Jewish War Veterans.]


The JWV offers group insurance plans for its members, [" [ Insurance] ." Jewish War Veterans.] as well as discount and promotion plans in cooperation with businesses, including Hertz car rentals, [" [ Hertz Rent a Car] ." Jewish War Veterans.] Pentagon Federal Credit Union, [" [ Pentagon Federal Credit Union] ." Jewish War Veterans.] and Bank of America. [" [ Credit Card] ." Jewish War Veterans.]


External links

* [ Official website]

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