The U.S. Military Academy, or West Point, has always accepted Jews. Indeed, the first graduating class of 1802 was 50 percent Jewish — though the class only consisted of two students total. Over the next century, one or two Jewish cadets usually attended every few years. The numbers increased in the 1940s, when between five and 10 attended annually.
Simeon Magruder Levy. The son of a fur trader and speculator, Levy joined the U.S. Army in 1790 at the age of 16. Records indicate he distinguished himself during the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. Levy died in 1807, possibly of yellow fever.
There is a nameplate for David “Mickey” Marcus, class of 1924, who parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and then went to Israel to help transform the Haganah into a regular army during the 1948 War of Independence. There’s also Lt. David Bernstein, a 2001 West Point graduate who was killed in Iraq in 2003.
WEST POINT, New York — When West Point graduated its 1,000th Jewish cadet Saturday, it was more than a historical moment.
For the 12 Jewish cadets graduating this year out of a class of 980, and the hundreds of Jewish alumni before them, this milestone shows how much Jewish life has grown here since the military academy’s 1802 founding.
The achievement came amid another first for the academy — this year’s graduating class became most diverse in West Point’s history, with a record-setting 34 African American women receiving their degrees.