The three existing monuments on Chaplains Hill (Source:

Here’s an interesting story, not exactly straight out of Brooklyn, but relevant to our area nonetheless. Earlier in the week, the House of Representatives passed legislation sponsored by Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senator Charles Schumer, which will establish a memorial at Arlington National Cemetery’s Chaplains Hill honoring the supreme sacrifices made by Jewish chaplains while serving in the US Armed Forces.

A seven-foot-tall granite monument, when complete, will list the names on a bronze plaque of the 13 chaplains who died in the line of duty during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, above the Jewish Proverb: “I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.”

Funds necessary to construct the monument have already been raised by the Jewish Chaplains Council, so no expense will be incurred to taxpayers. Chaplains Hill currently only contains memorials to honor Protestant and Catholic chaplains who died serving their country.

One cannot — or at least I cannot — help but draw opposing parallels between this wholly sound piece of legislation, and the contempt Jewish leaders and area residents felt in 2009 for the more than five million “homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the disabled, political prisoners and Roma and Sinti Gypsies” who were executed during the Holocaust, and whose existence raised the question of whether their lives should be commemorated at Holocaust Memorial Park alongside granite markers commemorating Jews.

In 2009, Sheepshead Bites provided extensive coverage on the public outcry against the groups Hitler and his henchmen deemed inferior when Dov Hikind led a crusade in favor of only Jews being memorialized in the cemetery-style park, announcing during a press conference, “These people are not in the same category as Jewish people with regards to the Holocaust… It is so vastly different. You cannot compare political prisoners with Jewish victims.”

The memorial, according to Community Board President Theresa Scavo, “means you memorialize anyone who died in the Holocaust,” a sentiment echoed by Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz, who stated at the time of the uproar that “Excluding Holocaust victims who were not Jewish would be sending a message that is 180 degrees opposite of what we need to communicate.”

In stark contrast to the Holocaust Memorial Park fiasco, with not a single dissenting voice of opposition, 380 members of the House voted to pass the legislation honoring the 13 Jewish chaplains who gave their lives for their country. Schumer similarly introduced corresponding legislation to the Senate, which is expected to pass this week.

Not to be preachy about hate and acceptance, but there are definite lessons to be learned here.

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  • Barkingspider7

    Why just Jewish chaplains?  Why not chaplains in general?  There are chaplains in many religions.

  • Alrosen2

    The article states that there are memorials already for Protestant and Catholic Chaplains.

  • ES

    Perhaps — and this would be a good thing — chaplains of other faiths serving in the US Armed Forces did not perish while serving their country. I am unsure, but it’s just a guess.

  • Lisanne!

    They did, and have been already recognized. As have chaplains in general.

  • david

    being jewish,decorated viet nam veteran,also totally disabled with ptsd….i served in the 4th infantry division…for 21 out of 24 month’s in the army….when i asked my jewish chaplain why he never came out to the field…..his answer was there there were not enough jew’s to make the trip…..enough said

  • Barkingspider7

    Memorials like this should be all around.  There are other religions beside Jewish, Catholic, Protestant.  All clergy men – mormon, muslim, hindu’s and all other faiths are chaplains.  All should be celebrated. 

  • EndofDaze

    A number of landsmen I know don’t like it, when some of our leaders who happen to be landsmen too, deal in this type of particularism. For example, some of the tribe forget, that besides the over six hundred thousand American Jewish landsmen, like my five uncles, who took up arms during WWII, were millions more of their Christian brothers , who being loyal Americans too, fought the Nazis and Japs. They also realized that the Axis were just not simply bad for the Jews, but bad for all freedom loving peoples. The further we get away from the memory of that war, it is interesting how many people think that war was fought to save the Jews, which if that was the case, was hardly successful, and in effect besides the millions of Jews who were slaughtered in the concentration camps, were many Christians. Of course, the Jews were singled out for the only perceived crime of happening to be Jewish, while the others were mostly either people of conscience or lovers of liberty, fair play, and democracy. Another interesting thing is how our local politicos fall all over themselves, when either something that looks like a swatstika, or is a swatstika is sprawled on one of our buildings, when all grafitti vandalism is repugnant to most of us, and should all be removed! Which by the way, I am seeing more of lately! Our esteemed Mr. Schumer and Mr. Weiner would do better in having a plaque that honors all of the Chaplins, just like the one that honors the four Chaplins of the Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, and Pentacoastal faiths that graces one of our Washington D.C. buildings, who gave up their lives together, when their ship went down during WWII. G-d Bless America!

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