Moving monument: Boulder with plaque honoring local veterans finds new home
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Moving monument: Boulder with plaque honoring local veterans finds new home

When Temple Emanuel moved from Paterson last year, a Jewish War Veterans memorial there did not make the move to the new shul’s grounds in Franklin Lakes.

Members of the JWV Kaufman-Harris Wayne Post 695 saw how much it meant to friends and family to keep the memorial in Passaic County, which the memorialized veterans called home. On Sunday, June ‘5, it will formally rededicate the memorial, now at the entrance of the YM-YWHA of North Jersey in Wayne.


The plaque on this boulder honors 30 local Jewish veterans who died in the service of their country. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE YM-YWHA OF NORTH JERSEY

Created in 1933 by the JWV Reuben Kaufman Post 36, the monument is a boulder bearing a plaque engraved with the names of 30 Jewish soldiers from the Paterson area who fought and died in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I.

In April ‘005, the post’s memorial committee wrote to the Y’s board, "Since it [the memorial] is dedicated to the memory of Jewish residents of our county who served or made the supreme sacrifice for their country, we felt that this is where it belongs." The board unanimously approved the immediate relocation of the memorial to the Y.

"We were looking to have it at a central location in Passaic County because most of the veterans whose names were inscribed were from the greater Patterson area. The Y in Wayne is now considered the center of Jewish life in this area," said the post’s Cmdr. Norman Kailo.

Kailo led the effort to have the monument moved from the former Temple Emanuel, enlisting the aid of Knoble Construction of Branchville, which donated its time and labor. The monument completed its journey in December, but because of the weather, the area could not be landscaped until recently. The monument now rests between flagpoles bearing the American and Israeli flags, a spot that Kailo — who is also on the Y’s board of directors — said is "very appropriate."

"I think it’s really impressive," said Joyce Goldberg Fein, program director at the Y. "It shows how far back Jews have been fighting in wars [on the side of] the United States, defending our country."

The Jewish War Veterans is the oldest active veterans group in the country, created in 1896 as a response to the charge that Jews were not serving their country. The post was first named for Reuben Kaufman, after the first Jewish Paterson resident killed in World War I. In 1946, the name was changed to include Sidney Harris, the first Jewish Paterson resident killed in World War II. The post then merged with the JWV Wayne Post 695 in March ‘004 to become the Kaufman-Harris Wayne Post 695.

The boulder was donated by Herman Berger of the Reliable Monument company in Paterson. The plaque was designed by the Paterson firm of Goodman and Shulman, an architectural firm.

The Y will cosponsor the rededication, which, according to the invitation, will "serve as an affirmation of Jewish service in America’s armed forces in all of America’s conflicts." Family members of the memorialized veterans are expected to attend, as well as county and state officials.

The ceremony, at 1:30 p.m. will be open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For more information, call the Y at (973) 595-0100 or visit www.ymha-nj.com.

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