Via Jews in Green, the Aleph Institute, a non-profit ministry to Jewish prisoners and military personnel, is advertising its ability to provide military members with Shavuot supplies for the observance on May 24th. The resources include military-themed versions of the holiday supplies.
Shavuot is Read more
Update: J.B. Wells wonders aloud if the DoD intentionally produced the policy to change the religious freedom focus to turbans and beards while keeping “liberal constituencies” like Michael Weinstein “at bay.”
There have been a wide variety of responses to the US military’s update to DODI 1300.17 (accommodating religious freedom), with language that seems to imply a more open attitude toward outward display and expression of religious belief.
The Christian Post, like many sites, focused on the apparent ability to wear religious accoutrements:
The Pentagon reportedly decided to change its policy on religious wear after Major Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a Sikh, spoke at a Congressional briefing about the challenges American Sikhs face in the military earlier in January. Kalsi told members of Congress that he believes he can effectively serve his country while still maintaining his religious appearance, including an uncut beard and a turban.
While that may or may not have been a factor, the DoDI clearly includes language from both the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts — that is, requirements levied by Congress, not just reconsideration based on serving Soldiers.
The US Navy appeared to try to quell Read more
Jews in Green highlights an article by the Jewish Daily Forward that chronicles Jewish members of the US military who were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. JiG maintains its own list of all known Jewish US troops who have died in the recent conflicts.
The linked sites make an interesting comparison of the ‘celebration’ of Americans serving in the Israeli Defense Forces to that of Jewish Americans serving in the US military.
The US military generally does an admirable job of supporting the religious exercise of its members. That’s not to say it doesn’t use (or need) a little help sometimes.
Like external groups of other faiths, the Aleph Institute is organizing shipments of faith-based supplies to Jewish members of the US military around the world. As announced at Jews in Green,
They are offering to ship Prayer Books & Ritual Materials for the High Holidays and Sukkot FREE OF CHARGE to active duty military Read more
Jews in Green notes the services of Kosher Troops, a non-profit whose purpose in life is to create and ship kosher care packages to deployed servicemembers.
Kosher Troops now sends packages to Jewish soldiers stationed around the world, including kosher meals and staples of kosher products to supplement what they are getting from the military. Kosher Troops also sends at least 300 traditional- themed holiday baskets before each Yom Tov. It’s not just for holidays either. On a weekly basis, Kosher Troops sends Shabbat packages to Jewish troops that include challah, grape juice, bentchers, candles, and more…
As with any other belief system, it can sometimes be challenging to obtain religious support materials when deployed around the world in support of military operations. Sometimes, too, it is simply encouraging to receive support from Read more