US Military Celebrates Jewish High Holy Days in Afghanistan
A military news release notes the celebration of the Jewish High Holy days by US servicemembers at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. As previously noted, four Jewish Chaplains have fanned out across Afghanistan to ensure the right to free exercise of military servicemembers even while they are deployed to a combat area in response to their country’s call.
The ongoing celebrations recognize the period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and Jewish servicemembers can even celebrate by erecting traditional (if somewhat modernized) Jewish Sukkahs. Given the locale, the religious exercise of the American military is not insignificant:
Throughout Afghanistan’s history the size of the Jewish community fluctuated until the Soviet invasion and the Taliban regime sparked a final migration. Today, there is thought to be only one solitary resident left of a formerly thriving Afghan Jewish community that once had an estimated population of some 40,000.
The official article explains some of the details of the Jewish celebration, and it also notes what should be obvious with regard to the US military’s efforts with regard to the religion of its members:
The U.S. military makes a conscious effort to meet the spiritual needs of service members deployed throughout the world.
Despite the austere location in a country arguably hostile to other (and Jewish) faiths, the US military has continued to make admirable efforts to support the religious freedom of the troops serving around the world.