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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Young Families, Singles Flocking to Upper East Side; ‘The Memory Is In Their Taste Buds’: The Lure of Sephardic Food; Safra Synagogue Rabbi’s Growing Empire; Sephardic And Egalitarian at B’nai Jeshurun; Giving Voice to Sephardic Music.