Memorial Day Jewish services to feature new military siddur

A new camouflage-covered prayer book (siddur) for Jewish soldiers and sailors will be featured during services in three New York City Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform synagogues this Memorial Day weekend. 

"Siddur: Prayer Book for Jewish Personnel in the Armed Forces of the United States” book cover. Credit: JCC Association.

Produced by the Jewish Welfare Board (JWB) Jewish Chaplains Council specifically for the military, the siddur that the trio of shuls will use for those services made its debut at the Jewish Community Centers of North America (JCC Association) biennial in late March. Distribution of the books to U.S. military bases worldwide began in April.

JWB’s last military prayer book was issued after World War II. Although it was updated in the 1980s, many chaplains found the old military prayer book lacking. To the Orthodox, there were too many omissions; gender-specific language, meanwhile, bothered more liberal chaplains.

“It was a small pocket edition, but it really wasn’t adequate to hold a full range of worship services,” Rabbi Harold Robinson, director of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council and a rear admiral in the Navy Reserves, told “It had a great utility for the soldiers, but the chaplains found it inadequate and brought their own.”

Read our full story on the new military siddur here.

Posted on May 22, 2014 .