A Jewish U.S. soldier blogs for The New York Times about what it was like to serve in Iraq, and how it sharpened his Jewish identity:
My father is a fourth-generation Episcopal minister from a blue-blooded New England family who fell in love with a Jewish girl. Rather than prescribing a religion to any of their children, my parents raised my brother, sister and me in both religions and allowed us to decide for ourselves. While not rejecting my Christian heritage, I have considered myself Jewish since shortly after my bar mitzvah.
For safety’s sake, I ordered two sets of dog tags before my deployment, one that identified me as Jewish, the other as Episcopalian. In my first three months in Iraq, while I worked in intelligence — mostly relegated to a windowless office — I wore the dog tags that said Jewish. My switch to platoon leader meant leaving the base daily and facing increased danger. The night before my new duties, I sat for close to an hour staring at each set of dog tags. I thought of the Maccabees — choosing death at the hand of the Assyrians rather than renouncing their faith. I also recalled Daniel Pearl — the Wall Street Journal reporter who had been beheaded in Pakistan, in part for being Jewish. I knew the chance of my capture was relatively low and that my dog tags would probably remain hidden under my uniform. But the idea of hiding my religious identity weighed on me heavily.
Full blogpost here.