January 17, 2019

About the President

Iris Goldwasser - Ladies Auxiliary PresidentIris Goldwasser

Born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, Iris attended local schools and received her teaching degree from Brooklyn College. She moved to Rockland County, New York in 1960 with her husband, Ed and son, David.

Some months later after daughter, Reina, was born, Iris, along with three friends, was invited to join the local JWV Auxiliary. Shortly afterward the husbands joined the Post and have been members since 1961. Iris assumed the Presidency of her Auxiliary in 1974, and assumed the office once again in 2008 when she became Co-President.

As her children grew up and became more independent Iris decided to change careers and in 1977 became a Medical Assistant. She learned on the job and worked 17 years for local doctors.

Very active in the Department of New York, Iris was Treasurer for two terms, for three years was the editor of the Dab, the Department newsletter, and held various other chairmanships.

In 1972 she and husband Ed (then Department of New York Commander) developed and chaired the West Point Cadet Program for the Department and for twenty years, until they moved to Florida, brought yiddishkeit to the Cadets, organizing Onegs after Friday night services and providing special holiday foods when appropriate. For some years before the Jewish Chapel was built, Iris and Ed would house Jewish Cadets in their home and the homes of friends and neighbors so the Cadets could attend synagogue services for the High Holidays.

On the National scene, Iris was National Interim Editor for President Frances Wapnick in 1977, Special Projects Chairman for President Evelyn Mermonstein in 1980 and secured U.S. Navy permission for the National J.W.V.A. to place a plaque on the USS ARIZONA in Pearl Harbor. In addition, as most of you know, Iris has been National Banquet Chairman for 10 National Presidents.

Iris is known around JWVA as the Lend A Hand Chairman because she has always been available with a helping hand and never says no. In fact, she has substituted as National Chaplain at our National Convention on more than one occasion, necessitated by unfortunate circumstances. In her own right, Iris was elected National Chaplain, Jr. Vice President, Sr. Vice President and now President.

Iris has also served as liaison from JWVA to our National Museum of American Jewish Military History for many years. In addition she was appointed Development Chairman for the NMAJMH for 10 years promoting the Tree of Honor, creating the Remembrance Walk, which together raised approximately $400,000 for our Museum. Her newest project for the Museum is the hexagonal Kiosk, “Our Heroes”, which will contain photos of our friends and relatives when they were in service with a short bio of their military service.

Sixty one years of reflection bring back many memories for Iris one of her Mom, Grandma Fritzi, crocheting afghans to raise money for JWVA, then making and donating lap robes for JWVA presentation to the VA hospital and Ronald McDonald Houses in conjunction with the National Conventions. She remembers bringing her children. David and Reina, to conventions and now both are married with children of their own, some of whom have also attended National Conventions especially those in Orlando. Her grandchildren are now grown and marrying so her tribe continues to grow, which thrills her no end.

Our new President completes each job she undertakes with pride and unending love for this organization.

Iris believes in the credo “Lend A Hand’ and hopes her JWVA Sisters do as well. Therefore her theme for this year is “Helping Hands Bring Smiles”.