(Photo: Matt Lebovic/The Times of Israel)

(Photo: Matt Lebovic/The Times of Israel)

By Matt Lebovic - Memorial Day 2018 

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

Until he died in 2003, Kenneth Poch was an amateur historian with a mission: to identify and record every grave where a Jewish service member had been laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, home to 400,000 graves of veterans and their family members.

For years, Poch had been rattled when hearing people repeat the myth, “Jews don’t fight and don’t serve.” To shatter that misconception, the retired audio technician spent 15 years identifying the Jews buried at Arlington, best known for its Tomb of the Unknown Solider and the grave of President John F. Kennedy.

Complicating Poch’s mission, grave markers other than crosses were not permitted at Arlington until 1918. Even after stars of David were allowed onto the grounds following World War I, some Jews continued to be buried under crosses — including those grown accustomed to hiding their Judaism out of fear of discrimination, and some who had the decision made for them. Nothing was computerized. Read More