Gov. Josh Shapiro Takes Oath on ‘Hershman Bible,’ WWII Artifact from His Elkins Park Synagogue

Gov. Shapiro with Hershman Bible
Image via CBS Philadelphia.
Gov. Shapiro with his hand on the Hershman Bible.
The Hershman Bible

Gov. Josh Shapiro took his oath of office today, becoming the commonwealth’s 48th governor. The swearing-in ceremony included the use of a historic Bible with a long-ago connection to Shapiro’s hometown place of worship, Beth Shalom Synagogue, Elkins Park.

The book on which Shapiro laid his right hand is an American Jewish artifact from Philadelphia’s Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (The Weitzman).

The “Hershman Bible” was carried by U.S. Army soldier Herman Hershman during World War II. Hershman, too, was a Beth Shalom member.

A graduate of Central High School in Philadelphia, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in October of 1943 while a student at Temple University.

Private Hershman landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave of Allied forces to arrive in France during the D-Day invasion.

Injured by artillery shell fragments, Hershman was awarded a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star for his service.

After recuperating, he was promoted to Corporal and assigned to guard German prisoners at a POW camp near the village of Bolbec in Normandy.

After the war, Hershman returned to relaunch his degree pursuit at Temple University.

The historic Hershman Bible is one of only several military artifacts Hershman and his wife donated to The Weitzman in 2010. All were tied to his effort to remain observant while serving, even in a POW camp.

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