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New York - Should More Jews Join The U.S. Military?

Published on: November 25, 2009 10:54 AM
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Jewish Soldiers - Pesach Dinner, FallujahNew York - A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“Muslim Population in the Military Raises Difficult Issues”, 11/9/09) included a Defense Department circle graph, which depicts the declared religious affiliations of the collective, active duty members of all branches of the United States military. This graph displays a disturbing fact, one which should concern all Jewish Americans: Of a total of 1,359,948 active duty members of the military, just 4,515 are Jewish.

That’s just 1/3 of one percent of the total, leading only the Muslim service members, which total 3,409 at 1/2 of one percent. In the United States, Jews number between 5,128,000 and 6,444,000, and therefore make up between 1.7 and 2.2 % of our total population of 301,621,000 (U.S. Census Bureau). If Jews served in the military in proportion to their numbers in the general population, there should be between 23,119 and 29,919 Jews in the armed services today. The truth is there is less than 25% of that.

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These facts should disturb all Jews and lead to some introspection about what we get from, and what we give to, this country. In the United States we are respected, free and safe. We rely on the United States Constitution and the rule of law to keep us that way, and it has worked well for us, and for many other small minorities. That cannot be said of most other places around the world.

I contend that American Jews have a special responsibility to defend this country, perhaps beyond that of other ethnic groups. It is in our self-interest as Americans, of course, but it is also the right thing to do. We expect, demand and insist on sharing in all that this country has to offer, however, when it is time for our children to serve in defense of it, indeed perhaps in harm’s way, we often discourage participation, or at least we do not encourage it. We let others do it for us. This makes us appear to be “takers”, not the “givers” we pride ourselves on being. When it comes to the defense of America and of American-ensured freedom around the world, we Jews owe this country something. The United States liberated Europe for our ancestors and then accepted many of its refugees, including a sizable number of Jewish refugees. It would do so again, and indeed may yet have to, should existing threats become realities. We should be just as willing as others to defend that which we benefit from, our country.

There is another reason why we ought to encourage military service among Jewish youth: it is in the best interest of all the world’s Jews to do so. We expect, demand and insist that America stand ready to defend Israel against all threats, even when doing so may be at cross purposes with United States national interest or result in divisive American public opinion. Yet those who must stand ready to be in the forefront of this defense are overwhelmingly not Jewish. It should not be so.

When my father served his country as a member of the United States Army in World War II, it was not unusual for Jews to serve, and many thousands did. They participated at least in proportion to their numbers in the population, thanks in part to the draft, it’s true, but there was no particular culture of avoidance of military service, as there seems to be today.
In the interest of disclosure, I cannot personally claim military service. Indeed my father, after having been a prisoner-of-war, and after witnessing our country turning away from returning Vietnam veterans, discouraged my service, and I listened. We have since learned a lot from the experience of Vietnam, not the least of which is to love the veteran, regardless of your opinion of the mission.

That distinction holds true for our country, too: we must love, and be willing to serve our country, for us to be able to continue to claim it as our own. The ongoing failure of Jews to serve in significant numbers removes legitimacy from Jewish political goals: safety for Jews and safety for Israel. We must have adequate skin in the game.

Arnold L. Goldman lives in Canton, CT



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Read Comments (54)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Nov 25, 2009 at 10:57 AM Anonymous Says:

I think Mr. Goldman should immediately sign up to serve.

2

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM Yehuda Says:

First of all by fighting useless wars the US does not endear itself to its citizens or give them a rush to go fight.
Second it is very difficult for an observant Jew to keep his religion in the US army.
If the army would ensure that there would be no anti-semitisim, kosher food (with the best hashgocha), time to dave & learn, keep shabbos with no problem (even on the front lines) then there is a chance more Jews would enlist.

3

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM Milhouse Says:

What a silly article. Yes, Jews are underrepresented in the military; we are also underrepresented in the police, the fire brigade, and many other occupations. We are also overrepresented in many occupations that contribute equally to society, such as medicine and science. Each person should do what he's best suited for, and not every racial, ethnic, or other group is equally provided with members who are suited for all things.

4

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:01 AM Robert Says:

his point is valid
i would like to see more jews in many government positions military included.. also in defense contracting, diplomatic corps, and other volunteer groups such as the peace corp.

5

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:02 AM Anonymous Says:

Arnold:
That was the most ridiculous thing I've ever read.

6

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:07 AM Babishka Says:

Reply to #2  
Yehuda Says:

First of all by fighting useless wars the US does not endear itself to its citizens or give them a rush to go fight.
Second it is very difficult for an observant Jew to keep his religion in the US army.
If the army would ensure that there would be no anti-semitisim, kosher food (with the best hashgocha), time to dave & learn, keep shabbos with no problem (even on the front lines) then there is a chance more Jews would enlist.

What about more Jews joining the IDF Nahal Haredi? (my son served in this unit)

7

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:08 AM Anonymous Says:

I strongly disagree. Sorry. I spent 17 yrs in the military -but I went as a Chaplain so I was an officer right away. Besides, being the rabbi- I am expected to follow halacha. But as a soldier – they train on shabos which the soldier can not get out of. As far as kosher food goes – while I was lucky & had it easy –bec I had a fridge & freezer in the chapel- soldiers did not have this convenience. They had to eat in the mess hall – where kosher food is not available. Yes, there were others officers – like Doctors in the military. So I strongly discourage observant boys from serving in the military – even though I did. I speak from 17 yrs experience. 1 additional point- fighting in Muslims country – can u imagine the issues if a Jew is captured? Additionally, if chas vsholom a Jew dies in the battlefield –there are automatic autopsies bec it takes a while to transport the remains back to the States. So once again – military service for frum boys should be avoided at all costs.

8

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:14 AM anonymous Says:

The segment of the Jewish community that is most traditionally Patriotic, meaning believes in the U.S. Military is MO. Unfortunately it is difficult or impossible to be observant. My son wanted to join. I told him to join IDF, which he did. Same with other friend's boys. If Jews are not going to be Dati, they should consider joining.

9

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:18 AM awacs Says:

As a practical matter, when was the American military called on to defend America? WW! - nope. WWII - nope. Korea - nope. Vietnam - uh uh. Persian Gulf I/II? - no. Grenada? - no sirree?

All of these involvements may have been useful and/or right, but none of them were n America's defense (in the narrow sense) no matter what anyone said. Two oceans pretty much keep us safe, even without an army. So, if you want to defend America, maybe join the National Guard, or be a policeman or fireman ...

10

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:20 AM yea Says:

I know 2 jews who worked in the military they all left they said its very hard to be jewish in the military .

11

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:24 AM Anonymous Says:

So overall 1,600,000 active members out of 300,000,000 total population is half of 1 %. Thats not that great either. Buts thats all they need...

12

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:30 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Yehuda Says:

First of all by fighting useless wars the US does not endear itself to its citizens or give them a rush to go fight.
Second it is very difficult for an observant Jew to keep his religion in the US army.
If the army would ensure that there would be no anti-semitisim, kosher food (with the best hashgocha), time to dave & learn, keep shabbos with no problem (even on the front lines) then there is a chance more Jews would enlist.

Keep Shabbos on the front lines? Should they send someone else to shoot in your place and defend their fellow soldiers? Maybe they should negotiate an armistice every Shabbos? Do you really think that happens in any war, even in Israel? If they had your attitude, the Arabs would have overrun the whole country on Yom Kippur of '73.

13

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:33 AM Use your noodles Says:

I bet you there are many non-observant jews that are enlisted that don't declare their affiliation, and therefore the statistics are definately messed up.

14

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:59 AM David Says:

Great article. I take great pride in family members who served and, while I was not able to join the military, I am proud to serve as a firefighter, and proud to wear my kippah while doing so. Yes, more Jews should join the US military, for exactly the reasons described.

15

 Nov 25, 2009 at 12:02 PM David Says:

Reply to #8  
anonymous Says:

The segment of the Jewish community that is most traditionally Patriotic, meaning believes in the U.S. Military is MO. Unfortunately it is difficult or impossible to be observant. My son wanted to join. I told him to join IDF, which he did. Same with other friend's boys. If Jews are not going to be Dati, they should consider joining.

My impression is that there are already quite a few Jews serving in the IDF. While defending Israel is certainly commendable, it is hardly a service to the United States-- American Jews should be loyal and patriotic Americans, and, after all America has provided for us, we should be looking for ways to serve and express our hakaras ha-tov. The US military is probably the most honorable way of doing so.

16

 Nov 25, 2009 at 12:05 PM David Says:

Reply to #3  
Milhouse Says:

What a silly article. Yes, Jews are underrepresented in the military; we are also underrepresented in the police, the fire brigade, and many other occupations. We are also overrepresented in many occupations that contribute equally to society, such as medicine and science. Each person should do what he's best suited for, and not every racial, ethnic, or other group is equally provided with members who are suited for all things.

Doctors and scientists do contribute. They do not, however, put their lives on the line for others in the way that the military (and police and firefighters) do, and they are very well paid for their "service." It's not the same, and please don't suggest that we are "racially" limited in our ability to serve. Jews can-- and long have-- served with great distinction in the armed forces. They should be encouraged to do so, and not told that they are part of a "racial, ethnic, or other group" which lacks the ability to contribute in that way.

17

 Nov 25, 2009 at 12:51 PM PMO Says:

There are many civilian jobs that people can take within the military in order to help our country. One does not have to be a soldier, or in the field. There are jobs which allow you to help families of soldiers, there are technical jobs, there are maintenance jobs on bases, etc.

While it is nearly impossible to be a soldier, there is still plenty you CAN do for our country.

18

 Nov 25, 2009 at 12:51 PM Lawyer Says:

I think the reason that there are so few jews and muslims in the military is quite clear. The military runs with very set rules and uniformity that are needed to keep such a large fighting force funtioning properly. The military system is not set up to tolerate accomodations and different needs for different ethnic groups. Therefore, ethnic groups with different needs have two options: 1) Give up their needs an beliefs or 2) Don't join. Obviously most have chosen option 2.

19

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:00 PM Anonymous Says:

I served for 8 years, and was proud to state that i was jewish while serving, it wasn't easy, but there are good people that will stand with you.

That said, Jewish people make up less than 1% of personnel, yet Jewish people represent more than 20% of recipients of the Medal Of Honor Award.

20

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:34 PM Yehuda Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Keep Shabbos on the front lines? Should they send someone else to shoot in your place and defend their fellow soldiers? Maybe they should negotiate an armistice every Shabbos? Do you really think that happens in any war, even in Israel? If they had your attitude, the Arabs would have overrun the whole country on Yom Kippur of '73.

To fight for Israel you are allowed to be mechalel shabbos to fight a foreign war which is useless and does not protect Jews you are not allowed to fight on Shabbos unless your own life is at risk. On shabbos you should stay in the main base.

21

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:41 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #3  
Milhouse Says:

What a silly article. Yes, Jews are underrepresented in the military; we are also underrepresented in the police, the fire brigade, and many other occupations. We are also overrepresented in many occupations that contribute equally to society, such as medicine and science. Each person should do what he's best suited for, and not every racial, ethnic, or other group is equally provided with members who are suited for all things.

what a silly and arrogant attitude on your part.
we also need more jews in the fire brigades and police..
as usual time to grow up.. one of the other commentators is worried about all the religious issues of the military..
well most religious doctors get through shabbos and other halachic issues very well
we can find a way in the military too.

22

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:43 PM G-4 Commissioner Says:

This article was obviously written by a non-observant Jew. Does Mr. Goldman even know what being Jewish means?

Its not just a race, or a religion, being Jewish is a way of life. Jews believe in 1 God.
Jews believe in a after life. Jews believe that they are sent to the world with a mission.

Jews practice what is says in the Old Testament.

Any one who has ever served in the US armed forces, know that observant Jews are not welcome. Going back to the first and second world wars, observant Jews were never provided kosher food. Observant Jews couldn't take off holidays or the Sabbath. Observant Jews weren't appropriated time in the day to say their daily prayers.

Look at the above flaws in the US armed forces policy on religious life, why in the world would;
A) the Armed forces want to accommodate such people?
B) Such people want to live under such circumstances?

How come there are few blacks in the FDNY?
How come there are so many Jews in Harvard?
How come there are so many Jews in Yale?

There is a pattern here. Jews study books, and use their intellect. Nations of the world have been trying to change us for 4,000 years.

I like who we are, I'm proud to be a Jew!

23

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:10 PM Yudi Mandel Says:

Reply to #9  
awacs Says:

As a practical matter, when was the American military called on to defend America? WW! - nope. WWII - nope. Korea - nope. Vietnam - uh uh. Persian Gulf I/II? - no. Grenada? - no sirree?

All of these involvements may have been useful and/or right, but none of them were n America's defense (in the narrow sense) no matter what anyone said. Two oceans pretty much keep us safe, even without an army. So, if you want to defend America, maybe join the National Guard, or be a policeman or fireman ...

Before the US was attacked at Pearl Harbor, the US was not at war, on the contrary, we were very pacifistic

24

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:45 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #10  
yea Says:

I know 2 jews who worked in the military they all left they said its very hard to be jewish in the military .

if there were more jews in the military it would be easier on them all.

25

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

I served for 8 years, and was proud to state that i was jewish while serving, it wasn't easy, but there are good people that will stand with you.

That said, Jewish people make up less than 1% of personnel, yet Jewish people represent more than 20% of recipients of the Medal Of Honor Award.

I am fascinated by your statistic regarding Medal of Honor Awards. Just curious, what is your source for this statistic?

26

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:51 PM Anonymous Says:

The real reason Jews are underrepresented in the military, is that most military people come from low class backgrounds/rural America, while Jews are generally middle to upper class. So its not that Jews are better suited to be doctors and lawyers, but rather its part of the middle/upper class culture to pursue professions that require advanced degrees.
Also, what about the burden on one's family being away in the army for so much time? Having nobody at home to make kiddush, to go over the boys gemarah in school? It certainly is not an ideal family situation, and since it is not necessary for frum Jews to serve in America ( as opposed to in Israel where everyone is needed), I dont see any reason to serve.

27

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:52 PM Robert Says:

Reply to #20  
Yehuda Says:

To fight for Israel you are allowed to be mechalel shabbos to fight a foreign war which is useless and does not protect Jews you are not allowed to fight on Shabbos unless your own life is at risk. On shabbos you should stay in the main base.

so what would you do if they reinstate a draft?

28

 Nov 25, 2009 at 01:53 PM Anonymous Says:

Does the military want frum jews? No. It isn't an issue of racism, it is just too hard and costly to accomodate them. My friend became frum in the army, and they gave him an honorable discharge on condition he signs an afidavit stating that if he joins again he agrees not to request special accomodations for being frum, including kosher food.

29

 Nov 25, 2009 at 02:38 PM Can't pass on a great story Says:

When I was in yeshiva, I also worked as the intern Jewish chaplain (civilian) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) leading services, visiting patients, hosting luncheons, etc.

I was taking a class at the University of Maryland, College Park and the professor started to discuss the ongoing wars. There were differing views, and a classmate said that mine were unpatriotic and I didn't support our troops. I then asked this person, "well, what do you do to support our troops?" He responded that he has a flag sticker on his car and he hangs a flag from his dorm window. I said, "That's it? Because I am with soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines coming back from battle wounded. I am with their sick family members who are thousands of miles away from their loved ones. And you, who only puts a little flag on his car (neither of which were probably made in America) have the chutzpah to say I don't support our troops!" Well, that pretty much ended the conversation right there.

I would love to join the service. My wife comes from an Air Force family and she doesn't want to move every few years. But I do what I can by working for DOD as a little thank you to the USA.

30

 Nov 25, 2009 at 02:52 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

The real reason Jews are underrepresented in the military, is that most military people come from low class backgrounds/rural America, while Jews are generally middle to upper class. So its not that Jews are better suited to be doctors and lawyers, but rather its part of the middle/upper class culture to pursue professions that require advanced degrees.
Also, what about the burden on one's family being away in the army for so much time? Having nobody at home to make kiddush, to go over the boys gemarah in school? It certainly is not an ideal family situation, and since it is not necessary for frum Jews to serve in America ( as opposed to in Israel where everyone is needed), I dont see any reason to serve.

It's not true that most military people come from low class backgrounds. But it is true that they tend to come from areas away from the big cities, which is where Jews tend to live.

31

 Nov 25, 2009 at 02:56 PM ah nectigeh tug Says:

Mr. Goldman is apparently unaware of the fact that a huge percentage of jews served in the German army in WWI and even in the Polish army in WWII. This did not endear them to the popuation or benefit them in any way shape or form.

32

 Nov 25, 2009 at 03:19 PM formally Says:

Reply to #2  
Yehuda Says:

First of all by fighting useless wars the US does not endear itself to its citizens or give them a rush to go fight.
Second it is very difficult for an observant Jew to keep his religion in the US army.
If the army would ensure that there would be no anti-semitisim, kosher food (with the best hashgocha), time to dave & learn, keep shabbos with no problem (even on the front lines) then there is a chance more Jews would enlist.

what a stupid comment

I am sure in all biblical wars they the enemy stopped fighting Friday night until Saturday night. And of course every morning they asked the yiddin if the davened and learned daf yomi.
Do you think war stops on Shobbos, you are not going to shoot back on YomTov

It is war my friend.

33

 Nov 25, 2009 at 03:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

The real reason Jews are underrepresented in the military, is that most military people come from low class backgrounds/rural America, while Jews are generally middle to upper class. So its not that Jews are better suited to be doctors and lawyers, but rather its part of the middle/upper class culture to pursue professions that require advanced degrees.
Also, what about the burden on one's family being away in the army for so much time? Having nobody at home to make kiddush, to go over the boys gemarah in school? It certainly is not an ideal family situation, and since it is not necessary for frum Jews to serve in America ( as opposed to in Israel where everyone is needed), I dont see any reason to serve.

You are absolutely correct that the military is largely comprised of poor rural whites and other minorities. People generally do not join the military out of a sense of patriotism or duty to the country; they join the military because they do not have the opportunities afforded to the white middle and upper class which the Jews belong to.

The phony "patriots" who "support" the military and wave their flags, would never consider signing up to join the military and risk their lives for this country. Instead they prefer to play armchair quarterback, lecturing their "team" on which country to invade next from the comfort of their centrally air-conditioned home. The sad reality is that hundreds of thousands of these poor kids are coming home with permanent physical and psychological scars to face mounting bills and very high divorce rates. That's the reason Jews are underrepresented in the military.

34

 Nov 25, 2009 at 03:31 PM formally Says:

Reply to #9  
awacs Says:

As a practical matter, when was the American military called on to defend America? WW! - nope. WWII - nope. Korea - nope. Vietnam - uh uh. Persian Gulf I/II? - no. Grenada? - no sirree?

All of these involvements may have been useful and/or right, but none of them were n America's defense (in the narrow sense) no matter what anyone said. Two oceans pretty much keep us safe, even without an army. So, if you want to defend America, maybe join the National Guard, or be a policeman or fireman ...

so you have no complaints that the world did not do anything for Jews during WWII?

We where attacked during WWII but most likely you do not know history. In addition if we did not join when we did in WWII The usa would have been fighting a much stronger larger German Army

35

 Nov 25, 2009 at 04:08 PM Obamanation Says:

Reply to #2  
Yehuda Says:

First of all by fighting useless wars the US does not endear itself to its citizens or give them a rush to go fight.
Second it is very difficult for an observant Jew to keep his religion in the US army.
If the army would ensure that there would be no anti-semitisim, kosher food (with the best hashgocha), time to dave & learn, keep shabbos with no problem (even on the front lines) then there is a chance more Jews would enlist.

i signed up and i spoke to them about training, becuase basic training is on shobbos, so they told me they will work it out and get back to me. so now i'm waiting for the reply.

36

 Nov 25, 2009 at 04:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #8  
anonymous Says:

The segment of the Jewish community that is most traditionally Patriotic, meaning believes in the U.S. Military is MO. Unfortunately it is difficult or impossible to be observant. My son wanted to join. I told him to join IDF, which he did. Same with other friend's boys. If Jews are not going to be Dati, they should consider joining.

Yes, it is difficult but not impossible. I am the third generation military. My grandfather was in the cavalry, my father was in the infantry and I was a Naval officer. I entered shommer torah u'mitzvos and after a total of ten years (active duty and reserves) separated from the Navy as a shomer torah u'mitzvos. So yes, it is possible. I felt that in addition to serving my country I was also serving G-d by being a kiddusg hashem. I was the first Jew that many of my friends met and the quickly realized that we don't have horns, we are not all into money and we do not all come from priveleged homes. They also had the utmost respect for my religious observance as I had for theirs. The most difficult thing that I found was the dearth of Jewish chaplains thus I was more times than not the "lay" leader for other Jewish officers and seamen who were always looking to meet up and hang out (particulary arounf holidays) with other Jews.

BTW, my b'chor has kept the family tradition but did it through aliya and joining the IDF.

37

 Nov 25, 2009 at 04:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

You are absolutely correct that the military is largely comprised of poor rural whites and other minorities. People generally do not join the military out of a sense of patriotism or duty to the country; they join the military because they do not have the opportunities afforded to the white middle and upper class which the Jews belong to.

The phony "patriots" who "support" the military and wave their flags, would never consider signing up to join the military and risk their lives for this country. Instead they prefer to play armchair quarterback, lecturing their "team" on which country to invade next from the comfort of their centrally air-conditioned home. The sad reality is that hundreds of thousands of these poor kids are coming home with permanent physical and psychological scars to face mounting bills and very high divorce rates. That's the reason Jews are underrepresented in the military.

You clearly have no clue as to what you are talking about. You should spend some time at West Point or Annapolis. Spend time in the Jewish chapels and talk to the Jewish biys and girls who attend these fine institutions.

38

 Nov 25, 2009 at 05:22 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #36  
Anonymous Says:

Yes, it is difficult but not impossible. I am the third generation military. My grandfather was in the cavalry, my father was in the infantry and I was a Naval officer. I entered shommer torah u'mitzvos and after a total of ten years (active duty and reserves) separated from the Navy as a shomer torah u'mitzvos. So yes, it is possible. I felt that in addition to serving my country I was also serving G-d by being a kiddusg hashem. I was the first Jew that many of my friends met and the quickly realized that we don't have horns, we are not all into money and we do not all come from priveleged homes. They also had the utmost respect for my religious observance as I had for theirs. The most difficult thing that I found was the dearth of Jewish chaplains thus I was more times than not the "lay" leader for other Jewish officers and seamen who were always looking to meet up and hang out (particulary arounf holidays) with other Jews.

BTW, my b'chor has kept the family tradition but did it through aliya and joining the IDF.

BTW, bith my grandfather z'l and father z'l where shommrei torah u'mitzvos before, during and after their military service.

Yes, there were observant Jews in the US a 100 years ago.

39

 Nov 25, 2009 at 06:16 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #26  
Anonymous Says:

The real reason Jews are underrepresented in the military, is that most military people come from low class backgrounds/rural America, while Jews are generally middle to upper class. So its not that Jews are better suited to be doctors and lawyers, but rather its part of the middle/upper class culture to pursue professions that require advanced degrees.
Also, what about the burden on one's family being away in the army for so much time? Having nobody at home to make kiddush, to go over the boys gemarah in school? It certainly is not an ideal family situation, and since it is not necessary for frum Jews to serve in America ( as opposed to in Israel where everyone is needed), I dont see any reason to serve.

Don't you think that a parent being away in the military is just as hard on non-frum and non-jewish families? Also, while wealthier families may be less likely to produce volunteers for the military, plenty of middle class young men and women volunteer.

40

 Nov 25, 2009 at 06:25 PM Anonymous Says:

This discussion is a good reminder that even if many of us don't serve or have familiy members who serve, we should try to think of tangible ways to support our military and show our appreciation. Perhaps every shul, yeshiva, etc. should organize a program. It could be sending care packages and writing letters; volunteering to assist wounded/disabled vets or at homeless shelters for veterans (yes, there are many homeless vets, including those who suffered a great deal after returning from viet nam). Find out if there are families in your communities with a parent in the military. If so, their family members left behind might need help with things the absent soldier would ordinarily do -- i.e. yard work, household repairs, taking the kids to a ballgame, or sometimes just someone to talk to or to hear "thank you for sharing your loved one with our country.". Be part of the welcoming party when local national guard units return. Show up for memorial and veteran's day parades and events to thank our servicemen and women. I'm sure that others will have many more suggestions.

41

 Nov 25, 2009 at 06:29 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #32  
formally Says:

what a stupid comment

I am sure in all biblical wars they the enemy stopped fighting Friday night until Saturday night. And of course every morning they asked the yiddin if the davened and learned daf yomi.
Do you think war stops on Shobbos, you are not going to shoot back on YomTov

It is war my friend.

That's exactly his point. This is why a frum Jew should not enlist.

42

 Nov 25, 2009 at 06:32 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #33  
Anonymous Says:

You are absolutely correct that the military is largely comprised of poor rural whites and other minorities. People generally do not join the military out of a sense of patriotism or duty to the country; they join the military because they do not have the opportunities afforded to the white middle and upper class which the Jews belong to.

The phony "patriots" who "support" the military and wave their flags, would never consider signing up to join the military and risk their lives for this country. Instead they prefer to play armchair quarterback, lecturing their "team" on which country to invade next from the comfort of their centrally air-conditioned home. The sad reality is that hundreds of thousands of these poor kids are coming home with permanent physical and psychological scars to face mounting bills and very high divorce rates. That's the reason Jews are underrepresented in the military.

Comment #33 is a pack of lies from beginning to end. It is absolutely untrue. The average person in the military is MORE educated than the average civilian. They join because in their society it's seen as the thing to do.

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 Nov 25, 2009 at 06:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

I served for 8 years, and was proud to state that i was jewish while serving, it wasn't easy, but there are good people that will stand with you.

That said, Jewish people make up less than 1% of personnel, yet Jewish people represent more than 20% of recipients of the Medal Of Honor Award.

Don't forget that Most Jews served in WWII and shortly thereafter when this country still had a conscript army so they had no choice, that is where you get "20%" math. . Vietnam and post Vietnam, you won't find Jews contributing to military service much.
The only minority group that consistently is overrepresented in U.S. military are the Native Americans. Oddly, they should be the least represented group considering that the same country that they serve almost wiped them out.

Another odd thing is that you see a lot of American Jews that are born and raised here willingly join the IDF and not the U.S. military. (The orthodoxy doesn't matter because majority of Jews that consider any military service tend to not be affiliated with orthodox group

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 Nov 25, 2009 at 07:09 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #28  
Anonymous Says:

Does the military want frum jews? No. It isn't an issue of racism, it is just too hard and costly to accomodate them. My friend became frum in the army, and they gave him an honorable discharge on condition he signs an afidavit stating that if he joins again he agrees not to request special accomodations for being frum, including kosher food.

Are you aware the kosher rations (packaged with a hashgacha) are available in all branches of the US armed forces?

45

 Nov 25, 2009 at 09:56 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

I was drafted (shoulda stayed in Yeshiva) in 1964 and served 2 years active duty, the last year in Vietnam. It is very difficult but not impossible to remain observant in the service. I had heard of major antisemitism from men who had served in WWII or Korea but I encountered none. In fact, it seemed that the officers in my unit went out of their way to accommodate by somewhat bizarre requirements. I relied on the Chofetz Chaim's (ZTL) kuntres "Machaneh Yisroel", which was written for WW1 conscripts in the Russian Army, for guidance. I subsisted on veggies and food packages from home (Send a salami to your boy in the Ahmy). Baruch HaShem, I returned with my faith intact and with the same bilateral symmetry I left with. It is true, as a previous poster noted that the Military can supply Kosher MRE's (Meals Rejected by Everyone) to servicemen who request them.

I can't, in good conscience, recommend enlisting in the armed forces. It's just too difficult to maintain observance for it to be a viable carreer for observant Jews. But if they ever reinstitute the draft don't panic. It can be done and by the way, the Chofetz Chaim had paskened that Jews should not dodge the draft.

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 Nov 25, 2009 at 09:35 PM Anonymous Says:

Yes. Jews should join the military. but they should have it easier on them.
The Chofetz Chaim wrote a sefer called Ohev Yisroel and it is on halachos in the army.

47

 Nov 25, 2009 at 09:10 PM Common Sense Says:

This article really touched home and has much truth in it. Jews should serve the US, either in military or civilian roles. One of the first responsibilities of citizenship, is defending the nation. As American Jews we have an special responsibilty to show our gratitude for this great country that has provided so much good to the Jewish people. I served in the US military for 30 years, including a lot of time at sea and a year in Iraq. I must tell you, that despite the hardships and sacifice, it is a wonderful opportunity. The military today offers a young person with the drive, endless opportunitues for education and personal growth. You meet some outstanding people. More important, the military is a culture that empasizes integrtiy, service before self, teamwork. This leaves an indelible imprint on young people for the rest of their lives.

Is it easy to be Shomer Mitzvot in the armed forces? No, but what good things in life come without some sacrifice? Imagine the kiddish HaShem a young bochur makes on his comrades when he wakes up an hour early to put of tefillen. Things like that redound to the good of all Jews in America. Todah for a wonderful article.

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 Nov 25, 2009 at 07:54 PM LiBERALISM IS A DISEASE!!!! Says:

So when is this big mouth signing up?? Its nice to be a big talker but lets see him put his money where his mouth is.

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 Nov 25, 2009 at 10:46 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #40  
Anonymous Says:

This discussion is a good reminder that even if many of us don't serve or have familiy members who serve, we should try to think of tangible ways to support our military and show our appreciation. Perhaps every shul, yeshiva, etc. should organize a program. It could be sending care packages and writing letters; volunteering to assist wounded/disabled vets or at homeless shelters for veterans (yes, there are many homeless vets, including those who suffered a great deal after returning from viet nam). Find out if there are families in your communities with a parent in the military. If so, their family members left behind might need help with things the absent soldier would ordinarily do -- i.e. yard work, household repairs, taking the kids to a ballgame, or sometimes just someone to talk to or to hear "thank you for sharing your loved one with our country.". Be part of the welcoming party when local national guard units return. Show up for memorial and veteran's day parades and events to thank our servicemen and women. I'm sure that others will have many more suggestions.

Very well said is there a number or address we can call or write to

50

 Nov 25, 2009 at 11:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #41  
Milhouse Says:

That's exactly his point. This is why a frum Jew should not enlist.

i guess he shouldnt be doctor too
he might need to work on shabbos..

51

 Nov 26, 2009 at 11:52 AM Allan Says:

My answer to the question is YES. I served during the Viet Nam conflict and went in as Regular Army (volunteered). My father and many of my uncles served during WWII and did their fair share. It is an obligation to serve ones country to the best of ones ability. Freedom isn't Free! To this very day and every single day I fly the Flag of the USA and other patriot flags at my home.

52

 Nov 26, 2009 at 01:43 PM NAVY Says:

Reply to #36  
Anonymous Says:

Yes, it is difficult but not impossible. I am the third generation military. My grandfather was in the cavalry, my father was in the infantry and I was a Naval officer. I entered shommer torah u'mitzvos and after a total of ten years (active duty and reserves) separated from the Navy as a shomer torah u'mitzvos. So yes, it is possible. I felt that in addition to serving my country I was also serving G-d by being a kiddusg hashem. I was the first Jew that many of my friends met and the quickly realized that we don't have horns, we are not all into money and we do not all come from priveleged homes. They also had the utmost respect for my religious observance as I had for theirs. The most difficult thing that I found was the dearth of Jewish chaplains thus I was more times than not the "lay" leader for other Jewish officers and seamen who were always looking to meet up and hang out (particulary arounf holidays) with other Jews.

BTW, my b'chor has kept the family tradition but did it through aliya and joining the IDF.

My friend who is in the Navy told me what Navy stands for: Never Again Volunteer Yourself!

53

 Apr 06, 2010 at 11:43 PM paul Says:

I must have read every excuse in the world under the comments. Yes jews are underrepresented and should have mandatory service especially when the US protects Israel and is fighting wars in the middle east for Isreael.

54

 Nov 16, 2012 at 09:18 AM PATRIOT Says:

Reply to #53  
paul Says:

I must have read every excuse in the world under the comments. Yes jews are underrepresented and should have mandatory service especially when the US protects Israel and is fighting wars in the middle east for Isreael.

Having served for seven years in the Air Force, I never met a jewish airman or offficer. Statistically, a few exist but the issue of under representation is real. Similarly, there are far too few Arab Americans serving our country. It strikes me as unfortunate when you see their pleas for US military support of their homelands when so few of them will step up and serve the country they've chosen to immigrate to. This is equally true for India. When Pakistan or Iran beging to pound them, they will fully expect more US assets and personnel to be put in harms way on their behalf. When people suggest as they do in this blog that Jews are better suited for "professional" careers, let's see how their medical training pays off when their relatives back home are getting shelled into oblivion by their age-old enemies. It's too bad that the mindset of immigrants since after WWII is that the US exists to serve them rather than the other way around. BTW, as a senior executive in a company today, I am proud to say that I possess the intellect to have served the military needs of our country as well as the business sector which funds the worlds needs.

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