A fascinating story at the Boston Globe recalls the steps taken to ensure the religious freedom of deployed US Sailors — in 1956:
Elihu Schimmel…was responsible for the medical care of men on dozens of ships. Often he had to be transported — by helicopter, by launch, by seaplane — from the Lindenwald to another vessel to see a patient.
But with Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) just around the corner, Schimmel was wondering whether a few men could be moved in the other direction. Specifically, a few Jewish men: enough to assemble a minyan, a quorum of 10, so that services could be held on the most sacred days of the Jewish year.
Schimmel figured he had nothing to lose by asking — and both Read more
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 Read more
The Jewish Daily Forward notes that Jewish American military members are able to celebrate their religious holidays even while deployed to a combat zone — in a country with an official Islamic constitution, no less.
Rabbi Jacob Goldstein will lead Yom Kippur services this year dressed not in the black fedora of his Lubavitch Hasidic sect, but in full battle gear at a Combat Operating Base in eastern Afghanistan. Read more
According to a State Department press release, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will host an Iftar on September 7th. The meal breaks the Islamic day-long fast that is continuous for the month of Ramadan. The US Army has also supported Iftars in Iraq.
Meanwhile, separate official Army press releases, complete with graphic banners, announce the upcoming Jewish celebrations of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The articles explain the meaning behind the holy days.
Religious freedom in America, and its military, at work.