Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jewish Chaplaincy

My son and I just finished studying a unit on the struggle to commission Jewish chaplains for the military and hospitals during the Civil War. The original federal law allowed only for Christian chaplains. The struggle for the appointment of Jewish chaplains was an important beginning of the formation of a united front for American Jewry and a precedent setting incident in the history of religious freedom in American law. I had forgotten that in February 2005 I wrote a Librarian's Lobby column on Jewish chaplaincy (, where I mentioned something about that struggle. Today while doing a Google book search I found that someone quoted my article in his book on chaplaincy. In the book, Leadership Paradigms in Chaplaincy, the author Joel Graves not only quotes me on pages 70-71 but also grants me the title, "Rabbi." I wish it was that easy to be granted the title.

I don't consider myself an expert in the subject. I was just writing some thoughts after hearing a sermon in shul about the need for chaplains in today's hospitals.