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Military Issues

The author in his IDF uniform at Masada

Even with support of other IDF volunteers, Basic Training was stressful, demoralizing, and chaotic. Why, then, did I volunteer to lead Kiddush at a Shabbat dinner?

Cantor David Frommer
A row of smiling Israeli teens

Like every Israeli parent, I have learned that the obligations of living in the Jewish state hit home hardest when kids graduate from high school.

Rabbi Rich Kirschen
USS Arizona Memorial

Fake news and falsehoods are difficult to combat. What happens when such stories emerge from within the greater Jewish family?

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D.
Two smiling woman in army uniforms

Sexual violence is a denial of the Jewish belief in the fundamental dignity of every individual and an abhorrent violation of the sanctity and wholeness of the body and health of another person.

Maya Weinstein
Chaplain lighting Hanukkah candles for Jewish troops in Korea

Formed on April 9, 1917 to unite American Jewry in the military during World War I, the Jewish Welfare Board is celebrating its centennial anniversary.

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D.

As a veteran, it is nice to hear “Thank you for your service.” It is much more meaningful, however, to hear “Tell me about your service.”

Rabbi Bonnie Koppell

Recently, together with new Israeli friends who joined them for a week, participants in the URJ’s NFTY in Israel program learned the story of the modern state of Israel. There are so many amazing parts of this country that are connected to living in a public culture that is Jewish and so many ways that Jewishness shapes the realms of language, literature, film, TV, social media, and more. In Israel, public space is Jewish space, and having a public culture that reflects this reality is one of the most important reasons the Jewish people needs its own country (like all other peoples). However, our young people also have learned about the challenges of needing a Jewish sovereign state so that we can control our own political destiny (again, like all other peoples), and why Zionism was the liberation movement of the Jewish people.

Rabbi Rich Kirschen
Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn conducting a Jewish service on Iwo Jima

From conversion-related controversy to conflicts over access to the Kotel, it seems nary a news cycle in the life of the Jewish people passes without a story about intra-Jewish conflict. However, far less discussed are documented instances of intra-Jewish cooperation, particularly those in which Reform rabbis had leading roles in bringing the Jewish world – in its totality – closer together.

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D.

A minute’s walk from the synagogue is the town’s war memorial, where the names of Petoskey’s fallen sons are forever enshrined. One of those names belongs to Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Heath Robinson, z’l. Senior Chief Robinson was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan when the helicopter he was riding in was shot down on August 6, 2011. Although I didn’t know the Senior Chief, I was in Afghanistan on the day he and 37 other brave warriors died, making it perhaps the single worst day of that deployment for me and a lot of other folks serving there. Before each Shabbat in Petoskey, I went to the memorial, knelt down, put my hand on his name, and simply said “Thank you.”

Aaron A. Rozovsky
Yom Kippur services during World War II

“Showing up,” Woody Allen once noted is “80 percent of life.” Fair enough, but what about the other 20 percent?

Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, Ph.D.
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