Throughout the Israelite’s journey from slavery to freedom, they frequently paused for head counts of those who were “from the age of twenty years up” (i.e. Num. 1:3, 18, 26:4). These Israelites were regarded as capable of bearing arms and therefore defending their people. Serving wasn’t optional, they were commanded.
In America today, we are not commanded to serve in our military, and yet many Jews have done so since before we were declared a nation, serving in militias for the Thirteen Colonies. On Veterans Day we honor those who took up the call to defend the United States of America, even without a command from God. In serving, these veterans allowed for us to continue to live in a country that endeavors to uphold certain inalienable rights, chief among them is the freedom to worship our Creator as we please.
Take a moment today to say thank you to a veteran, Jewish or not (though we have many Jewish veterans in our congregation).
To hear a few of the stories from Temple Emanu-El veterans, click their stories below:
Veterans Arthur Katz, Ray Risner, and Norman Zoller View HERE
Wishing those who served a meaningful Veterans Day.