A shining example
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A shining example

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History and the Jewish War Veterans of the USA (of which the museum is a subsidiary) will sponsor the “First Annual National Service Honoring the Jewish Fallen Heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan” in Washington, D.C., tonight.

They are also asking synagogues across the United States to join them in this Memorial Day tribute, whether at Friday night or Saturday morning services, and read aloud the names of the fallen soldiers. The list is heart-breaking. They were so young: Most were in their 20s and 30s, and the eldest was 43.

As we ran down the list, one name stood out – that of Capt. Michael Y. Tarlavsky, 30, from Clifton. (The museum has his hometown listed as Passaic.)

We wrote about him, in a cover story, days after he died in battle on Aug. 12, 2004, in Najaf, Iraq. It was a sad story; how could it be otherwise? He left his family – an 11-month-old son, a beloved wife, a sister, and his elderly parents – bereft. And it was all the sadder because – as Sen. Frank Lautenberg said at the young man’s memorial service – he had come to America as a child, from Latvia, looking for the American dream.

Many voices in that cover story sounded a chorus of sorrowful praise: “Captain Michael Tarlavsky had far too few days with us,” said Lautenberg. “The way he lived them will serve as an inspiration to all of us.” Mark Levenson, then the president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Clifton-Passaic, called him “an incredible young Jewish man, a committed citizen, a brave and brilliant soldier and beloved son of Clifton. They don’t make them any better than Mike.” And Edward Schey, the federation’s executive director, called him “a shining example of what is right with America.”

Michael Tarlavsky and all the soldiers, Jewish or not, killed in service to this country, deserve our tears and thoughts on Memorial Day.

Here is the complete list of “fallen heroes of Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Pfc. Daniel J. Agami-USA Age: 25 Hometown: Coconut Creek, Florida

Sgt. Howard P. Allen-USANG Age: 31 Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Spec. Benyahmin ben Yahudah-USA Age: 24 Hometown: Bogart, Georgia

1st Lt. David R. Bernstein-USA Age: 24 Hometown: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania

Cpl. Albert Bitton-USA Age: 20 Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Sgt. Aron C. Blum-USMC Age: 22 Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal-USCG Age: 24 Hometown: Smithtown, New York

Cpl. Ryan J. Clark-USA Age: 19 Hometown: Lancaster, California

Cpl. Michael R. Cohen-USMC Age: 23 Hometown: Jacobus, Pennsylvania

2nd Lt. Seth J. Dvorin-USA Age: 24 Hometown: East Brunswick, New Jersey

Lance Cpl. Mark E. Engel-USMC Age: 21 Hometown: Centennial, Colorado

Cpl. Mark A. Evnin-USMC Age: 21 Hometown: Burlington, Vermont

Pfc. Aaron E. Fairbairn-USA Age: 20 Hometown: Aberdeen, Washington

1st Lt. Daniel Farkas-USA Age: 42 Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

Sgt. Zachary M. Fisher-USA Age: 24 Hometown: Ballwin, Missouri

Pfc. Jacob S. Fletcher-USA Age: 28 Hometown: Bay Shore, New York

Spec. Daniel J. Freeman-USA Age: 20 Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Sgt. Foster L. Harrington-USMC Age: 31 Hometown: Ft. Worth, Texas

Airman 1st Class Elizabeth N. Jacobson-USAF Age: 21 Hometown: Riviera Beach, Florida

Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Kane-USMC Age: 22 Hometown: Towson, Maryland

1st Lt. Nathan M. Krissoff-USMC Age: 25 Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Paul-USAR Age: 43 Hometown: The Dalles, Oregon

Maj. Mark E. Rosenberg-USA Age: 32 Hometown: Miami Lakes, Florida

Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage-USMC Age: 20 Hometown: Indian Harbor Beach, Florida

1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte-USAF Age: 25 Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Capt. Robert M. Secher-USMC Age: 33 Hometown: Germantown, Tennessee

Spec. Marc S. Seiden-USA Age: 26 Hometown: Brigantine, New Jersey

Staff Sgt. Michael B. Shackelford-USA Age: 25 Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado

Sgt. Alan D. Sherman-USMCR Age: 36 Hometown: Brick, New Jersey

Capt. Benjamin A. Sklaver-USA Age: 32 Hometown: Medford, Massachusetts

Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith-USA Age: 41 Hometown: Rochester, New York

1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern-USMC Age: 24 Hometown: Germantown, Tennessee

Capt. Michael Y. Tarlavsky-USA Age: 30 Hometown: [Clifton,] New Jersey

Pfc. Morris L. Walker-USA Age: 23 Hometown: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tech. Sgt. Timothy R. Weiner-USAF Age: 35 Hometown: Tamarac, Florida

Sgt. Robert M. Weinger-USA Age: 24 Hometown: Round Lake Beach, Illinois

Spec. Jeffrey M. Wershow-USANG Age: 22 Hometown: Gainesville, Florida

Pfc. Colin J. Wolfe-USMC Age: 19 Hometown: Manassas, Virginia

Maj. Stuart A. Wolfer-USA Age: 36 Hometown: Coral Springs, Florida

Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong-USA Age: 42 Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

Senior Airman Jonathan A.V. Yelner-USAF Age: 29 Hometown: Lafayette, California

Lt. Miroslav (Steven) Zilberman-USN Age: 31 Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

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