Sep 28, 2014

President Lincoln and the Jewish chaplains

We read a lot of stories from Jewish chaplains in the US army and how they served, and what they did, the Jewish soldiers they encountered, in all sorts of parts of the world...

I was not previously aware of this, but I just discovered, according to a book I am reading, that until Abraham Lincoln came along, only Christians could be chaplains in the US army.

Abraham Lincoln is known for bringing about an end to slavery and the emancipation of blacks, now known as African Americans. In reality, Lincoln was about emancipation of everybody from racial discrimination.

Upon encouragement from a Rabbi Arnold Fischel, President Abraham Lincoln was made aware of the law allowing only Christians as chaplains in the US Army. When Lincoln found out about this law, he moved immediately to have it changed, and was successful. This process began in 1861 ad was completed in 1862.

Due to Lincoln's involvement, and Rabbi Fischel's raising of the issue, the law was changed and now Jewish servicemen are able to get the religious leadership and direction they were not able to at one time. And it was not just Jews, but anybody besides Christians were in the same situation, until Lincoln.

And since then, we have Jewish chaplains who provide a tremendous service, to Jewish servicemen, but also to the US Army, as stories tell of the heroism and their dedication to the troops.

I was not aware of this until now, so I thought I'd share this piece of history.


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1 comment:

  1. Another famous Lincoln interaction with Jews and the army during the Civil War is General Order No. 11 (1862). See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Order_No._11_(1862)

    ReplyDelete

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