This Friday night we will celebrate Veteran’s Day through Shabbat services.
Jews have long served honorably in our armed services. We have stood tall for the best of America’s ideals and, too often, we have paid the ultimate price.
In this we are no different than other groups that make up America, but this fact itself is something to lionize: that we Jews, through our brave women and men who served and continue to serve, do our part with open eyes and valor.
The same would be true for those who have served, or are active, in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Our Torah is full of exemplars who were forced to fight for their land, and in defense of their loved ones; including Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Deborah, and King David (the list is long, these are just a few).
Almost without exception, all of our spiritual heroes were reluctant to take their people into battle. We Jews have a long history of being uncomfortable with violence, and this is a good thing.
But doing nothing is also a choice, with consequences.
So when necessary, throughout our long history, when our youth have been called to arms, they have responded.
This Shabbat, interwoven among our sung prayers and the warmth of our Temple Emanu-El community, we will reflect and honor Jews and Military Service, historically and through today.
We also will humbly ask Co-President Art Katz to ascend the bima to share some of his experiences from the Vietnam War, how his Judaism influenced his military service, and how his military service continues to influence his Judaism.
We would invite you, and your entire family, to join us for this special evening.