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Subdeacon Joe

It's Kosher

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https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-rabbi-deploying-to-afghanistan-with-his-elite-u-s-army-battalion-1.6937477?fbclid=IwAR2lyd8DY33DuUHQyZOmP8nVkxy6EMCBPO7_3dXMAIhXk7dD49fqsC8TKEY

 

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And now you’re attached to Apache attack helicopters. Tell me about your unit.

“I’m the rabbi of the 1st Battalion of the 229th Aviation Regiment. It is a highly decorated unit, well known from both World War II and Vietnam. It’s an attack team that gets attached to any forward units with the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. That’s our platform for providing support for ground troops. Everyone trains like infantry, though we have line units and we have pilots. We have something like 800 people, including ground troops, pilots, fuelers, mechanics, maintenance or what have you.” As chaplain, he may be deployed with U.S. Army forces on missions abroad, he says.

 

What’s the function of the chaplain?

“The chaplain does anything that the soldier does – except that in the U.S. Army, we’re noncombatants. So we’re not meant to take offensive positions or attack targets. As part of the command staff, we’re there to support our unit, but whatever our soldiers do – if they’re training in techniques to evade the enemy, or digging foxholes, doing surveillance and things like that – we have to be nested within the unit, and not be a burden or slow it down.

“During routine periods, we are there to provide support for everyone who’s on the ground, to offer the commander religious counsel and provide support for the soldiers emotionally, mentally, morally. All 800 soldiers have free access to your office. People tell you about personal issues that are bothering them.”

What’s the philosophy behind that, and why would a non-Jew choose to consult a Jewish rabbi? There must be a military psychologist on the base.

“The military is interested in mission readiness. If you’re not squared away at home, how great a warrior could you be? The goal is to ensure that soldiers are well cared for, and that they’re coming from a good, supportive place. They know that anything that happens within our environment is kept completely confidential. Even in court, I’m not allowed to disclose anything that they speak to me about. Some might go to a therapist – which I am not – but others will come to me because, as a chaplain, you are ‘boots on the ground’ with your soldiers, you do PT [physical training] with them, you exercise with them. So they know you, and also the word may have gotten around a bit that I have been able to help soldiers.”

 

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The beard is a bit different, but he is certainly not the first military rabbi in the U.S. Armed Forces.  For example, Navy Chaplains Rabbi Lt. Cdr. Edgar Siskin served with the 1st MarDiv on Guadalcanal and Pelaleu during WWII. Rabbi Earl Stone also served on Guadalcanal with the Marines.  Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn was the 5th MarDiv Jewish chaplain on Iwo Jima. He was the first Jewish chaplain appointed by the Marine Corps.

 

Of course, all military chaplains, especially nowadays, will minister to whoever needs their services, in garrison or on the battlefield.  Bless them! :FlagAm:

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8 hours ago, Four-Eyed Buck,SASS #14795 said:

The Middle East could be a rough assignment for a Rabbi:blush:

Judaism originated in the ME..........-_-

OLG

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