Tag Archives: Jewish

Chaplain Candidate Quits Over Insignia

Updated: Ed Brayton picked up the story for his blog, where commenters varied from ardent detractors to the supportive.

As noted at Jews in Green, a Messianic Jewish Chaplain candidate withdrew from Chaplain training after being told by the Navy that he would be required to wear the Christian cross, rather than the tablets worn by Jewish Chaplains.

In the 12 December article about candidate Michael Hiles, Rabbi Eric Tokajer says

This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system.

Military Jewish Lay Leader Derided

As previously noted, CAPT (USN) Neil Block is a Jewish lay leader who was personally involved in the investigation of alleged anti-Semitism in the Fort Benning community.

Now, Block himself is the target of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  In an article written by Jason Leopold, Michael Weinstein has called for his “immediate dismissal by Fort Benning” for his comments “trivializing” the incident, which Weinstein calls an “Army hate crime”:

Mr. Block displays a truly alarming and willful reckless disregard for the truth of this tragic Army hate crime and subsequent cover-up…Mr. Block is apparently the current reigning Poster Child for Army religious predator apologists.

[In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Leopold is a frequent advocate for the MRFF, and has received an award from them.]

The vitriol directed toward CAPT Block inspired an open letter [updated link] at Jews in Green.

Also noted at the Religion Clause.

Jewish Trainee Case Concluded & Commented

According to the Associated Press, the Army has given non-judicial punishment to a soldier who assaulted a fellow trainee (previous discussions).  The assault has been widely reported in concert with the victim’s complaints of discrimination because of his Jewish faith; however, the Army indicates there was no evidence the incidents were related.  Michael Weinstein disagreed, saying

Michael Handman was turned into a punching bag for the Army because of his religious faith.

The incidents were also reported at the blog Jews in Green, where CAPT Neil Block, USN (Ret), has commented.  He was the retired Jewish officer and local leader brought in to provide an assessment of the situation, and his comments are enlightening.

Also noted at the Religion Clause.

Jewish Soldier Complains of Discrimination

As noted at Fox News, a US Army trainee complained of religious discrimination after superiors used remarks denigrating to the Jewish faith and required him to remove his yarmulke.  (As previously noted, some religious attire is authorized in uniform; in fact, the yarmulke is the only such attire specifically mentioned.)

The soldier also was the victim of assault.  According to Fox News, the Army does not believe the events are connected.  Michael Weinstein, however, not only believes they are, but believes that those responsible must be Christians.

[T]hese ever more frequent, tragic matters [are the result] of unbridled, military-sponsored Christian religious oppression…

Like every allegation, Weinstein said he intends to include this in his lawsuit(s).

Also noted at the Religion Clause.

Jewish Chaplain Provides Spiritual Support in Iraq

A local Philadelphia newspaper covers the story of Rabbi Jon Cutler, a Jewish Navy Reserve Chaplain serving a 13-month tour in Iraq.  Cutler is the head Chaplain for 23 others.

Like many Chaplains, Cutler has the benefit of civilian religious counterparts to help fulfill troops’ spiritual needs:

When Cutler came to Iraq this winter, [he] set about creating a synagogue in the base’s chapel complex. Today, that synagogue — supplied with a Torah scroll brought over from the U.S. and the ark that holds it constructed by civilian contractors — has between 10 and 15 military personnel attending Friday night services. There is a steady crowd at Saturday Torah studies and weekly Jewish movie nights. Read more

IG: Religious Discrimination in Security Case

The Religion Clause links to articles that detail the case of David Tenenbaum, a civilian Army employee who was investigated for allegations of spying for Israel.  Tenenbaum, an Orthodox Jew, had claimed that he was mistreated because of his religion in the course of the investigation.  The Inspector General investigated as a result of a Congressional request.

Spanning back to 1992, the Inspector General’s report noted that while various officials stated that religion was a factor in the security investigation, it was “impossible” to know years after the fact whether it was “the personal practice of his faith or the intelligence community assessment that Israel might attempt to exploit any practitioner of that faith…”

Regardless, the IG stated that Tenenbaum received “unusual and unwelcome scrutiny because of his faith…[which] would undoubtedly fit a definition of discrimination.”

Weinsteins Complain about Wright-Patterson

Casey Weinstein, son of MRFF founder Michael Weinstein, was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB with his wife while they were both on active duty.  He remains in the area looking for a job as a reservist.  Now, a local Jewish paper is carrying an article in which Michael Weinstein has said

Wright-Patterson Air Force base is a “hotbed” of “unconstitutional religious intolerance.”

The younger Weinstein reportedly complained about a “prayer in Jesus’ name” that was a “violation of Air Force regulations” (a conclusion which is actually incorrect).  He also “got in [the] face” of his superior over an email about John Gibson’s The War on Christmas.  [Casey Weinstein, a 2004 Air Force Academy graduate, was a fairly vocal supporter of his father’s accusations against the military even while the younger Weinstein was on active duty.  (He also posted an interestingly accusatory comment here.)] Read more

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