Shalom Lamm is a successful real estate executive from New York. Throughout his career, he oversaw the works of almost 10,000 apartments across all five boroughs of the city. Outside of his professional work, Shalom Lamm is one of the leaders of Operation Benjamin, an initiative that aims to replace Latin crosses on the graves of Jewish American soldiers who fell in World War II with Star of David.
Benjamin Barney Garadetsky, the soldier after whom the project was named, was a Private First Class of the 66th Regiment of the 2nd Armored Division that was deployed in Normandy. The project was first named the Normandy Heritage Project, and Garadetsky’s grave was the first to receive a gravestone with Star of David in 2018.
Garadetsky’s original name was Boruch Reigorodeczki. He was born in 1914 in Zhytomyr, a village in modern-day Ukraine, and his family moved to the United States while Regorodeczki was a child. He joined the army in 1941 and died in 1944 in Normandy, aged 30.
Garadetsky served in 2nd Armored Division, nicknamed “Hell on Wheels,” which was formed in 1940 and saw battle on two continents and in ten countries. He also died a member of the 2nd Armored division.
Shalom Lamm has worked as a real estate developer for decades and has completed projects in eight different states. Devoted to his community, Shalom Lamm is the founder of Operation Benjamin, an organization that honors Jewish-American soldiers buried under incorrect grave markers. The organization recently rededicated the resting place of five Jewish soldiers from World War II located in Manila American Cemetery.
Operation Benjamin’s work starts with thorough research of military and civil documentation. This involves working with genealogists and the soldier’s family and often takes a long time.
With heritage established, Operation Benjamin approaches the US government with a dossier requesting that the marker be changed. The government bodies responsible for this change are strict in their requirements and need both proof of heritage and support of the family.
If everything checks out, the government approves a marker change, and the change is scheduled. When the time comes, family members can participate in the ceremony and see their relative’s marker changed from a cross to a Star of David.
For more than three decades, Shalom Lamm has been heavily involved in the real estate market in New York. He has also been a regular part of various Jewish organizations and groups. Possessing knowledge of military history, Shalom Lamm has not only served as an on-air historian, but was also a board member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).
Believing that a strong military is essential for the survival of civilization, JINSA educates decision-makers in the United States about various military matters relating to the US and the Middle East. In addition, the organization maintains numerous programs that support the military, including its Deserving Soldiers Holiday Appeal.
Established in 2003, JINSA’s Holiday Appeal donates money to military women, men, and their families. These funds are given to warriors in need, and are meant to support recipients during the holiday season stretching from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Often, these recipients have been injured in the line of duty, or are the families of soldiers who have been killed. Though the organization is aware that monetary support cannot bring back what was lost, the donated money can help recipients pay down medical debt, fund a child’s education, or cover holiday presents.
To distribute these funds, JINSA relies on donor support and the involvement of the US Special Operations Command Care Coalition. Any donations made to the organization for the Deserving Soldiers Holiday Appeal go to recipients. JINSA does not keep any of the money to fund the cost of staff time or appeal coordination. Meanwhile, the US Special Operations Command Care Coalition helps JINSA find deserving recipients via its nominations of sick or injured service members.
A successful executive in residential real estate, Shalom Lamm has been involved in the construction and acquisition of tens of thousands of apartment units and homes. Outside of his work in real estate, Shalom Lamm enjoys speaking and writing about history, along with mentoring immigrants.
Moving to a new country often comes with the unique problem of language barriers. To overcome such issues, individuals must take the time to properly prepare for their move. This includes learning which language is spoken in the area. While some countries speak the same language everywhere within their borders, this is not always the case. In fact, some countries have as many as 11 official languages. It’s essential that people take the time to learn the basics of whichever languages the natives speak. This makes living and working in a new country easier, since it gives immigrants a good foundation to build from.
Once they move to new countries, immigrants must not be afraid of saying the wrong words or using the wrong pronunciation as they learn more of their new language. This failure is a natural part of learning, but the embarrassment it causes often keeps people from using and practicing their new language. As people speak, they should always ask for clarification (if they need it) and take advantage of the locals’ familiarity with the native language. Doing so enables immigrants to listen to regular phrases or words that they can subsequently learn and use in their own conversations.