Fort Campbell Hires New Jewish Leader Amid Controversy

UPDATE: The Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Chaplains Council — which works with the military to provide support to Jewish service members — published a notice saying they would wait for the outcome of the investigation but that “Jewish services continue at Fort Campbell.”


Fort Campbell’s public affairs announced the Army post would be welcoming a new Distinctive Religious Group Leader (DRGL) for the Jewish community in May.

The volunteer position, referred to as a Distinctive Religious Group Leader, provides Friday night Shabbat services and holy day observances on post. They are certified by recognized religious organizations, and meet the religious needs of soldiers and their family members that military chaplains cannot meet, Jenkins said.

“Pending certification, Fort Campbell continues to provide a DRGL to its Jewish community,” Jenkins said.

Just a few days ago Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint against Fort Campbell went public, in which his group essentially accused the Fort Campbell chaplains of anti-Semitism in the “firing” of the last lay leaders in February. The new announcement implies a replacement has already been found — and that’s not something that could have happened in just the past few days.

In other words, the “anti-Semitic” chaplaincy at Fort Campbell has been working to re-install a Jewish faith group leader.

The Tennessean of the USA Today Network was quick to quote Weinstein, but reporter Holly Meyer also did a reasonably good job of caveating his statements [emphasis added]:

Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, disputes Fort Campbell’s characterization of the Seder based on accounts from a few of his clients who attended the event. He declined to connect the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee with those clients.

Most articles happily quote Weinstein’s press releases as if they are gospel, ignoring his seemingly fictional accounts of anonymous “clients.” That makes Meyer one of the few journalists to actually qualify Weinstein’s rantings with the limitation that he is the only — and unsubstantiated — source.

Given that Weinstein hasn’t paraded any other “clients” through the media yet, he either hadn’t yet socialized his complaint or his clients were merely the Mizes.

For the record, Fort Campbell brought in Army Reservist and Chaplain (Rabbi) Aaron Rozovsky to host a community Passover Seder Meal in March. Weinstein’s complaint is likely that the Seder was hosted on Wednesday the 28th, while Passover didn’t actually start until Friday the 30th.

Apparently Mikey Weinstein thinks Rabbi Rozovsky is part of the anti-Semitic plot at Fort Campbell.

Though Fort Campbell has opened an investigation, Weinstein has yet to specify any actual mistreatment or misconduct beyond implications of general strife and the sense that the Mize family wasn’t getting along with those at Fort Campbell.

As before, if Fort Campbell really was “persecuting” its Jewish community by “firing” the lay leaders, there is a serious issue.  But, at present, there is very little data or even statements to substantiate that allegation — and, in fact, apparent evidence to refute it.

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3 comments

  • No Army chaplain would be stupid enough to fire a lay leader of another faith group unless there were ample and consistent evidence to do so. As this episode demonstrates, it’s much easier to deal with the daily hassle of a personality conflict than have to defend actions that could appear anti-(fill in faith group here).

    That the rabbi conducted the service on a Wednesday likely resulted from the fact that he was already spoken for on the actual first night of Passover. In this case, I suspect, something was better than nothing.

    Plus, it seems to me that a Jewish endorsing agency would have been widely quoted in this saga had the Army been largely at fault here.

    Oh, and then there’s the MRFF standard practice of producing no actual evidence worthy of journalistic corroboration.

    Ockham’s Razor is most likely at work here. If it looks and quacks like a duck, it’s probably just a duck.

  • My guess is that they are replacing the lay leader with Aaron Rozovsky… here is his background
    Aaron Rozovsky is a third year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and the student Rabbi for Temple B’nai Israel in Petoskey, Michigan, a position which he has held since September 2014. He graduated in 2008 from Providence College, where he earned a B.A. in History and in 2012 from Central Connecticut State University, where he earned an M.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Latin American studies. He is also a Captain in the Rhode Island Army National Guard. Aaron has served twice on one-year deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During his first (Jerusalem) year at seminary, he was served as the National Guard Bureau Liaison Officer to the Israeli Defense Forces Home Front Command. He currently serves as a Chaplain Candidate at Joint Force Headquarters, Rhode Island Army National Guard. His military education includes the Chaplain Basic Officer Leader Course, Military Police Basic Officer Leader Course, the Anti-Terrorism Officer Basic Course, Hazardous Materials Officer Course, and Master Resiliency Trainer Level I Course. Aaron’s awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, Global War on Terror Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terror Service Medal, two Overseas Service Medals, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M device, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, and the NATO Medal (Afghanistan).

    • //My guess is that they are replacing the lay leader with Aaron Rozovsky… here is his background Aaron Rozovsky is a third year rabbinical student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute…\\

      That is scary. If he is a student at Hebrew Union College, that explains everything needed to know about his ethics. That so called rabbinical college [reform Judaism] is wicked. They are imposters and defectors from Judaism. They not only have women rabbis, but also homosexuals, and gender confused individuals that come out of that vitiated institution propagating heresy.

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