Jon S. Levinson

Private First Class, U.S. Army

PFC Levinson was 23 when he was drafted in 1960 and was stationed at Fort Ord for 2 years.  He served as a Chaplain’s Assistant and Supply Clerk.

In the third week of Basic Training at Ft. Ord, Levinson was called out of class and told that a sergeant would be his driver and that he was to put on his Class A’s and report ot the Jewish Chapel.  The base Jewish chaplain, Rabbi Livazer, was ill and Levinson was chosen to conduct services and preside over the Shabbat meal!  This was no small service either.  At least 40 to 50 attendees were at services since they served the Naval Post graduate School and the Army Language School in Monterey.  Levinson described it as,

a very heady experience for a lowly recruit.  From then on the Sgts in my unit were a little more circumspect in their language and would ask me all sorts of questions about Judasim.  I was the only Jew in the Company.  Yeshivah and Hebrew School paid off.

PFC Levinson aslo served temporary duty at the Army chemical Testing Center at Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland.  He jokingly talks about receiving two commendations for “service above and beyond duty for volunteeering to be a guinea pig at the center.”

The Levinson family has a righ tradition of military service that continues to this day.  Jon’s father was in the Navy during Wold War I and his oldest son is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and was just promoted to Lt. Col at his post in Washington.


  • shelly bramson

    I just came across Jon Levinson’s story and it brought back a lot of memories. Although we

    never met, we shared similar experiences.

    I arrived at Fort Jackson for Basic in August 1962.  On the first Friday night I went to Chapel 16 and learned that the Rabbi was on leave.  I told the assistant I could conduct services and my career as Chaplain’s Assistant at Fort Jackson was launched.  In Nov 1963 I shipped out to Wurzburg, Germany, and during my tour I had the privilege to meet Rabbi Livazer who was assigned to Nuremberg. He was a legend and was admired by all who knew him

    In the three years I worked with four Rabbis and assisted both a Methodist and Lutheran Post Chaplain.  It was a great experience with fond memories.

  • Hans L. Müller

    Rabbi Livazer hat mir ca. 1962/63 Unterricht in Würzburg, Jewish Chapel der Leighton Barracks, gegeben. Ich erinnere mich gut an ihn und würde mich freuen, mehr über ihn zu erfahren.

  • Jon Levinson

    I just read the item by Shelly Bramson.  Contrary to his assertion we did meet and know each other.  My mother, Sarah Levinson, taught at the Maimonides and we belonged to Young Israel of Roxbury.  I was friendlier with his brother Harvey and knew Arnie and his cousins the Millens.

    I would enjoy hearing from him.


  • Shelly Bramson

    Jon,your note just reached my email and I have found memories of your mother as my 6th grade English teacher. She always referred to you as

    Jonathan and so I never made the connection.  You

    have a very clear memory when it comes to my family tree.

    I still live in the Boston area and visited Maimonides in the late winter for the Shloshim observance for our beloved Rabbi Wohlgemuth z”l.


  • Jon S. Levinson

    Dear Shelly,

    Nice that we made the connection.  I spoke to Sholomo on the occasion of Rabbi Wohlgemuth’s death.  What a teacher!!  My children learned many of the stories he told.

    I would like to hear from you and catch up about the old Young Israel crowd.  You, harvey, Arnie, I believe Arnie married Roz Andleman from Winthrop who I knew in Young Judea, also your cousins the Millens.  Please bring me up-to-date at

    Jonathan Levinson