Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Fast Forward

Shabbat Services At Army Base Still On Hold As Chaplain Probe Drags On

Updated 3:50 p.m.

After the controversial firing of the longtime volunteer leader of Jewish religious services at a major U.S. Army base in February, top brass promised to name a new leader in time for Shavuot.

But the holiday came and went without any progress, likely forcing the local Jewish community to continue going without the opportunity to celebrate on the base.

Now, a spokesman for Ft. Campbell conceded there will be no new leader installed — and apparently no further Shabbat services held — until a probe into the firing of the lay leader is completed.

“Once the investigation is over, we will make an announcement,” Robert N. Jenkins, the spokesman, told the Forward. “We don’t want to say anything that might be taken out of context.”

He refused to say whether Shabbat services will be held in the meantime or put a timeframe on the probe.

Mikey Weinstein, a lawyer who is representing fired lay leader Jeanette Mize, told the Forward that he found Jenkins’ answer “disgusting.”

Weinstein, the president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said that not clarifying the situation was harmful to Jews on the sprawling base, which is the Army’s second-largest.

“The fact that they won’t even announce whether there will be services on Friday shows the damage done to the Jewish community,” he said.

The base’s website lists service options for Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and even pagans. Jewish worship is listed as “temporarily suspended.”

The base held Shabbat services for the first time in weeks last weekend using a visiting rabbi from Los Angeles.

The base’s top chaplains, Col. John Murphy and Lt. Col. Sean Wead, are being examined by an outside Army investigator to determine whether firing Mize, and then not holding weekly Jewish services for want of an immediate replacement, violated Army regulations. Mize has said that the chaplains and their subordinates, whom she characterized as “fundamentalist Christian chaplains,” created a “toxic environment” towards her in an effort to remove Jewish worship from the base. According to her complaint, supervising chaplains tried to force her to hold a Passover Seder on a date that wasn’t Passover, and refused to attend her services because doing so would violate their own religion.

“This is classic old-school anti-Semitism,” Weinstein said. “If people can’t understand that, you don’t understand anti-Semitism.”

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected]

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.