On February 14, Scott Air Force Base in Illinois will be holding its annual National Prayer Breakfast. The guest speaker this year will be Esther Jungreis, a Holocaust survivor who founded the international Hineni movement in 1973 to discourage intermarriage and Jewish participation in cults, according to the Jewish Women's Archive.
In her speeches and writings, Jungreis throws around the name Hitler and the word Holocaust more than Glenn Beck -- not in the expected context of her being a Holocaust survivor talking about the actual Hitler and actual Holocaust, but to make comparisons to things that are not the actual Hitler or the actual Holocaust. One of the most controversial examples of this is her equating interracial marriage between Jews and non-Jews to the Holocaust, with statements like this:
"It's a question of understanding that Hitler's aim was to annihilate our people, and intermarriage is also a form of annihilation, which is sometimes even more deadly than the Holocaust."
That statement was made when Jungreis was in Canada in 2007 to deliver a lecture titled "The Holocaust and the Final Solution to Intermarriage."
Jungreis even includes marriages in which the non-Jewish partner converts to Judaism in what she calls a "spiritual Holocaust," saying:
"Conversions are usually a sham, you know, in name only. It's easy come, easy go, and there's no commitment behind it. It doesn't mean anything. It's just to accommodate someone in the family."
After making these statements, Jungreis was criticized by two prominent Orthodox rabbis in Ottawa, one for her use of the word Holocaust to refer to anything other than the actual Holocaust, and another for her claim that conversions to Judaism are a sham.
Jungreis is a very prolific speaker, appearing in venues ranging from Madison Square Garden's Felt Forum in 1973 to the Republican National Convention in 2004. She also speaks regularly at military bases, which, on February 14, will include Scott Air Force Base.
In addition to hosting such a controversial speaker for this Prayer Breakfast, the commander of the 375th Air Mobility Wing, Col. Michael Hornitschek, has blatantly ignored the September 2011 Memorandum on Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion from Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, which said that all invitations for religious events must come from the Chaplain Corps and not the command structure.
The invitation the Prayer Breakfast begins:
The Commander, 375th Air Mobility Wing
cordially invites you to attend the
National Prayer Breakfast
featuring guest speaker
Mrs. Esther Jungreis
Now, we here at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) have received many complaints that Gen. Schwartz's memorandum is being ignored, and that nothing is being done to enforce it. But maybe this particular violation at Scott Air Force Base will get the general's attention. Why? Well, not just because Col. Hornitschek is disregarding his religious neutrality edict, but because rumor has it that Gen. Scwartz, a Jew, married a non-Jew, which would make he himself part of Esther Jungreis's so-called Holocaust!