The local champion behind a Jewish military chaplains memorial at Arlington National Cemetery unveiled a rendering of the memorial at an Oct. 9 ceremony in Scotch Plains.
Sol Moglen, a Caldwell resident, displayed the new bronze plaque and showed a photograph of how it will look once it joins three existing memorials to Protestant and Catholic chaplains killed in combat on Chaplains Hill.
Moglen campaigned for years for a memorial devoted to the 14 Jewish chaplains who have been killed while serving in the military. It will become a reality on Oct. 24.
The ceremony at the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains was cosponsored by the JCC of Central New Jersey; the Community Relations Committee of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ and the Jewish Federation of Central NJ; the Jewish War Veterans; the Joint Chaplaincy Committee of MetroWest, Central, and Monmouth County NJ; and the National Association of Jewish Chaplains.
Moglen campaigned for the memorial with the help of the Jewish Welfare Board Chaplains Council and Jewish Federations of North America. The NJ State Association of Jewish Federations — which helped garner support for the project from the state’s congressional delegation — organized the Scotch Plains event, which Moglen chaired.
About 70 people were in attendance, including Jewish war chaplains and military veterans, political leaders, clergymen, and community members.
Among them was Rabbi Harold Robinson, a retired admiral who served as a U.S. Navy chaplain for nearly 20 years, and now heads the Jewish Chaplains Council; U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ Dist. 7); State Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R-Dist. 21); and Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Dist. 21).
Moglen, who has led other efforts to honor those who have died in service to the country, initiated the campaign to erect the memorial together with Ken Kraetzer, a bank consultant from New Rochelle, NY, who also hosts a radio show on veterans and military matters.
Robinson recalled how Kraetzer, a devout Roman Catholic, spotted the glaring gap on Chaplains Hill, in “a blinding flash of the obvious,” while researching a book about veterans.
Robinson pointed out that the U.S. military chaplaincy is unique in the world in the way clergy of all faiths work together while conducting services only within their own traditions, and care for the “emotional, spiritual, and morale needs” of every serviceman and -woman.
He said Kraetzer’s awareness of the Jewish chaplains’ contributions and his “tenacity and unwillingness to take ‘no’ for an answer brought us to this point,” said Robinson.
The Jewish chaplains whose names are inscribed on the memorial are Rabbi Alexander Goode, Rabbi Herman L. Rosen, Rabbi Henry Goody, Rabbi Samuel D. Hurwitz, Rabbi Louis Werfel, Rabbi Irving Tepper, Rabbi Nachman S. Arnoff, Rabbi Frank Goldenberg (World War II); Rabbi Solomon Rosen, Rabbi Samuel Rosen (Cold War era); Rabbi Meir Engel, Rabbi Joseph Hoenig, Rabbi Morton H. Singer, and Rabbi David Sobel (Vietnam/Southeast Asia).
For details about the dedication at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, Oct. 24, visit www.jcca.org/jwb.