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7 Jewish Essays to Help Us Remember Members of Our Military

7 Jewish Essays to Help Us Remember Members of Our Military

Gravestones with American flags in front of each one

Although Memorial Day – which Americans will observe this Monday – is not a Jewish holiday, the idea of remembering and honoring those who died in service to our nation is certainly a Jewish value. With that idea in mind, we’ve rounded up these stories and prayers to share with you ahead of the long holiday weekend.

1. 5 Jewish Readings for Memorial Day

Including both ancient and contemporary texts, this compilation of prayers and readings offers a selection to enrich your holiday observance.

2. Why I Serve in the Military

Although the two never met, Aaron Rozovsky shares why he thanked Navy SEAL Senior Chief Petty Officer Heath Robinson, z’l, each week before Shabbat in Petoskey, Michigan.

3. Hatred and Bigotry Have No Place in “The Purest Democracy”

Rabbi Dan Bronstein, Ph.D., writes about Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, who, as a chaplain for the United States Marine Corps, delivered what became an historic eulogy, following Iwo Jima, one of the most devastating battles of World War II.

4. Rethinking Memorial Day

Rabbi Douglas Kohn reconsiders his own patriotism and relationship with the military in today’s America – and helps readers use a Jewish lens to do the same.

5. Yom Kippur in Vietnam

Mike Rankin, z”l, a military physician, shares his remembrances of a Kol Nidre service aboard a destroyer following a battle with the North Vietnamese Army that resulted in many deaths.

6. The Normandy Kaddish Project

Alan Weinschel recounts how a trip to the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach reminded him of his responsibility – and ours – to remember these fallen soldiers by saying Kaddish for them annually.

7. From Battle to Metaphor: The Meaning of Waterloo in Modern Jewish History

Rabbi Lance J. Sussman, Ph.D. writes about what connects the Battle of Waterloo – which took the lives of 26,000 souls in one day – and Reform Judaism.

May those we remember on this Memorial Day rest in peace and may we, taking to heart the teaching of the Prophet Isaiah, continue the sacred task of beating our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.

Jane E. Herman , a.k.a. JanetheWriter, is the senior writer and editor at the Union for Reform Judaism. She is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, PA, and holds a master's degree in public administration from the School of Public Affairs at Baruch College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system. She grew up at Temple Emanu-El in Edison, NJ, and now belongs to Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. A proud New Yorker, she loves books, fountain pens, social media, Words with Friends, mah jongg, and all things Jewish. She blogs at JanetheWriter Writes.

Jane E. Herman

Published: 5/24/2018

Categories: Jewish Life
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