Monday, October 30, 2017

Veteran's Day Mishebeyrach (Blessing)

To the one who blessed our ancestors,
Abraham and Sarah,
Isaac and Rebecca,
Jacob, Leah and Rachel,

Bless ____________________ (Name, rank, branch of the military) and all
of those who have served this country in the armed forces.

Bless them for their unselfish service as they defended freedom around
the world,
Stood up for those who could not do so themselves,
Protected the innocent and defenseless,
Through combative or non-combative posts,
By air, by land and by sea.

Bless them with peace,
healing the wounds that we can see and those we cannot.

Bring them comfort, knowing their actions
brought peace and security to those who had none.

May they see the pride that fills our eyes when we look at them as
veterans, the honor we have of having their presence with us today as
symbols of the embodiment of what it means to be an American Jew.

May God guard them, bless them and keep them in peace, just as they
brought peace to others.

And let us say, Amen.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

18 month project

I have completed a project I started as soon as I got here.
I spelled out CAMP LEJEUNE finding items that look like the letter.

It only took me 18 months.

 C (Admiral Lejeune's monument on base)

A (Sign outside Intel bn) 

 M (dip bars outside Motor -T)

P (War memorial) 

 L (Radio Bn's Paraloft)

E (Sturgeon City Park) 

J (War Memorial) 

E (Jacksonville Commons Park)

U (creek on base) 

N (pedestrian bridge over Lejeune Blvd) 

E (the old railroad station on E. Railroad Rd)

New RP

I think it is wonderful when a new RP steps on deck and gets his end of tour award from his previous command straight off.

It says a great deal about that Sailor.

Keep it up, RP3!

Global War on Terrorism Memorial

I was invited to give the benediction to the GWOT memorial dedication at Ft. Benning, GA.

Though getting to meet the MCPON and SgtMaj of the Marine Corps was probably a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, getting coined by a Gold Star mother was powerful. And that was just at breakfast.

The memorial lists the names of every service member who has died since 9/11.

 There are blank spaces.

Below is my benediction and pictures.

Mekor Chayim, Source of Life,

My soul hurts.

It was ripped open 16 years ago, and yet, sometimes, it feels like yesterday.
The pain of my loss weighs me down and it feels hard to breath.

I feel alone – like no one can understand me except you, God.
 -- But not here –

Here I am amongst friends, bonded by our losses and tears.
Here I find family, Gold – Red – White and Blue.

Here, we honor our fallen family, who died protecting the defenseless and bringing hope to places that had none.

May this monument serve as balm for our souls, helping us heal together -  - as family and not as strangers.
And may it stand as a witness that the sacrifices of our family will not be forgotten – but honored and cherished - - not just today -  - but every day.

Avinu SheBashamyim, Heavenly Father,
If we could be so bold, we pray that you watch over Your children, Your precious service members and civilian counterparts and those who will follow in their footsteps of continuing the mission of bringing us one step closer to peace in the world.

For you have promised us through your prophet Isaiah,
כִּי־תַעֲבֹר בַּמַּיִם אִתְּךָ־אָנִי וּבַנְּהָרוֹת לֹא יִשְׁטְפוּךָ כִּי־תֵלֵךְ בְּמוֹ־אֵשׁ לֹא תִכָּוֶה וְלֶהָבָה לֹא תִבְעַר־בָּךְ

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; nor shall the flame kindle upon you.” (43:2).

May we see the day when there is no need to add names to this memorial or any memorial.
 And may that day come soon.

 Side view of the memorial (statues of two fire teams behind the marble slabs with all the names listed, behind a piece of the scaffolding from Ground Zero)

Veterans holding a gauntlet of flags for the Gold Star families to walk through. (In case you are not sure, this is a sign of respect.) 

 MCPON and I

 SgtMaj Green and I

Post-event wide-angle picture of the memorial

Weddings and Farewells

In the transient life that is the military, people come and go in our lives.

It was my honor to marry Hailey and Josh.
I am sad that so soon afterwards, they moved across the country.

But it was not "farewell." Rather it was a "see you later."

Sukkah building

The next morning after we ended Yom Kippur, we put up the Sukkah.

It was so nice to not have to worry about typhoons coming in.

Just a little rain.

Shown up by a 4 year old

So, the High Holidays were a busy time of year - as usual.

However, this year was wonderful - surrounded by friends and new members.

For the first time, I had to learn to blow the Shofar (ram's horn).
I thought I had gotten it down. I had practices for two weeks prior to Rosh HaShannah.

Then, at the end of of Yom Kippur, I am about to the Tekiyah Gedolah (final, single long blast) and I encouraged the kids to take a Shofar and join in with me.

Little did I know, that JAYCE - just 4 years old - would pick up the small Shofar and blow everyone away!!!!!!

He was AMAZING!!!!