The Philadelphia Jewish Voice

September 2006

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• Arithmetic of Pain 
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• Major Ro'i Klein 
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Forgotten Liberators
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In Their Own Words
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Networking Central
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Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson
Rear Admiral Harold L. Robinson. 

Change of Command at Jewish Welfare Board
Rabbi Harold Robinson takes the helm..

-- Lt. Jason Rubin

Rabbi Harold Robinson, a Rear Admiral who serves as the Navy's Deputy Chief of Chaplains for Reserve Matters, as Director of Religious Ministries in the Marine Corps Reserve, and as a congregational rabbi in Shreveport, Louisiana, will be the next director of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. Rabbi Robinson will join the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council full time in September. 

With more than thirty years in the rabbinate and in the military, Rabbi Robinson brings the right skills and temperament to the task. "Caring about these [service members and families], working with them and for them has been part of my lifelong passion. I hope I can bridge the gap between civilian and military life at a time when people again understand why this matters," he said.

Admiral Robinson wants to pay much more attention to the needs of military families left behind on bases --- men, women, and children who feel isolated and abandoned when their loved ones are deployed. ?We intend to tap into the existing resources of the Jewish community to connect with military personnel and their families," declared Rabbi Robinson. As an example, he said, JCCs throughout the U.S. could invite families located on nearby bases to participate in communal holiday observances. ?We want to say to them, ?We are your Jewish home, your Jewish connection, and, at the same time, we're sending food for the holiday to your husband or wife overseas,"? he explained. 

Admiral Robinson replaces Rabbi David Lapp, who announced his retirement last February after 25 years.

Lapp's proudest service achievement, he said, is his transdenominational prayer book, first produced for the U.S. Army in 1982. Before then, "there was a siddur that the armed forces produced, but it had sections for Reform, Conservative and Orthodox," he said. Lapp collaborated with rabbis from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Jewish Theological Seminary and Yeshiva University, on it.

During Lapp's stint as a chaplain in Germany, he organized a Jewish conference held in Berchtesgaden, Hitler's mountain retreat. The Army converted one of the buildings into the Gen. Walker Hotel, where Lapp held a gathering for Torah study, attended by about 500 Jewish men and women. 

You can read more stories about Rabbi Lapp in a tribute to him in the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles

Lt. Jason Rubin is the found of Jews in Green, an online resource for Jewish service members.