The National Museum of
American Jewish Military History

1811 R Street NW, Washington, D.C 20009. | 202-265-6280 | |

Jews in the American Military The NMAJMH's Core Exhibit

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History's new permanent core exhibition will serve a variety of educational purposes: recognizing and celebrating the contributions and sacrifices of men and women; serving as the institutional memory of a group of people who share common experiences or a common history; and helping to strengthen the emotional link between the living and their ancestors. It is with all of these goals in mind that Quatrefoil Associates has developed a strategic plan for the NMAJMH that fully embraces the existing mission and purpose of the Museum while drawing directly from the principles articulated in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A.

Introduction to the Exhibition by LTC Jeffrey Greenhut, Ph.D., JWV Historian

We Jews are, and have always been, a tiny portion of the American people, but we have been, despite our numbers, a grand participant in the American Experience. America has given us more than any other country in the world, and it is right and just that, whenever America has gone to war, we should repay our country with our service and our sacrifice. We are indeed small in number, but we are great in spirit. Whenever our country has needed us, We Were There.

The Future of the NMAJMH

Our new museum concept is designed to show to our visitors the full experience of those of us who wear or have worn the uniform of our country, not only for service in the great wars, but also the little ones, the ones where only a few Americans were touched. For regardless of the size of the war, be they large or small, the lives of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, who serve in them are never the same.

The Future of the NMAJMH

We will begin by showing how the military virtues, duty, honor, and country, largely absent in civilian life, are imbued into the new recruit and how Jews who internalized these virtues have gone on to extraordinary feats of valor and service. We will show why they chose the hardships required, and how their gratitude to their country motivated them. We will demonstrate that the willingness for patriotic sacrifice was widespread in the Jewish community. We also want to make clear how effective our service was in promoting American ideals. The numbers of people who we liberated and whose descendents now live in freedom are innumerable. But the cost was high. Jewish servicemen and women grace war cemeteries around the world and here at home. We would like our visitors to touch the lives of these young people, who never lived to see the world they preserved.

The Future of the NMAJMH

Lastly, we want to show our visitors how the virtues of military service, its organization, its discipline, its teamwork, and its sense of commitment to a larger cause were brought home by the Jewish veteran and put to work in causes larger than themselves. We will show visitors how we were among the first to oppose the horror of Nazism, and then to take the field to liberate whole peoples and nations from the fascist yoke. We will ask them to appreciate how we stood guard on the frontiers of freedom to oppose communist tyranny, and how we serve even today to protect our homes and families from the terrorist scourge. Lastly, we will show them our contributions through the Jewish War Veterans (JWV) for benefits for our veterans and for the protection of our freedoms.

The Future of the NMAJMH

As visitors tour our exhibit, they will be reminded that on every battlefield and in every garrison, We Were There. When Washington's troops suffered at Valley Forge, and triumphed at Yorktown, We Were There. When the bombs burst over Fort McHenry, We Were There. When brother fought brother in our great Civil War, We Were There. On the plains of the west, with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders, in the jungles of the Philippines, We Were There. On the Western Front in the war to end all wars, We Were There. On the beaches of Normandy, on countless islands in the Pacific, on land, in ships, in aircraft, We Were There. On the freezing hills of Korea, the rice paddies of Vietnam, the deserts of Arabia, We Were There. On the scarred ground of Afghanistan, We Are There Today.

The Future of the NMAJMH

We will invite visitors to take part in our service and our sacrifice, to see where we have been and what we have done. And to remember, when they are finished, that whenever Americans fight for freedom and justice, We Will Be There.

Would you like to support the NMAJMH's mission and donate to the permanent core exhibition fund? Your contribution makes a major difference in helping the National Museum of American Jewish Military History to present high quality exhibits and programs interpreting the contributions of the men and women of the Jewish faith in the U.S. armed forces to the community.

Donate to the Exhibit Fund