June 10, 2022

Jewish Baccalaureate Service – Usna Class Of 2022

CAPT David S. Forman, USN, Deputy Commandant of Midshipmen, USNA Class of 1998, addressed the soon-to-be commissioned Midshipmen.  As a Naval Academy graduate, he had insight from his years as a Jewish Midshipman and in the fleet. While at USNA, his grandparents passed away and he found a new meaning to the Yahrzeit prayer. His advice to the soon-to-be commissioned officers: Be ALL IN!! Learn your trades, get to know your people, and continue to rely on your classmates. After two years of experiencing pandemic accommodations, these young men and women are eager to start their military careers and appreciated having their family members present.

Awards received at the service were as follows:

  • Col. Harry Lindauer Lay Leadership Award – MIDN 1/C Avi Perkoff
  • Rabbi Morris D. Rosenblatt Memorial Award – MIDN 3/C MIDN Caroline Bilbray-Kohn
  • Robert E. Yager Memorial Academic Award – 1/C MIDN Skyler Schork
  • Joanna Simer Memorial Award (most involved Plebe) – MIDN 4/C Emma Single and MIDN 4/C Matt Marinkovich
  • LT Darin Pontell “Good Guy” Sword Award– MIDN 1/C Samuel Vagner
  • MIDN 3/C Justin Zemser JMC Award – MIDN 1/C Adina Samloff

The Jewish War Veterans (JWV) presented each graduate with a silver, engraved Kiddush cup.  The Jewish Welfare Board gave each a book of Jewish literature.  The Friends of the Jewish Chapel had a gift bag for each graduate with a jewelry piece, embroidered kippah and other items.  We are very grateful to Devora Pontell Kirschner (and her father, Herbert Wolk) for joining us, once again, and sharing her memories of LT Darin Pontell who was killed on 9/11 in the Pentagon. Board member, Joseph Goldstein, presented each with a copy of his recent book No Guts, No Air Medals offering personal insights into his life as a Jewish Naval Flight Officer who joined the military during the Vietnam War and was determined to maintain his Jewish identity during that time. We are grateful to Joanne and Paul Prager, USNA 1977 (parents of Augustus Prager, USNA 2022) who sponsored the awards and Oneg following the Baccalaureate service.