Home State Defense Force Chaplaincy Serving as a Chaplain in the SDF
Serving as a Chaplain in the SDF
Serving as a Chaplain in the S.D.F. PDF Print E-mail
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Upon being sworn into the SDF and commissioned as a Jewish Chaplain, you will be assigned to a part of the organization that is Headquarters, Brigade, Battalion or Chaplaincy. Your function will be to minister to the SDF troops regardless of their personal religious belief. A Jewish Chaplain should be prepared to:

  • Conduct services for all Jewish military personnel assigned to his unit.
  • Facilitate denominational and area religious services.
  • Provide pastoral care and counseling for all soldiers and their families, if requested; such support is not based on religious dogma, it is driven by the heart.
  • Perform hospital and home visits, as needed, for both the soldiers and their families.
  • Serve as an advisor to the Commander on religious issues, morale and welfare, moral and ethical issues, and indigenous religions.
  • Perform memorial services for all soldiers.
  • Provide religious instruction for Jewish soldiers, each according to his or her need.

In addition to conducting services, you might be asked to provide personal counseling, lead suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress group seminars, and take the lead as cultural educator. There may be cases where even non-religious soldiers may seek you out for counseling and to serve as their advocate in dealing with superiors.

Depending on the need of your state’s non-deployed NG and how well you function as a Chaplain within the SDF, the SDF Command Chaplain and the NG Command Chaplain may recommend that you be assigned through Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) to minister to a NG unit that lacks a Chaplain. Although the ministering aspect is essentially the same, the major difference between a NG Chaplain and a SDF Chaplain on TAD to the NG is that the NG Chaplain can and has been deployed out of the country while the SDF Chaplain cannot be so deployed.

As service in an SDF permits the Chaplain to specifically volunteer for a humanitarian mission, the Jewish Chaplain is able to refuse a mission if it conflicts with a holy day. However, this request for release from duty needs to be coordinated with the unit’s Command Chaplain, which is normally approved.

Once commissioned as a SDF chaplain, you should obtain copies from your Personnel Officer (designated as either S-1 or G-1) of the waiver you received to retain your facial hair, your commissioning order and your assignment order. It is always a good idea to maintain your own copy of the personnel (“201") file containing any document with your name.

In the military, each Chaplain is assigned a Chaplain's Assistant whose responsibilities are administrative and logistic in nature. The SDF Chaplain may also find that an Assistant would be desirable. If you have or know of an individual, perhaps a Rabbinical student or a member of your Chabad or Kollel it would be a good move to recruit that individual.
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