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Memorial Day 2016

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7 Syrian Community Soldiers Killed in World War II
and A Prayer for the United States Armed Forces


On Memorial Day, as we think about our Nation’s fallen soldiers, those brave individuals who died protecting us from threats foreign and domestic, and protecting and liberating others from the threats that faced them, let us not forget those members of our Syrian community who died during their service. They were proud to serve in America’s Armed Forces, doing their patriotic duty, and giving back to the country which gave them so much.

While some individuals may be familiar with the names below, the majority are not. I therefore created this document, listing the names of seven Community members who died during World War II, some in Europe, some in America, and some in the Pacific. I attempted to gather as much information about them as was readily available online but this is not everything, there is still additional research to be done. Please let me know if you have any further information.

Please take a minute this weekend to think about and reflect on the thousands of soldiers who died protecting us and securing our way of life and especially those members of our own Community who died while fighting or preparing to fight a war whose legacy and repercussions are still felt today, World War II.

Thoughts and thanks should also be given to those individuals who are serving in the Armed Forces, and those who served in the Armed Forces and are still with us today.


Charles I Abady, Staff Sergeant

  • Died on July 19, 1944 when his plane was shot down over Europe
  • He was in the 450th Bomber Squadron, 322nd Bomber Group
  • He was from NY and is buried in Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial, Saint James, Departement de la Manche, Basse- Normandie, France
  • A picture of his tombstone here and some more information about him here.
  • His brother is Raymond Abady, father of Molly and Isaac, see here
  • For his enlistment details, see here
  • He is listed in the Roll of Honor in the Victory Bulletin from May 1943, 3.[1]
  • He received the following medals: Air Medal, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal


Jack Cohen, Private First Class [nothing found yet]


Jack Ballas, Lieutenant

  • Died during a training exercise in 1944 when his plane crashed in Tennessee
    • See Victory Bulletin July 1944, 7
  • Second Lt. Jack Ballas was the son of Moses and Rebecca Ballas. His father was a retail merchant. Jack moved to Dallas, Texas, when he was a young child. He later attended Forest Avenue High School in Dallas. He joined the Army in November 1942 and received his navigator’s wings from the Hondo Army Airfield.
  • Second Lt. Jack Ballas was killed when the Flying Fortress on which he was a navigator crashed in a swamp near Dyersburg, Tenn. A newspaper article announcing his death said funeral services would be held in New York City, but it did not give the place of burial. According to Find A Grave member Tim Cook, Lt. Ballas is buried in Ahavath Shalom Cemetery.
  • He was survived by his father, two brothers, and three sisters. At the time of his death one brother and one sister were living in New York which may be the reason the funeral service was held in New York. (Based on information found here)


“Jacob” Jack Gindi, Sergeant Second Class

  • Son of Renee Shamosh from Washington, DC.
  • Was declared missing in action March 19, 1945
  • He was awarded a purple heart. (See here for more details)
  • His name is listed on the memorial in Honolulu (also here)


Clement H. Marcus, Private First Class

  • The son of Helfon and Latife Marcus
  • He was killed on March 31, 1945 in the Philippines
  • He is buried in El Paso, TX in the Bnai Zion cemetery
  • He is mentioned on p. 1 of the October 1943 Victory Bulletin and he is also mentioned in the Honor Roll in the September, 1942 Victory Bulletin, 3.


David Mahana, U.S.N.

  • He is mentioned in the Victory Bulletin of January 1944 on the Honor Roll, 5.


Jack D. Mizrahi, Sergeant

  • Son of Zackie and Eva Mizrahi, brother of Reuben Mizrahi (see here)
  • He died in Europe June. 9, 1944 and is buried in Long Island National Cemetery (see here for a picture of his tombstone)
  • See here for his enlistment details.
  • He is mentioned in the Roll of Honor in the March 1943 Victory Bulletin, 3.


Robert Molko, Warrant Officer

  • He was a junior grade warrant officer in Coast Guard
  • He died January 29, 1945 and is buried in Long Island National Cemetery (see here for a picture of the tombstone)
  • He is mentioned in the Honor roll in the Victory Bulletin of July 1942, 3


Edward Sasson, Lieutenant


Prayer for US military made by the Rabbinical Assembly (see here)

Ribbono Shel Olam!

Sovereign of the Universe!

We invoke your blessings upon the members of our American military forces, those brave men and women whose courage and commitment to that for which this country stands protects us all.

Whether by air, land or sea, or wherever their orders take them, we ask, dear God, that they be protected within your sheltering presence.  Shield them from harm and from pain, assuage their loneliness, and sustain their faith in the face of the formidable enemies that they confront on a daily basis.  May all of their efforts be crowned with victory, and the assurance that we who depend on their courage appreciate and understand the great difficulty of their work.

Most of all, we pray what for all soldiers is the ultimate prayer- that they be privileged to return to the loving arms of their families and a grateful country safely, speedily, and in good health.  Because of their courage, may we all be privileged to know and savor the blessings of true peace and security.



Prayer made by the RCA