Faith and Foxholes: Religion in the Military
Recommended for Friday Night
A presentation combining history and policy with anecdotes and personal experiences that provide a glimpse into the role of the chaplain and the challenges and opportunities facing personnel who want to be loyal to their faith at the same time they are loyal to their country.

Church and State issues, including the Constitutional guarantee of "free exercise of religion," have led to the current Department of Defense policy to support religious free exercise to the greatest extent possible--given the military situation.  On the other hand, the so-called "separation of Church and State" constantly raises questions about the limits of support the government or the military can provide--including the legitimacy of the Chaplain Corps itself.

This presentation is appreciated by congregants across the board: those with little knowledge of the military chaplaincy--or the military itself--or those with past military experience,  who are often fascinated by the sweeping changes in the military of today.  A number of factors, including the change to a volunteer military, Church-and-State decisions in both military and civilian courts, and the Department of Defense emphasis on Quality of Life (especially in today's largely "married military"), have had an impact on policies and decisions in every area of military life.
Faith and Force: Religion, War, and Peace
Swords and Plowshares: Jewish Views of War and Peace
Recommended for Saturday morning or lunch
This presentation combines Jewish sources--Bible, Talmud, and Codes--with personal experiences in combat settings from Vietnam -- to Beirut -- to Bosnia -- and beyond.

This talk provides a Jewish approach to decisions regarding responses to the threat of violence and evil in our world.  It looks at sources in the Jewish tradition that compel us to "seek peace and pursue it," in possible tension with those that command us "not to stand idly by the blood of our neighbor."

This presentation stresses the idea that a firm view of reality must give our decisions
foundation, but at the same time the Jewish dreams of peace must give those decisions--and our actions--direction.

This presentation contain a good deal of historic Jewish scholarship, but those ideas are tested against real-life experiences.  Understanding how ancient ideas withstand the test of battle helps us as we try to make decisions for the future based on--or at least touched by--Jewish values.
Dreams from Nightmares: The Jewish Way to Remember
Recommended for Saturday afternoon/evening or Sunday morning
This is a presentation filled with serious information, and yet also filled with warmth and humor, focusing on the real people in today's military.  It is a perfect talk for a Friday evening, laying the groundwork for the rest of the weekend.
Judaism stresses the command: "zachor" -- remember.  And yet Elie Wiesel, in many ways the Jewish poet of remembrance, returned from a trip to the former Yugoslavia with the impression that memory was too often the problem, not the solution:  too many times, people based their decisions--and staked their emotions--on memories of whose grandfather killed whose grandfather.  And so the cycle of hatred continues, paving the way for the cycle of violence it supports.

This tension between the power of memory for good and the danger of memory for evil establishes the framework for this presentation.  Like all sessions over the weekend, this talk
focuses on issues that are extremely serious, but manages to introduce a good deal of humor along the way.

This is a presentation that can help congregants understand the Jewish approach to memory: a challenge for the individual--and for a people.  It is a good ending for a weekend, because it deals with questions--and challenges--that face us all.
First Holocaust ceremony onboard U.S.Navy Ship: Crafted and coordinated by Rabbi Resnicoff, USS Puget Sound, Malaga, Spain, 1984.
This postcard--leading services in the Yokosuka, Japan, Jewish Chapel--was made available to Jewish personnel serving in the Western Pacific. The caption reassured parents that there were Jewish resources available to their sons and daughters in uniform--even as far away as Japan!  1976
Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff,
Captain, Chaplain Corps,
U.S. Navy, Retired

Click for Wikipedia Bio

Click for text and video
of President Reagan's reading
of Rabbi Resnicoff's report
of the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing
Special Alternative Lecture:
Interfaith Relations: From Diatribe to Dialogue -- and Beyond
A lecture on interfaith relations covering (1) challenges, (2) "rules" ("rules of engagement"), and (3) goals--based on four decades of interfaith experience.
  Consider coordinating this lecture as a special co-sponsored community event, involving other synagogues and churches, local interfaith councils, universities, JCCs, or your local Federation. 
An extraordinarily important topic for our times!