by Rabbi David Geffen
The year 1950 was momentous for me and subsequently for many other young men. That year Congregations Or VeShalom and Shearith Israel founded Boy Scout Troop 73. Josiah Benator, a World War II veteran and who made Eagle Scout during his teen years, became the scoutmaster. He has held that title with Troop 73 ever since.
Born in Atlanta in 1922 to an Or VeShalom family, Benator grew up in the Depression and joined a Scout troop at the Jewish Educational Alliance in the 1930s. He quickly became not only the head of the troop, but also the assistant scoutmaster and then scoutmaster.
Mr. Benator was not satisfied that he was an Eagle Scout; he wanted to earn more “palms” by completing additional merit badges. When we went to the Bert Adams Boy Scout camp in the summer, he went with us.
That first summer he worked on the Indian lore merit badge. To complete the requirements, he had to participate in the Indian Pageant held on a Thursday night. As that event began, Mr. Benator, with his face and body painted and wearing a loin cloth and one feather in his hair, danced with real excitement. We cheered him loudly: He was more than a scoutmaster; he was a vibrant Boy Scout leader.
In 2009 he was designated by AARP’s magazine as one of the great seniors in the nation. I wrote about him in The Jerusalem Post, and he appeared in a picture with Judge Stephen Schuster, one of his Scouts and my cousin.
Check out the rest of his interesting story in link above.
"I'm from the old school," Benator said. "Oh yeah, definitely the old school."
A long Scout Salute,