On Veterans Day 2014, B'nai B'rith International honors all of the men and women of the armed forces sacrificing and defending against tyranny so that future generations might be free.
B'nai B'rith has played a role supporting the military and its members dating back to the American Civil War. Over time, that role has evolved as needed, providing resources before and after combat, while members have answered the call to take up arms.
One such member was Lt. Gilbert Steingart, a dentist in the Navy during World War II. Lt. Steingart served in the Pacific Theater, leaving behind his wife, Eleanor, and children--as well as his leadership posts at the local B'nai B'rith lodge. However, he maintained regular contact with his wife and friends at the lodge, writing more than 500 letters during the war.
Read all of his letters mentioning B'nai B'rith, here.
The following are highlights from his letters, posted online by his daughter, Linda Frumkes:
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco Friday 15 September 1944
Dear Earl, Just received your letter and am answering immediately. I sure wish that I could attend the lodge meeting Past Presidents' night and help initiate the new members. That being impossible will you please act as my proxy and convey my best wishes to the lodge and my congratulations to the new initiates. Through the bulletin and the news Eleanor writes me I am keeping up on lodge activities. However, I have been wondering how the War Service Committee is getting along. You know it was my baby last year and at the present time I feel it is as important a committee as any that we have.
How is the letter writing project going? I never realized how important that was until I shipped out. When a fellow is thousands of miles from home it's amazing to see how much of a lift a letter brings. I sincerely hope that my not having received letters is no indication that the project has fallen by the wayside.
Lt. (j.g.) Gilbert Steingart U.S.S. Ocelot, F.P.O. San Francisco Tuesday 2 Janaury 1945, 10:15 PM
Hello darling, here I am again. I forgot to mention in yesterday's letter that when I went ashore I ran into a Dr. Arnerich, who graduated a year before I did. He is on a tender and has been out here for five months. It's twelve years since I last saw him. Yet we recognized each other immediately. Guess we haven't changed much at that. Oh yes, I shaved off my beard but I still have a moustache. If and when I get some film I'll take a picture and send it on.
Darling, who is War Service Chairman for the B'nai B'rith? Please let me know, as I have a request to make of the lodge through him
Do you remember when I was chairman myself and the money we raised every meeting for men overseas? Well after the war we'll see what time will bring.