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Elaine Bernstein Elected President of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History

National Museum of American Jewish Military History President Elaine Bernstein

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 12, 2023 – The National Museum of American Jewish Military History (NMAJMH) is pleased to announce the election of Elaine Bernstein as its new President on August 31, 2023. The Board of Directors also welcomes two distinguished members, Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL), who have been elected as board members. This is Sherrill’s initial service and Wasserman Schultz’s 4th reelection to the Board.

Elaine Bernstein brings a wealth of experience, dedication, and a deep commitment to the mission of the NMAJMH. Born in the Bronx, New York, in 1962, Elaine’s lifelong involvement with the Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America (JWV) and the Ladies Auxiliary (JWVA) has made her an invaluable asset to the organization. Previously, she served as vice president of the museum.

Elaine married Paul Bernstein in 1990. Their family grew with the birth of their children, Megan in 1993 and Michael in 1995. The family’s dedication to JWV and the NMAJMH has never wavered. This now extends to her entire family, including her son-in-law and, most recently, her first grandchild, Preston Asher, born earlier this month. As she begins her term as President, Elaine has established the following three goals:

  1. Increasing membership;
  2. Improving fundraising; and
  3. Establishing new and updating existing exhibits.

Bernstein stated “I want the three goals to be interconnected, measurable and sustainable. I envision people wanting to visit our exhibits to learn and then, wanting to join the museum and help it grow financially.” The Museum is the legacy to those of the Jewish faith who served in the military since before the Revolutionary War to present time. “Our role is unique — we are the only Museum to specifically to tell the stories and share the importance of Jews in the military,” said Bernstein.

Elaine’s involvement with the JWV Auxiliary began at a young age when she became the mascot of the Weissman-Busch Ladies Auxiliary 742 Junior Division. As she grew older, Elaine continued to make significant contributions, eventually serving as the President of the Junior Division for two years. Her leadership qualities and dedication to the cause were evident early on. Elaine held numerous leadership positions, including President of Auxiliary 742, Bronx County President, and ultimately, President of the Department of New York in 2005-2006. Elaine also served on the national level, culminating in her role as National President in 2011-2012, a testament to her exceptional leadership abilities.

Elaine Bernstein’s deep-rooted connection to the JWV is a family tradition. Her father, Meyer Messer, served as a Past County Commander of Bronx County, and her mother, Leah Messer, held the position of Past Department President of the Department of New York. Elaine’s sisters are Past Junior Division Presidents. Additionally, Elaine’s late husband, Paul Bernstein, was a Past National Commander and Executive Director of the Department of New York. Elaine followed Paul as the Executive Director of the Department of New York. In her role as Executive Director of the Department of New York, Elaine continued to champion the cause she holds dear. Her dedication is unwavering, making her an irreplaceable asset to the organization.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reelected to the Board, and Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, as a newly elected board member, bring their own unique and deeply-rooted commitment to military history, veterans and Jewish American history.

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is known for her strong advocacy for a wide range of issues, including veterans’ affairs and Jewish American history. She has a remarkable record of supporting Jewish community initiatives, including Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Jewish American Heritage Month. Her leadership as Chair and Ranking Member of the VA-Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee demonstrates her commitment to funding veterans and military programs. Her passion for preserving the history of Jewish American military service aligns perfectly with the mission of the NMAJMH.

Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor, has consistently shown her dedication to veterans and military service. She has been a tireless advocate for veterans’ miliary rights. Sherill’s 10 years of active-duty service in the Navy, continue to serve her as an important member of the House Armed Services Committee. She will work diligently to ensure the stories of Jewish American military personnel are preserved and shared with the public.

Under Elaine Bernstein’s leadership and with the invaluable contributions of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the entire Board of Directors, the National Museum of American Jewish Military History looks forward to a bright future filled with continued growth, education, and the continued exploration of the rich history of Jewish military service in America.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Rugel at mrugel@nmajmh.org.

About the National Museum of American Jewish Military History:

The National Museum of American Jewish Military History, located in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history and contributions of Jewish Americans in the U.S. military. The museum serves as a testament to the bravery and patriotism of Jewish service members throughout American history.

2023-2024 Board of Directors

Open Monday - Friday 9 - 5. Open Saturday, February 24, 9 - 4.

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