Brian Kresge, a sergeant in the
Because of my own experience, I often speculate what crafts the negative perception of American Jews with regards to military service.
Contemporary perceptions of American Jewish service seem more apt to be influenced by several factors, only one of which seems to stem from the Holocaust.
There may be people who were left with the impression after the Holocaust that Jews merely "rolled" for the German death machine. Stories of the various partisans, the Jewish Mule Brigade, and others take a back seat to Anne Frank, Schindler's List, and Elie Weisel.
Fortunately for us,
I think we American Jews are subject to an unfortunate juxtaposition with Israeli Jews. For 60 years now, Israeli Jews have fought tooth and nail to maintain the Jewish homeland. Between David and Goliath odds, daring and far-flung raids, and a demonstrable penchant for vengeance in the face of terror, they've crafted the definition of "warrior Jew."
It's most telling that, with at least 30 dead Jewish service members in the global war on terror, there is a push to name a Jewish War Veterans post after a young man who made aliyah from
The truth is, the American military itself offers a very level playing field for Jews, with but a few instances otherwise. For many non-Jews, the failure to identify Jewish military achievement could just be a testament to our acceptance or that, aside from religious preference, the military has no mechanism by which to identify its Jewish warriors.
I have to add to Kresge’s guest post that things were different during the time that my husband was on active army duty from May 1970 to May 1972. For example, although Jewish military personnel stationed in
I remember one couple who were unable to come to
Thus I am glad to read that Kresge feels the American military today is “a very level playing field for Jews.” And I very much appreciate Kresge responding to my offer of a guest post.