Thousands of American Jews Will Observe Yom Kippur During Military Maneuvers
Menu JTA Search

Thousands of American Jews Will Observe Yom Kippur During Military Maneuvers

Download PDF for this date

Yom Kippur services will, for the first time in the history of American Jewry, be held in tents on the fields of Louisiana, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, states where thousands of Jewish men in the armed forces are participating in the huge military maneuvers from which they cannot be released even for the Day of Atonement which will be observed from sundown tomorrow to sundown Wednesday.

Every available rabbi able to proceed to the sections of the country where the maneuvers are taking place was mobilized by the Jewish Welfare Board and sent to the field to perform Yom Kippur services “an route” with the Jewish men in the army. The services will in most cases be performed in the early morning hours before the maneuvers start.


General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, in a special Yom Kippur message, extended holiday greetings to the Jews in the army. Because of Gen. Marshall’s departure for the war games in the South, his message was broadcast from Washington by General Frederick Osborne. It said: “The Army today contains devotees of many religious faiths. This is in accord with the democratic principles which we are preparing to defend. There are thousands of Jewish soldiers in the ranks of the Army and many officers of that faith. All are Americans and all are involved in our effort to promote peace and justice in the world. In this period of the Jewish Holy Days, I extend the good wishes and good will of the other men of the Army.”

Greetings to men in the Navy were sent by Captain John F. Shafroth Jr., Assistant Chief of the Navy’s Bureau of Navigation, who said that Jews’ willingness to serve this country was “a beacon of hope to all the persecuted and conquered peoples in other lands.”

Admiral Harold F. Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, in a Yom Kippur message, expressed the “Navy’s deep appreciation for what the Jewish Welfare Board and other religious groups are doing in behalf of the religious life of the personnel of the Navy.”He emphasized that “the Government is deeply and sincerely interested in the spiritual welfare of those who wear the uniform and are part of the nation’s first line of defense.”

Yom Kippur services will be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the first time for the benefit of Jewish soldiers on duty in the island garrison. A Sefer Torah has been sent to Puerto Rico by airplane from Miami, and Rabbi Bertrand E. Pollans of New York, formerly of Fort Riley, reached San Juan to perform the services. Special furloughs will be granted to the Jewish men in the service who wish to attend by order of Major-General James L. Collins, commander of the insular forces.

Large attendance is expected for the Yom Kippur services in every synagogue throughout the United States. The traditional music of the Kol Nidre will be heard at the beginning of the evening service tomorrow. All of Wednesday, during which Jews will abstain from food and drink, will be given over to praying, serious meditation and repentance.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund