Jewish Chaplains Monument Begins March to Arlington

The new memorial to fallen Jewish military chaplains will begin a tour of the East Coast on September 13 at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, and then continue to Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. The memorial will stop at JCCs as well as synagogues, military installations, and civil institutions. At its final stop, the monument will be formally dedicated on October 24 at Arlington National Cemetery.

The campaign to erect the Jewish chaplains memorial, initiated by Ken Kraetzer of the Sons of the American Legion, and jointly led by JWB Jewish Chaplains Council and Jewish Federations of North America, has taken several years to reach its successful conclusion and involved the concerted effort of many community organizations, including the Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance. A necessary joint resolution of Congress permitted the construction of the new monument, which will be placed on Chaplains Hill next to similar memorials dedicated to Catholic, Protestant and World War I chaplains.

The October 24 ceremony at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery is open to the public. “We hope people from all over the country come to the dedication at Arlington,” said Rabbi Harold Robinson, director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. “This is an extraordinary event for the Jewish community, and for anyone who is concerned that proper respect be paid to chaplains who died while on active duty. The American military chaplains’ corps is unique in its dedication and commitment to the diversity of religious expression in our armed forces.”

Before its formal dedication, the new monument will be displayed at different venues, allowing people who may not be able to visit Arlington to view it. September 20, it will be at the Michael Ann Russell JCC in North Miami Beach; September 21, David Posnack JCC, Davie, FL; September 22, Adolph & Rose Levis JCC, Boca Raton; September 23, Lore & Eric F. Ross JCC, Boynton Beach; October 2, Newton JCC, MA; October 9, JCC of Central New Jersey, Scotch Plains, NJ; October 15, York, PA (coordinated program with York JCC and Temple Beth Israel): October 19, Bernard & Ruth Siegel JCC, Wilmington, DE.  The tour is sponsored by the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral providers.

The day’s events on October 24 will begin with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11:15 a.m. The Tomb of the Unknowns is located next to the Memorial Amphitheater.  

More than 250 American chaplains of all faiths have died while on active duty in the U. S. Armed Forces. In 1926, the chaplains who served in World War I erected the first chaplains’ monument at Arlington National Cemetery, dedicated to the memory of their 23 colleagues who gave their lives in that conflict. In 1981, a separate monument was erected to memorialize 134 Protestant chaplains who died in World Wars I and II. Eight years later, a similar memorial to 83 Catholic chaplains who died in World War II, Korea and Vietnam was consecrated on Chaplains Hill. Now, through the efforts of many individuals and organizations of all faiths, a memorial to the 14 Jewish chaplains who died while on active duty will stand alongside those of their Protestant and Catholic brethren.

The 14 Jewish chaplains include: (World War II) Rabbi Alexander Goode, Rabbi Herman L. Rosen, Rabbi Henry Goody, Rabbi Samuel D. Hurwitz, Rabbi Louis Werfel, Rabbi Irving Tepper, Rabbi Nachman S. Arnoff, Rabbi Frank Goldenberg; (Cold War Era) Rabbi Solomon Rosen, Rabbi Samuel Rosen; (Vietnam/S.E. Asia) Rabbi Meir Engel, Rabbi Joseph Hoenig, Rabbi Morton H. Singer and Rabbi David Sobel.

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