Saturday, April 4, 2015

Another First

There are many things I never thought I would do as a rabbi out in Okinawa.

We had the first bris on Okinawa!

Rex Danger (Shimon David) was circumcised and named on Thursday morning, 24 hours before Pesach.

We flew down the Jewish lay leader from Yokosuka, the only Jewish doctor available to perform the Brit.

Surrounded by loving parents and a loving community, we blessed him and welcomed him home.

Mazal Tov, Maddie and Jason!

The 1%

I went back to the States for the first time since I left in 2013.

It was awkward and it took me time to adjust.

While there, I saw something that caught my eye, reminding me that the civilians in the US have not forgotten about us.

It was small and a little silly but it meant something to me.

(I know - it's the Army but they didn't have any Sailors or Marines on the shelf.)

Purim 2015

I love when the Je
I especially love when Jewish tradition blends with the local culture.

This year, we did not use graggers to drown out Haman's name, we used Eisa drums and locally made noise makers.

Eisa Sata? (are you ready?)
Ah iyah! (we are ready!)

USO Service Salute to Volunteers

I was honored again this year to give the invocation for the Service Salute.

07 FEB 15
Let us pray.

Source of all blessings,

We thank you for this opportunity to publicly celebrate service members who went above and beyond in support their fellow comrades and communities.

You put within us the capacity to accomplish great things.
These honorees took that to heart - turning what could have been insignificant moments into sacred ones.

They fed and sheltered other service members, cared for them simply by being present, whether it was making pancakes, or welcoming new Marines and Sailors to the island.

And just as You support us, so too are we grateful for the unending devotion of the USO staff. Their leadership, time and guidance for service members are nothing short of miraculous. They are the cornerstones upon which successful volunteers stand.

God, we ask That you Watch over the USO, its staff, Volunteers, Supporters and local Partners. We pray That you Give Them Enduring strength to Continue to travel down the sacred path of Making every Moment service members Are away from home, count.

May we continue to be blessed with Your continued presence and love through those who serve You.


Robin Miller, USO Director and myself after the ceremony.


Developing Professionally

I started a CPE (clinicl pastoral education) program while
We, as a cohort of 4 plus our instructor, have been learning to take off our armor in order to walk with someone through their own personal hell. 

Before we can walk with someone, we must evaluate our own journeys.

The cohort, missing a few and with a few other fresh faces, spent 3 days at Iejima (formerly Ie Shima) island, studying the ASSIST program. ASSIST is designed to educate and train junior Marines in the case where a fellow Marine tells them that they want to commit suicide. Rather than just run to the chaplain or run it up their chain of command, they learn how to actively listen and not panic.

The same applies to chaplains.

In order to help process what we were studying and what we were sharing, the group of us decided to hike up Mount Gushku.

And as a bonus, we got to see the cherry blossoms blooming.

Kim Reid and I at the top of Mount Gushku.

Saying Goodbye to H&S BN

It is a part of military life that people are constantly entering and leaving our lives. We become close, build strong ties, only for one of us to leave.

Sometimes, we simply change jobs but remain on the same base.

I have had the honor and privilege of serving as the H & S BN chaplain for about 15 months to 1600 Marines, Sailors, their families and the civilians who work alongside me on 9 installations.

This Friday, I change jobs from BN to Building 1, home of the Command Chaplain and his staff.

This too is not permanent. Just as you have seen in the movies, it is below my pay grade to know where I will be assigned after Building 1.

Semper Gumby - always flexible.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Never Have I Ever - Harlem Globe Trotters

Once in a while, someone famous visits Okinawa.
This time, it was the Harlem Globe Trotters and I got to give the invocation for the game.

I wanted to make it funny and serious.

 Let us pray.
Heavenly father,

I committed to the Marine Corps, knowing it would take me to the ends of the earth. And I knew, because of my dedication, that the Marine Corps would take care of me.

Thank you, God, for sending the Harlem Globe Trotters to Okinawa. During this season away from loved ones, You knew I needed a unique pick-me-up.

Lord, bless the Harlem Globe Trotters with healthy knees, backs and wrists for they have a long journey ahead of them; visiting Marines, Sailors, Airmen and Soliders around the Pacific.

Please get them to each destination safely as their job of lifting the spirits of warriors everywhere is a sacred and important task.

As You have taught us through Your holy texts, “there is a season for dancing and laughing, playing cheering,” and may we see all of those here tonight.


I don't ever remember there being a female Globetrotter.