First Jewish Services Held at Iwo Jima; “synagogue” is Improvised Under Open Sky
Menu JTA Search

First Jewish Services Held at Iwo Jima; “synagogue” is Improvised Under Open Sky

Download PDF for this date

The first Jewish services to be held for Marines of the Fourth Division were recently celebrated here. The service was conducted by Lieutenant Leon W. Rosenberg of New York City, formerly Jewish student advisor at the University of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, and veteran of the Marine campaigns in the Marshall and Marianas Islands.

For the first time in 21 days, it was safe for Marines to assemble in the open without fear of an enemy shell expleding in their midst. The service was held near where scores of landing craft churned into the beach with supplies, just 100 yards away. The site was the Fourth Division Cemetery, which now holds many hundreds of American dead. Several score yards inland American fighter planes were landing on recently captured Hotoyama airfield. An improvised altar, supported by Marine locker boxes, was the only semblance of a “Synagogue” on this treeless, dusty island where thousands of Marines were killed and wounded.

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