Okinawa

Reflections On Aleinu, From A Military Base on Okinawa

08/15/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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Long before I was a rabbi, during the Musaf services of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I wondered how it came to pass that the Aleinu prayer became such a liturgical centerpiece of what are arguably the most important prayer services of the entire Jewish calendar year.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik

From The Far East, Looking To Israel

08/07/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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As I write, I am about as far from my home and synagogue in Forest Hills as I can be, or at least as I am likely to get. I am sitting in the living room of my daughter Leora’s apartment on Marine Camp Foster, one of some fifteen American military bases on the tiny but strategically important island of Okinawa, Japan. She is married, as many of you know, to Rabbi/Lieutenant Yonatan (Yoni) Warren, a Navy chaplain who is currently posted to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) here in the Far East. A MEU is basically a Rapid Deployment Force that can move quickly to where the trouble is. There are a few of them stationed around the world in potentially volatile areas; this one covers the Far East. We are very, very proud of his service, and hers.

The proud Saba in Okinawa

From Okinawa To Afghanistan

08/23/2013
Jewish Week Correspondent
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Since being posted to a United States Marine battalion in Okinawa almost two years ago, my son-in-law, Rabbi Yonatan Warren, a lieutenant in the United States Navy Chaplaincy Corp, has worked hard–- along with my daughter Leora -– to build a community of meaning for the Jewish personnel in Okinawa and its surroundings, as well as for all those men and women who might need his counseling and services. 

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

Kabbalat Shabbat in Camp Foster: The Challenges of a Marine Chaplain

08/09/2012
Special To The Jewish Week

I would imagine that rest and relaxation are the two most important criteria of a really good summer vacation, especially when one’s job is stressful.  But if it is also true that expanding one’s horizons and learning about parts of the world that were completely unfamiliar are also important components, then my wife and I are enjoying one of our most successful summer vacations ever, here in Okinawa, Japan, and soon in Kyoto and Tokyo.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Goodbye, Queens; Hello, Okinawa!

08/01/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

In previous columns, I have mentioned the fact that my son-in-law, Lt. (jg) Yonatan Warren, is a Navy chaplain posted to Okinawa, Japan. Actually, he is a Navy chaplain posted to a Marine battalion in Okinawa, and he and my daughter Leora have been there since the fall.  

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

New Rabbis: The Agony and the Ecstasy

05/25/2012

My son-in-law Yoni Warren, a Navy chaplain in Okinawa, Japan posted to a Marine battalion, has spent the better part of the past week discovering just how difficult and painful a rabbi’s life can be, in uniform or out. A note to help understand this story… In the military, regardless of what corps you’re in as a chaplain, you minister to all military personnel regardless of faith, corps, or any other determinant.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik is spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center.

This Year In Jerusalem: A Very Special Passover

04/04/2012
Jewish Week Online Columnist

When I finished last year’s Seder with the words L’Shanah Haba’ah Bi’Yrushalayim Habnuyah- Next Year in a Rebuilt Jerusalem- I never allowed myself to imagine that I might actually be spending Passover, 5772 in anywhere other than Forest Hills.  Of course, were the Messiah to arrive, I would be ready to relocate, but absent that miraculous intervention in history, I didn’t see myself going anywhere for the holiday.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik is the spiritual leader of the Forest Hills Jewish Center in Queens.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone? A Look At The Military, Then And Now

10/28/2011
Jewish Week Online Columnist

Some years ago -- when my son-in-law, then in Rabbinical School, was graduating in Newport, Rhode Island from Officer Development School in the United States Navy as a newly minted Ensign -- I wrote a piece for this paper titled “The Sin of My Generation.”   While watching him parade proudly with his fellow graduates in his dress whites, sharply saluting his commanding officer, I was overwhelmed by a sense that I had failed the sailors and soldiers who had served during the Vietnam years by denying them the right to take pride in their service.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik
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