‘A labor of love’
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‘A labor of love’

Jewish War Veterans visit local veterans home, bringing gifts

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The New Jersey Veterans Home of Paramus distributes an annual wishlist of items to improve the lives of its more than 300, mostly male, residents. On Aug. 8, Jewish War Veterans Post 669 responded to this wishlist with a gift of two industrial-sized barbecue grills.

“We are giving them supplies that they can’t receive from the government,” said Fred Buff, the vice senior commander of the post, which meets in the Jewish Community Center of Paramus. “We donated a grill last year, so with these two grills, a large majority of the home can go outside, eat together, and enjoy the beauty of the day.”

Post members and Doris Neibart, the CEO of the home, gathered in a parking lot behind the home for a modest presentation, organized by Buff. “You have done amazing work for war veterans and we are extremely grateful,” said Al Nahum, the post’s commander.

The post’s 15 to 20 active members have made the Veterans Home a priority for more than seven years. They raise money for veterans’ needs through donations and fund-raisers, such as an annual poppy sale.

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At a presentation at the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home in Paramus are, from left, Bergen County Cmdr. Al Nahum; Adjt. Stan Fox; Post 669 Cmdr. Donald Springer; Qtmstr. Joe Fried; Richard Ziskin; Julia Kirsch, assistant director of the home; Post 669 Sr. Vice Commander Fred Buff; Doris Neibart, director of the home; and Leon Katz.

“We would like to continue this as long as we can, to the best of our financial ability,” Buff said. “It gets harder every year, we aren’t getting any younger.”

“When you go out there shaking the can for donations, and people respond, you realize that you have done good work,” added Joseph Fried, quartermaster. “We don’t do this for glory. We are here to let all veterans know that they have a place [in society].”

After the presentation, Neibart personally thanked the post members. “We are very appreciative,” she told them. “Your donations truly make us a home away from home. Your actions are a labor of love. You fought for your country, and you are still fighting for fellow veterans.”

The New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home in Paramus was founded in 1986. State-sponsored, it is run by the Divison of Veterans Healthcare Services, which also runs veterans homes in Menlo Park and Vineland. The staff at the Paramus facility includes nurses, doctors, dieticians, physical therapists, and spiritual leaders.

“I am proud to work with such an amazing staff,” Neibart told The Jewish Standard. “The home has received top grades from the Division of Veterans Healthcare Services and the Division of Veteran Affairs, which is a great honor, considering they are extremely particular in their evaluations.”

According to Neibart, more than 140 individual volunteers provide services to the home, as do 120 organizations.

“We have arts and crafts, bingo games, and events that keep the residents active,” she said. “The veterans can sell their creations at craft fairs and can use their profits to purchase whatever they need, whether it be a new shirt or beer.”

Post members were impressed with the facilities. “It is clean,” said Fried. “The residents are active and productive. The staff is eager to serve. When I brought the grills in, people were falling over each other trying to help.”

According to post Commander Nahum, “Roughly about 10 percent of the home is of the Jewish faith. We once provided a rabbi [to act as chaplain] for the home.”

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At a presentation at the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home in Paramus are, from left, Bergen County Cmdr. Al Nahum; Adjt. Stan Fox; Post 669 Cmdr. Donald Springer; Qtmstr. Joe Fried; Richard Ziskin; Julia Kirsch, assistant director of the home; Post 669 Sr. Vice Commander Fred Buff; Doris Neibart, director of the home; and Leon Katz.

“However,” he continued, the post’s “fund-raising isn’t restricted to just Jewish veterans. Merchant Marines are also included. For example, we donated money to the armory in Teaneck and to families of the reserve and National Guard. Our organization tries to secure rights for all veterans.”

Nahum added, “One of the main goals of the Jewish War Veterans is to combat anti-Semitism and to dissuade the myth that Jews did not participate in the military. Some 600,000 Jews served in the armed forces during World War II, about 10 percent of the American Jewish population at the time.”

Fried added, “People say that America is not a Jewish country, that the Jews did not fight in the wars…. We are here, aren’t we?”

For more information about the Veterans Home, call (201) 634-8200. To volunteer, call (201) 634-8504.

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