JWV Poppies
Annual poppy sales support JWV.

Founded on March 15, 1896, the JWV is proud to be recognized as the oldest veterans’ service organization in our nation.

Know anybody who remains active at the ripe old age of 125? Look no further than our beloved Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. Founded on March 15, 1896, the JWV is proud to be recognized as the oldest veterans’ service organization in our nation.

Last month, the JWV Department of Michigan was honored to be in receipt of official proclamations by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as well as the Oakland County Board of Commissioners on the occasion of this historical milestone. 

Would you have ever guessed that the legacy of the Jewish War Veterans dates back to the Civil War? Initially known as the Hebrew Union Veterans Organization, it was created to vigorously dispute the erroneously held belief after the Civil War that Jews did not participate in the defense of our country. Since then, it has gone on to fight against antisemitism and racism in the military wherever it raises its ugly head and to support causes for the well-being of all veterans.

“The JWV remains steadfast in our dedication not only to Jewish veterans, but to veterans of all faiths and circumstances,” says Dr. Edward Hirsch, Commander, JWV Department of Michigan. “We are rededicated to our foundational purposes of being ‘A Jewish Voice for Veterans and a Veteran’s Voice for Jews.’”

Dr. Ed Hirsch, Commander of the Jewish War Veterans, Department of Michigan proudly displays proclamations honoring the JWV on their 125th anniversary.
Dr. Ed Hirsch, Commander of the Jewish War Veterans, Department of Michigan proudly displays proclamations honoring the JWV on their 125th anniversary. Alan Muskovitz | Detroit Jewish News

You can help support our local JWV efforts by making a contribution during their annual Poppy Drive. The poppy is an internationally recognized symbol of remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice dating back to the aftermath of World War I, when wild red poppies bloomed on the once scarred battlefields of Belgium and France.

It’s the single biggest fundraiser of the year for the JWV of Michigan with dollars helping veterans through advocacy for better clinics, hospitals, veterans’ homes and Michigan-friendly legislation. 

Funds also help in the upkeep of veterans’ plots in our local Jewish cemeteries and activities such as the annual Mitzvah Day-Christmas Day visit and gift distribution by the JWV for veterans who are patients at the Battle Creek VA Medical Center.

For the second year in a row, COVID restrictions will prohibit our JWV from selling poppies in person at area shopping centers. But you can still be in receipt of a poppy by mail by making a donation of any denomination on the Jewish War Veterans of Michigan website, jwv-mi.org. Display your poppy proudly so others can learn about this valuable act of tzedakah that is now 125 years strong.

The video below will educate you on the JWV’s fascinating and storied legacy and reinforce, yet again, how the Jewish people find a way to turn the fight against antisemitism into pursuits for the greater good of all peoples.