Jewish chaplain memorial may be in works: Weiner

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A Forest Hills congressman said Friday Jewish chaplains may finally get a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, nearly 70 years after the first died in World War II.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Forest Hills) made the announcement at the Jewish War Veterans Kew Forest Post No. 250 at 97-30 Queens Blvd. alongside Jewish veterans of several wars.

“These chaplains who served their country so honorably deserve this memorial, just like those of other faiths,” Weiner said in a statement.

The cemetery currently has no such memorial, although Weiner and the vets who gathered said there was no particular reason why it has taken so long for Jewish chaplains to be honored alongside their Christian counterparts.

“It’s long overdue,” said Sy Weber, a member of Post No. 250´╗┐.

The men who gathered reminisced about the impact their rabbis had on them during the war and said the holy men helped them overcome adversity due to the war and sometimes discrimination from their own troops.

“The anti-Semitism was horrible,” recalled Weber´╗┐.

The monument will honor 13 Jewish chaplains who have died in service since World War II.

It will cost about $30,000 and has already been paid for through private funds, according to Weiner.

Any memorials in the cemetery must be approved by Congress, but Weiner hopes the measure will enjoy wide support. As of Friday, 23 members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors.

“I believe there will be strong support for this resolution in Congress and I look forward to the day when I can stand with my colleagues and see this memorial unveiled at Arlington National Cemetery,” Weiner said.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

Updated 10:48 am, October 12, 2011
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