Wan Nadel, a 94-year-old native of Brooklyn who now lives in Jerusalem, was honored on his birthday at an Israeli Army base near the capital this week.
A Torah scroll in his honor was dedicated by the International Young Israel Movement at the Yishai Base.
The ceremony honoring Nadel, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II who served at the Battle of the Bulge and was a Commander in the Combat Engineers, included a procession with singing and dancing, and speeches by IDF officers and rabbis. The sefer Torah, in the Base Synagogue, was donated to the Army’s Combat Engineers unit.
The unit, which fought against Hamas terrorists in Gaza during this summer’s Operation Protective Edge, was responsible for leading the detection and destruction of Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s network of tunnels.
“We are always happy to contribute another sefer Torah to the IDF,” said Daniel Meyer, the organization’s executive director. “Next time this unit will enter Gaza not only with tractors and other equipment but with their own Torah as well.”
Nadel, who enlisted in the Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, won several medals during the war, including the Bronze Star and the Victory Medal. Rushed into service, he later said that his weaponry training consisted of “a WWI rifle and an empty beer can.”
He went ashore at Utah Beach on July 9, 1944.