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Jwb/jewish Chaplains Council Set Up to Serve Military Personnel

A new body, to be known as the JWB/Jewish Chaplains Council, has been organized by representatives of the three major rabbinic groups in American Jewish life.

The newly-established Council will serve Jewish chaplains in the U.S. military and Veterans Administration and Jewish military personnel and patients in VA hospitals. Each of the three rabbinic groups may endorse its own candidates for chaplaincy service.

The JWB/Jewish Chaplains Council will maintain an active liaison with the Chiefs of Chaplains of the Air Force, Army, Navy and VA; visit and consult with Jewish chaplains, lay leaders, installation chaplains, command personnel, and major commands; assist the military and naval lay leader/reader program; and supervise and support Jewish chaplains in the reserve program and part-time chaplains. It will also reach out to Jewish cadets and midshipmen in the nation’s service academies; conduct an annual chaplain’s career development workshop; issue a Jewish calendar-diary, periodic newsletter, leaflets for all Jewish holidays and other publications; respond to chaplains’ and lay leaders/readers’ requests for supplies, and serve as an advocate for Jewish personnel in the U.S. armed forces.

COMPOSITION OF THE COUNCIL

The Council will be composed of four representatives from each of the three rabbinic groups plus four members of an active-duty chaplains advisory group. Two representatives from each group will make up the executive committee of the Council.

Rabbi Barry Hewitt Greene, of Short Hills, N.J., will be chairman of the new Council, and Rabbi Aaron Landes, of Elkins Park, Pa., is chairman of the executive committee. Rabbi David Lapp is director of the new Council and also of JWB’s Armed Forces and Veterans Services. Rabbi Nathan Landman is deputy director.

Details of the arrangement were worked out at a meeting of the following representatives of the three rabbinic groups; Rabbi Herschel Schacter, Bronx, and Rabbi Abraham Avrech, Brooklyn, Rabbinical Council of America (Orthodox); Rabbi Landes and Rabbi Matthew Simon, Rockville, Md., Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative); and Rabbi Greene and Rabbi Frank Waldorf, Brookline, Mass., Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform).

“The unity which has marked service to the Jewish military chaplaincy for almost 70 years continues,” said Leonard Rochwarger, JWB president.

“We are extremely gratified that the representatives of the three major rabbinic bodies in American have exhibited such superb statesmanship in organizing the JWB/Jewish Chaplains Council. The American Jewish community can be assured that its men and women in uniform, their families and hospitalized VA patients will continue to get the full range of services that they have always received.”

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