NEW YORK (Nov. 25)
Young American Jews shouldered their full share of the task of preparing for the defense of their country as induction of recruits into the Army under the Selective Service law began today all over the United States.
Official recognition of the Jews’ place in national, defense and of the religious needs of Jews in the armed forces was indicated in an announcement by John M. Schiff, chairman of the Army and Navy Committee of the Jewish Welfare Board, that Rabbi David de Sola Pool had been appointed to the General Committee of Army and Navy Chaplains, and Rabbi Arieh lev, First lieutenant in the Chaplains’ Reserve, had been assigned to active service in the office of the Chief of Chaplains, Colonel William R. Arnold, as Liaison officer for men of Jewish faith.
In New York City, about one-third of the 200-odd men inducted during the day and a like proportion of the 1,917 scheduled to leave for training camps during the week, are Jews who, like the rest of the New York contingent, had almost to a man volunteered under the law. The first men to report in the morning at the induction centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx were all Jews.
Many of the New York Jewish inductees revealed that older members of their families had seen action in the Army during the World War. One Jerry Isaacson, 28, had an uncle who fought at Chateau-Thierry and in the Argonne, in the Rainbow Division. The Kurtz brothers, Alfred, 23, and Sidney, 24, had a cousin who was a member of the famous “Lost Battalion.” The cousin of Morris Pflantzer, 26, served in the regular Army under General Pershing in his expedition into Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa, and later in the A.E.F.
Pflantzer’s mother voiced the sentiment expressed in one way or another by all parents of recruits who were interviewed I’m proud to have him aid our country, where we live free, and I only hope he comes back at the end of a year in peace.”
One of the few recruits with military experience was Nathan Zuckerman, 29, who had served in the Czechoslovakian Army. Zuckerman cane to the United States two-and-a-half years ago. His parents remained behind, the district where they live having now been annexed by Hungary. Zuckerman declared fervently: “I volunteered because I’ll be happy to be a good American.”
After final medical check-up, swearing-in ceremonies and a send-off by Mayor La Guardia, New York recruits departed immediately for Fort Dix, N.J., and Camp Upton on Long Island. Rabbi Bernard Siegel was already on duty at Fort Dix as regular Army chaplain, and early appointment of a Jewish chaplain at Camp Upton was expected.
The appointment of Dr. Pool to the general committee of chaplains came after many years’ service by him in the religious interests of Jewish soldiers and sailors. He was field organizer for the Jewish Welfare Board during World War I and was recently named chairman of the Committee on Religious Activities of the Welfare Board’s Army and Navy Committee. He will serve on the general committee with the Rev. Mr. Paul Dwight Moody, representing the Protestants, and Bishop John Francis O’Hara, representing the Catholics.
Rabbi Lev was born in 1912 in Jerusalem, the son of American parents, and was educated at Columbia University, the Teachers’ Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Jewish Institute of Religion. He resigned as executive secretary of Young Judaea to enter active service.
The two appointments were hailed by Jewish Welfare Board leaders as indicating desire of the War and Navy Departments to cooperate fully in safeguarding and promoting the spiritual welfare of men in military service. The Board is extending its Army and Navy activities to meet the additional needs created by the expansion of the forces and is organizing local Jewish communities to provide hospitality and assist in meeting the religious and social needs of Jewish recruits.