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September 21, 1990 - Image 80

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NEWS

From Everyone At

HERALD
WHOLESALE

Ta

b4

Jewish Chaplain
Leaves For Mideast

Jerry and Janice Katz
Eric, Marcie and Andrew Lipsitt
Kenny and Lori Cantor
Michael Katz
and Our Entire Staff



TAMAR KAUFMAN

Special to The Jewish News

T

*411.k
■Immloo4
*.•"1":
41P:

Our wish for a
year filled with
happiness, health
and prosperity

A Healthy and
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New Year
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Visit Our Showroom: Mon.-Fri, 10-5, Sat, 10-2

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health and prosperity.

RON, DIANE, JEREMY & JAMIE HERTZA
& THE STAFF OF POMEROY'S SEAFOOD

80

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1990

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JN

he only Jewish
chaplain accompany-
ing the U.S. Army to
Saudi Arabia left for the
Middle East this week.
Rabbi Ben Romer, 38, is
the third rabbi known to be
in the area. The other two
are Navy chaplains — Rabbi
Maurice Kaprow, with the
USS Saratoga, and Rabbi
Robert Feinberg, with the
Sixth Fleet.
"This is the second time
this year I was invited to one
of these things,"Rabbi
Romer said while packing
last week. "I was in Opera-
tion Just Cause [Panama]. I
was the only Jewish
chaplain there."
Due to the size of the
operation in Saudi Arabia,
however, he is expected to be
responsible for a lot more
people.
But Jewish chaplains are
used to being spread thin; of
the almost 1,600 chaplains
in the U.S. Army, only 17
are rabbis on active duty. All
told, there are 48 Jewish
chaplains in the military.
According to the Pentagon,
7,700 members of the U.S.
armed forces identify them-
selves as Jewish, including
1,300 in the Army. Some of
the 306,200 listing "no re-
ligious preference" also are
presumed to be Jewish.
As for the 400-500 Jews
estimated to be in Saudi
Arabia so far, Rabbi Romer
said he hopes to meet all
their religious needs, in-
cluding High Holy Day ser-
vices.
When the shofar sounds on
Arabian soil, it's likely to be
the first time since the days
of Mohammed.
"It'll be different, I'll tell
you that," Rabbi Romer
said. "There is something
historic in the event."
Rabbi Romer was not
supposed to be the only
Army rabbi going to Saudi
Arabia. Rabbi Barry R.
Baron, a 1988 graduate of
the Jewish Theological
Seminary, had been
scheduled to ship out with
the Second Mobile Army
Surgical Hospital in mid-
September but his orders
were suddenly changed.
Reached at Fort Benning,
Ga., before the shift, Rabbi
Baron was candid about how

Tamar Kaufman writes for the
Northern California Jewish
Bulletin.

he and his wife Jill were
dealing with his being sent
to a potential combat zone in
a part of the world known for
its antipathy toward Jews.
"We both freak out and
then we both calm down," he
said.
Rabbi Romer, a career
chaplain with six years of
military experience (two of
them on active duty), was
more restrained. He did,
however, admit to ner-
vousness: "I have no desire
to find myself near flying
bullets, or SCUD missiles for
that matter, but I trust the
soldiers and they under-
stand that I need protec-
tion."
His wife Karen said, "I
understand his feeling of
duty [but] he's not going to
walk in there with a blazing
star on his chest — he's go-
ing to be as discreet as possi-
ble."
As for their children,
Tamar, 13, Michah, 10%,
and Elisheva, 9, "they're do-
ing OK so far, but the longer
he's gone, the more difficult
it will become because
they'll miss him," she said.
Until last week, there had
been a question whether the
U.S. would send Jewish
chaplains at all because
Jews had been banned from
Saudi Arabia for centuries.
Sen. Daniel Patrick
Moynihan (D-N.Y.) asked
Defense Secretary Dick
Cheney for clarification. Mr.
Cheney said that since Jew-
ish soldiers are being sent to
Saudi Arabia, Jewish
chaplains will go, too.
Mr. Moynihan also in-
quired about the supply of
ritual objects such as
prayerbooks, yarmulkes and
prayer shawls, and whether
Jewish soldiers were being
advised to change the re-
ligious identification on
their dog tags.
Mr. Cheney responded
that the supplies would be
available, and the dog tags
are not being altered.
Meanwhile, according to
Rabbi David Lapp, director
of the JWB Jewish
Chaplains Council, two
unnamed Army rabbis have
been placed on alert — as
has one Navy chaplain, Lt.
Commander Fred Natkin,
who is assigned to the
Marines at Camp Pendleton,
Calif.
Rabbi Lapp said he had not
been advised if the Air Force
would be sending any of its
13 Jewish chaplains.
If they don't, Rabbi Romer

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