I was very pleased to receive this email from Jean Kent, who gave me permission to post it here:
I do not know if you are aware of what is happening at Ft. Benning, GA with the Jewish troops.
Under lay leadership led by retired Navy Captain Neil Block from the Columbus, Georgia, Jewish community and occasional rabbinic support, participation at weekly services passes 200 now! This is probably the largest lay-lead program in the United States for the Army.
Each week a brunch is supplied (by Army rules, all services have to be on Sunday morning.). The Jewish Federation of Columbus supplies the lox, bagels, cream cheese and drinks while the local women provide all of the sweets.
Temple Israel provides freezer and refrigerator space so there is a home for all cakes and cookies to be used by this program—at last a good use for all of the extras after onegs, special events in the community.In addition the women have bake nights to make cakes and cookies.
The Federation has received several thousand dollars from soldiers and their families from across the country in support of this worthwhile program.Most of this money is being used to buy Army-approved siddurs for the soldiers to take overseas with them.
Jean Kiralfy Kent
Executive Director, Jewish Federation of Columbus
Co-President, Jewish Ladies Aid Society of Temple Israel