Tag Archives: Jewish Pilots

Jew of the Week: David Goldfein

Chief of America’s Air Force

General David Goldfein

David Goldfein (b. 1959) was born on an American Air Force base in France, where his father served as an Air Force colonel. Goldfein became a fighter pilot, too, and graduated from the US Air Force Academy with a degree in philosophy. He first saw action in the Gulf War, then served as commander of the 555th Fighter Squadron in the Bosnian War, and during NATO’s Operation Allied Force in Yugoslavia. On one mission in 1999, Goldfein’s F-16 was shot down. He ejected on time and parachuted down in a field. Three Serbian soldiers pursued him, but he managed to escape, hiding in a ravine. Goldfein miraculously traversed an area full of mines, before later being rescued from behind enemy lines in a daring operation. All in all, Goldfein logged over 4200 hours of flying time. In 2011, he became a three-star general and was appointed commander of US Air Forces in Southwest Asia. In 2016, now a four-star general, Goldfein was appointed the 21st Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. That made him the highest-ranking official in the Air Force, overseeing half a million airmen, over 5000 aircraft, and hundreds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. As Chief of Staff, he directly advises the secretary of defense and the president. Goldfein’s primary goal as head of the Air Force was to ensure the US was secure from, and had detailed plans for countering, the “four-plus-one” threat: China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and violent extremist groups around the world. He also focused heavily on nuclear deterrence and preventing a catastrophic world war. Finally, he expanded the Air Force’s capabilities into the realms of cyberwarfare and space, too. It was during his tenure that ISIS was essentially wiped off the map and finally defeated, thanks in large part to the US Air Force. Goldfein has been decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Legion of Merit, Humanitarian Service Medal, and countless other awards. His term as Chief of Staff ends next week.

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Words of the Week

Experience shows us that many people imagine false ideas to be absolutely true, and they generally remain firm in their beliefs, refusing to see anything wrong with them.
Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (1707-1746), Derekh Tevunot 

Jew of the Week: Harry Houdini

Actor, Pilot, Escape Artist, Magician

Harry Houdini (1874-1926) Born Erik Weisz in Hungary, son of Rabbi Mayer We

Erik Weisz, aka Harry Houdini

isz and the 4th of 7 children. By age 9, he was a succesful trapeze artist. As a magician, he took the stage name “Houdini” after his mentor Robert-Houdin. He would go on to became the greatest escape artist in history. He was also an actor, starring in multiple films, as well as a special effects consultant in others. He was one of the first pilots in the world – buying his own plane in 1909 (the first manned flight had been in 1903). It is thought he was accidentally killed by a McGill University student in Montreal. He once said: “My brain is the key that sets my mind free.”

Words of the Week

He who fulfills one mitzvah, acquires for himself one angel-advocate; he who commits one transgression, acquires against himself one angel-accuser
Pirkei Avot 4:11