Once again Memorial Day has come to the United States. For many people the day corresponds to the beginning of summer, bbq, sales, a day off from work and getting together with friends. Memorial Day includes these things for many people, but we need to remember the original (and I say most important) reason for the holiday – to remember the members of the armed services who gave their lives in battle, in conflict, or in training.
Regardless of politics and political opinion about the wars, actions and conflicts in which the United States has engaged. we can support the men and women who serve in the armed forces.
Many years ago, I had the privilege of being in the US Navy Chaplain Candidate program. I became part of the Naval Reserves. I trained and served with men and women of passion, patriotism and devotion to call. Rabbis have served in the US military services since the Civil War, and Jews have served since the Revolutionary War. I am no longer in the Navy, yet I remain forever changed by the short time I served.
On this Memorial Day, let us remember all members of the armed forces of all faiths who sacrificed their lives. We think especially of the Jewish soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, coast guardsmen who have died. A list of those who have died since September 11, 2001 is provided by the Jewish Welfare Board Chaplain’s Council.
Organizations Supporting and about Jews in the Military
Jewish War Veterans
Jewish Welfare Board Jewish Chaplains Council
National Museum of American Jewish Military History
Support Our Soldiers - send packages and encouragement to Jewish service members. (An effort of the Jewish War Veterans.)
The Brave – a listserv for families with members in the military
Links to some other posts on Jews in the military
- Jewish Soldiers Fighting Enemies and Stereotypes – an opinion piece by Gary Rosenblatt in The Jewish Week
- Memorial Day: Serving those Who Serve Us
I pray that the day will come soon when no country will need to send its children into battle and when armies are unnecessary, for then the words of the prophets will be evident all around – “Nation will not lift up sword against nation and they will not make war anymore. All will sit under their vines and fig trees and none will be afraid.”