The Jewish Daily Forward comes through again with 13 more profiles of Jewish servicemembers who were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of these 13 were already listed on our Yarzheit List, but the Forward does its usual excellent job of telling the real story of each of these brave souls. It is well worth the read. Also, if you haven’t seen their original article about Jewish KIAs (including a video report) now is a good time to catch up.
Perhaps before you view those, I’d recommend you read the editorial posted in conjunction with the main story. It really puts into words what I have felt for some time.
As a Jewish community, we rightly celebrate the commitment and passion of the young Americans determined to contribute to the defense of Israel. But do we pay as much attention to the many more American Jews who have served in the deadly theatres of war in Iraq and Afghanistan for nearly 11 years?
I don’t think the author is trying to take anything away from the value of service in the IDF, rather that as American Jews we often overlook the imense sacrifice by our own Jews who choose to fight under the American flag. The IDF enjoys a grateful nation who never forgets that their soldiers sacrifice for their citizens’ safety. This is contrary to our own military, who fight in far off lands that many Americans couldn’t even identify on a map, let alone keep up with current events there. It’s one thing to display a bumper sticker, it’s quite another to take an active interest in the daily actions of our military abroad. Does it feel like your country has been at war for 11 years?
It’s not a coincidence that the topic was brought up as we approach the High Holidays. Whether it be during Yizkor, when we remember those who are no longer with us, or during the liturgy that reminds us that our life for the coming year will be decided by the Almighty, let us think of those that are out in harm’s way each and every day and face the reality of death and injury on a daily basis. If you want to remember fallen Jewish servicemembers during Yizkor, you can print out our Yarzheit List or simply read some of the profiles from the Forward piece.