GRATITUDE EXPRESSED TO MRFF BY FORT HUACHUCA JEWISH LAY LEADER

“I can’t thank you enough for your help and am amazed at how quickly you responded.” 

 

From: (name withheld)
Date: November 1, 2018 at 1:38:01 PM MDT
To: “[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org” <[email protected]militaryreligiousfreedom.org>
Subject: Concern regarding Fort Huachuca Jewish soldiers

11/01/2018
 
Dear Mikey Weinstein and the staff of the MRFF,
 
I am a lay leader at a Jewish synagogue adjacent to Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, Arizona. I have been concerned for a long time about the treatment of the Jewish soldiers at the Fort.  About two years ago the Fort Huachuca Jewish lay leader resigned.  Since that time there have not been Shabbat services on post.  
 
Following the lay leader’s resignation, I met with the chaplain chief to see if I could help provide religious services off post for the Jewish personnel.  Our Temple is within 5 minutes from the Fort.  The chaplain chief refused to allow the Jewish soldiers to be transported to our Temple for religious services.  He told me that the services were too late in the evening.  He suggested that I move them into the late afternoon.  I explained to him that Shabbat did not begin until sundown, but that did not appear to be a concern for him.  He suggested that they could come up with another time for the Jewish soldiers to meet, such as on Sunday. He did not appear to think that it was important for Jewish soldiers to be able to attend weekly Jewish religious services on our Sabbath, the most important religious holiday in the Jewish religion. They are also not being given support to participate in the High Holidays.  It is important to note that opportunities are being provided for Jewish soldiers to participate in other Jewish holidays.
 
Mikey, I contacted you yesterday after learning that the only Torah at Fort Huachuca was recently returned to the JCC Jewish Welfare Board and that efforts were also being made to not only remove the Jewish Ark from Fort Huachuca’s main chapel but remove it from Fort Huachuca all together.  This angered me since now, without a Torah, Fort Huachuca soldiers are no longer able to celebrate their children’s B’nai Mitzvah on post.  The plan to remove the Ark, combined with already removing the Torah, appears to communicate that Jewish soldiers should no longer use the post main chapel.  
 
After I called you yesterday, you responded immediately by calling the Fort Huachuca Commanding General, a Major General.  He contacted me this morning, promised to investigate the problem and help resolve my concern, probably by the end of the week.
 
I can’t thank you enough for your help and am amazed at how quickly you responded.  I am quite hopeful that the situation for Fort Huachuca Jewish soldiers will improve in the immediate future.  I also want to thank you for the work you are doing for soldiers of all religions as well as for atheists.  Men and women who serve our country in the military should be given religious freedom without discrimination, and I feel much better knowing that there is an organization working to achieve that goal.
 
Sincerely,
 
(name withheld)

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