Below is an email I received from Leonard Jablon. He expresses the feelings of a Jew serving in the military so well that I received his permission to publish his email here. (The boldface is mine.):
My name is Leonard Jablon, and I would love to help you in your quest to help Jews in the military. Currently, I am a teacher in California, and I am a member of Congregation B’nai Tzedek of Fountain Valley, CA. Our rabbi e-mailed your link to our congregation.
Here is a little background information, which may be of help to you:
I served in the U.S. Navy from 85-91, and I know just how lonely a Jew can feel when away from home for long periods of time. I was onboard the USS New Jersey BB-62, a battleship based out of Long Beach, CA. I was the Jewish lay leader on board that ship for my last 2 years in the navy.
I worked closely with the chaplains on board my ship, and I even held a Passover seder on board the Jersey. When we visited other countries, I always made a point of visiting other shuls, and I was warmly greeted in Brisbane and Sydney, Australia, as well as Tazmania.
In the U.S., when visiting Portland, OR, for the Rose Festival, I even stayed with a fellow service member at his home (he was a captain in the army).
I am still in touch with a close friend who was my rabbi while I was stationed at Great Lakes, IL, for training. He is a former chaplain of Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC, and he also happened to officiate at my wedding a year after I left the navy.
Please contact me at your earliest convenience as to how I can help with your organization.
And here’s where I’d like to add that I don’t have an organization. I only have this website that I hope will serve as an information center to encourage the American Jewish community to reach out to Jews stationed on bases with no Jewish chaplains. (There’s a severe shortage of Jewish chaplains in all branches of the U.S. military.)
Use the LOCATE NEARBY MILITARY BASES feature of this site to find bases near you, and then contact the bases to find out about Jewish personnel there.