Shalom Lamm of West Hempstead, New York, is a military historian and a noted speaker. Recently, Shalom Lamm launched Operation Benjamin, a project that changes the grave markers of Jewish-American soldiers to the Star of David.
The project is in part to honor the sacrifice these fallen soldiers have made, but the operation also highlights the fact that Jewish-Americans have always answered the call to defend the United States. According to Mr. Lamm’s words in an American Battle Monuments Commission article, “Jewish soldiers have served with pride, courage, and conviction in the US Armed forces dating back to the colonial era…”
Jewish-American service was first documented during the Revolutionary War. Exhibits at the National Museum of American Jewish History document Jewish-American soldiers who lost their lives fighting for American Independence.
Nearly 100 years later, Jewish-American men served in the American Civil War. In response to an article that dismissed the service of these soldiers, Simon Wolf, a Washington, DC, attorney and head of the district’s B’nai B’rith, compiled a list of soldiers who served in American wars. The book, The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen, says that approximately 10,000 Jewish-American soldiers fought in the Civil War – about 7,000 for the Union and 3,000 for the Confederacy. Jewish-American service was also documented in the War of 1812, World War I, and every American war since.