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Religious Revival in U.S. Attributed to Activities of Military Chaplains

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Religious revival in the United States since World War II, by and large “may be attributed to the spark and nurture of chaplains of all religious faiths during military service,” Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of the executive committee of the Commission on Jewish Chaplaincy of the National Jewish Welfare Board, told the 26th annual convention of the Rabbinical Council of America here today.

Rabbi Miller, who is also vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America, asserted that “military chaplains are far more effective in the administration of their theological duties than their civilian counterparts in the clergy. On the personal level, the chaplain in the armed forces has developed a greater affinity for his congregants by making himself more accessible and available whenever the need for guidance and assistance arises.”

He said that more than 200 Orthodox rabbis have served as full-time chaplains in the armed forces of the United States during the past 25 years. “The Orthodox chaplains in the armed forces have greatly altered the image of Orthodox Judaism in the general and Jewish communities,” he stated. “Orthodox Judaism is no longer considered an anachronism in the Twentieth Century which can only survive or live in ghetto surroundings.”

Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, honorary president of the Council, asserted that Orthodox Judaism is enriching the American heritage. He stated that America needed Orthodox Judaism’s emphasis on a duty-oriented law, rather than a right-centered law.

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