A major and historic event will take place at 10 AM, Friday, December 9, 2011 when Rabbi Menachem M. Stern, a bearded Chabad Lubavitch Rabbi will be sworn into the U.S. Army as a Chaplain, First Lieutenant. This event comes after over two years of effort by Rabbi Sanford L. Dresin, Chaplain (COL) USA Ret, Director of Military Programs for The Aleph Institute and Mr. Nathan Lewin, nationally known Constitutional lawyer. The Army had refused to permit Rabbi Stern to enter the Chaplaincy even subsequent to a Chaplain Accession Board that had found him fully qualified to serve, arguing that his beard would violate uniform and appearance regulations, this despite the fact that a large number of special forces troops are wearing beards for operational reasons. Jews who identify with Chabad view a beard as a requirement of Jewish law (Halacha) It was necessary for Lewin to file suit in Federal Court ( Menachem Mendel Stern vs. The Secretary of the Army) when it became clear that the Army would not grant Stern an exception to policy. Over thirty years ago a one-time exception for a beard had been granted to a Chabad Rabbi, Jacob Goldstein by then Army Chief of Staff, General Bernard Rogers. Rabbi Goldstein continues to serve with distinction in the Army Reserve as a chaplain in the rank of colonel. The Army recently settled with Rabbi Stern out of court agreeing to commission him and grant him a waiver for his beard.
The Aleph Institute which is based in Surfside, FL is recognized by the Department of Defense as a military chaplain Ecclesiastical Endorsing Agency, giving it authority to recruit, vet and endorse rabbis for the military chaplaincy. Given the current shortage of rabbis in the Armed Forces, it is hoped that the precedent set by Rabbi Stern will encourage and permit other Chabad Rabbis to enter the military chaplaincy.
The ceremony will take place on Friday at 10 AM December 9,2011at The Shul, 9540 Collins Ave., Surfside (Miami) FL. 33154
For further information please contact Rabbi Sanford L. Dresin email: firstname.lastname@example.org cell 302 494-7080