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Jerry Silverman

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The Jewish Chaplains Memorial

Posted: 05/29/11 09:25 AM ET

With 900 soldiers and civilian workers aboard, the U.S.A.T. Dorchester was sunk by German torpedoes off the coast of Greenland on Feb. 3, 1943. Among those on board were four military chaplains -- two Protestants, a Catholic and a Jew.

All four chaplains died together after giving their lifejackets to save others on board. Survivors of the attack witnessed the four praying together as the ship went down in the icy waters. Yet the names of only three of these fallen heroes are presently memorialized on Chaplain's Hill at Arlington National Cemetery. In fact, none of the 13 Jewish chaplains who have died in service to our country are listed on the three chaplains' monuments in our nation's most sacred resting place.

For 150 years now, Jewish chaplains have been serving alongside chaplains of other faiths to provide pastoral support to America's servicemen, servicewomen, and their families. Catholic chaplains guide Jewish soldiers and Jewish chaplains guide Protestant sailors. They all work together to support the spiritual needs of our military. Yet they are not all together on Chaplain's Hill.

The Jewish Federations have been working with the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council and many dedicated community partners to correct this omission, erect a Jewish chaplains monument alongside the Protestant and Catholic monuments at Chaplains Hill, and reunite the memory Rabbi Alexander Goode with his fellow chaplains who died on board the Dorchester in 1943.

Individuals and veterans' organizations quickly raised the funds to erect a proper memorial on Chaplain's Hill. But we could not lay one stone until Congress passed a measure to authorize the placement of the memorial.

As we continue to celebrate Jewish American Heritage Month and look forward to Memorial Day weekend, I'm thrilled to announce that both the House of Representatives and Senate have voted unanimously approve the new monument. Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senator Chuck Schumer deserve our gratitude for introducing the resolutions, and Chairman Jeff Miller and Chairman Patty Murray have displayed great leadership in advancing the memorial through the legislative process.

After the many hurdles we have cleared together, there is only one more to go before visitors to Arlington will be able to pay their respects to our fallen Jewish chaplains alongside chaplains of other faiths. And we are confident the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts will give the monument a green light when they meet in June.

Our men and women serving bravely overseas are supported by military chaplains of all faiths who risk their lives to provide spiritual guidance and support to our soldiers.

As such, we must honor all of them, regardless of which faith they practice, and I look forward to personally doing so when the Jewish Chaplains Memorial is unveiled on a sacred hill in Arlington later this fall.

The 13 fallen Jewish chaplains to be honored are:

1. Nachman S. Arnoff, 47, Chicago -- died May 9, 1946
2. Meir Engel, 50, Philadelphia -- died Dec. 16, 1964
3. Frank Goldenberg, 27, Utica, N.Y. -- died May 22, 1946
4. Alexander D. Goode, 31, York, Pa. -- died Feb. 3, 1943
5. Henry Goody, 27, Greensburg, Pa. - died Oct. 19, 1943
6. Samuel Dodkin Hurwitz, 42, Phoenix, Ariz. - died Dec. 9, 1943
7. Herman L. Rosen, 42, Brooklyn, N.Y. - died June 18, 1943
8. Samuel Rosen, 48, San Antonio, Texas - died May 13, 1955
9. Solomon Rosen, 24, Brooklyn, N.Y. - died Nov. 2, 1948
10. Morton Harold Singer, 32, Great Neck, N.Y. - died Dec. 17, 1968
11. David M. Sobel, 28, Simsbury, Conn. - died March 7, 1974
12. Irving Tepper, 42, Elgin, Ill. - died Aug. 13, 1944
13. Louis Werfel, 27, Birmingham, Ala. - died Dec. 24, 1944