One Week After Memorial Day: Remembering Jewish Military Chaplains

As I mentioned last week, on Memorial Day, I attended a very moving ceremony at a local synagogue. And among the participants were several Jewish military chaplains.

I have to admit that this was hard for me. The last time I’d been in a temple to honor a Jewish military chaplain, I was attending the funeral of my family’s beloved Rabbi Barry H. Greene. Military chaplaincy was among Rabbi Greene’s many causes. He was himself a proud military chaplain; his coffin (it still feels terrible to write those two words) was flag-draped, and the director of the Jewish Chaplains Council spoke at the funeral.

It was in Rabbi Greene’s memory that I began contributing to the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) Jewish Chaplains Council. Last Chanukah, instead of buying gifts for all of my adult family members (the kids still got their packages to tear open), I wrote a check to support the Council’s Torahs for the Troops project, which, happily, is now very much under way, with a first Torah recently completed and brought to the Persian Gulf.

Now there’s another project I want to support. When I returned home from the Memorial Day ceremony, I picked up the summer edition of Reform Judaism magazine. A letter to the editor described an effort to raise funds for a memorial to Jewish chaplains in Arlington Cemetery. That letter is not available online, but I’ve found some articles that describe it further.

For instance, the Jewish Journal reported earlier this spring:

“Of the 311 Jewish chaplains who served during World War II, eight rabbis died. Two rabbis lost their lives in the Vietnam War. No Jewish chaplains are known to have died while serving during the World War I or the Korean War, although research is still being done to confirm that.

Sol Moglen, an activist in New York who is leading the effort….has already raised $17,000 of the $30,000 needed to build the memorial, a granite slab that will be erected on Chaplains Hill at Arlington, where memorials for Protestant and Catholic clergy already stand.”

I’m going to contact the JWB and contribute to this very worthy project. Perhaps you will, too?

Reporting–and Reflecting–on Recent Events

I’m not surprised by the biased “reporting” that we’re seeing from supposedly reputable sources. But that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. If anyone can really watch this video, or listen to this one, and still apply the word “humanitarian” to the people who were sailing on that ship, despite many warnings to cease and desist (never mind Israel’s offer to deliver the aid in their place, not to mention the convenient pass given to Egypt, which has also blockaded passages to/from Gaza up until today), then there’s really no hope for any kind of worthwhile discussion.

So instead of reading the usual quick-to-condemn Israel suspects, I’m reading the reflections of smart people who care strongly about Israel and care strongly about peace. You can do both, notwithstanding what you might read in certain publications. (And, by the way, you can be a non-Orthodox Gen Xer who steadfastly supports Israel, too! Imagine that! Sometimes I’m almost as upset with certain Jewish writers claiming to speak for me as I am with so much of the “mainstream” press I alluded to above. Maybe my coreligionists upset me even more–but that’s for another post and another time.)

What I am trying to do now is focus on voices of reason. Multiple voices. Different voices. But, again, caring voices.

If only the world would listen.

James Besser

J.J. Goldberg

Jeffrey Goldberg (I’m not going to point you to a single post–he has already posted a few since yesterday. And he’s a great source for links, too.)

Daniel Gordis

David Harris

Daniel E. Levenson

Jonathan Mark

Shmuel Rosner Seeks an Assistant Editor


“, the leading transdenominational Jewish website, is seeking an assistant editor to work for an exciting new site for parents.

The site will deal with serious issues like infertility, rituals like circumcision, and fun things like books, music, and food. The target audience is Jews and parents of Jewish children ages 0-5, so pre-pregnancy through preschool.

The editor’s tasks will include conceiving stories ideas; creating, gathering, and editing innovative content; developing newsletters; researching New York-based parenting resources, loading articles to the site; and working with freelance writers.

The ideal candidate should be eager, able to work independently, and have a considerable knowledge of Jewish culture and traditions. Candidates also should have experience writing and editing for web publications, with significant familiarity with a CMS, Photoshop, and WordPress. This is a New York-based position, for 15 hours a week.”

Tablet Magazine Launches Paid Internship Program

From Tablet Magazine:

Next month, Tablet Magazine is inaugurating a paid internship program. If you have experience in journalism and are familiar with the landscape of American Jewish life, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll be hiring three times a year—spring, summer, and fall—for two- and three-day-a-week internships at our office in New York City. Interns will assist the editorial staff with research and administrative tasks, as well as contributing blog posts and, potentially, full features.

Application deadline is May 3. Click here for more information/application instructions.

Moment Magazine’s Emerging Writer Awards Announced

Founded in 2004, Moment Magazine‘s Emerging Writer Awards “recognize talented writers who have published at least one book and whose books confront themes that are of interest to Jewish readers. An emerging writer is defined as someone of any age who has not yet received widespread recognition and has not yet won a major literary award.” Selections are made by committee (there is no published nomination process).

Congratulations to this year’s awardees: Abby Sher (nonfiction winner), for Amen, Amen, Amen: Memoir of a Girl Who Couldn’t Stop Praying; and Sara Houghteling (fiction winner), for Pictures at an Exhibition.