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Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Rabbi named director of Jewish Chaplains Council

By Diane Haag, The Shreveport Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), March 31, 2006

Instead of retirement, Rabbi Harold Robinson of B'nai Zion Congregation will receive a national appointment as director of the Jewish Chaplains Council.

He had already planned to retire from his post at the Shreveport congregation in June, but the Chaplains Council, which is under the Jewish Community Center Association, saw Robinson as the perfect choice to lead the organization.

"He's uniquely qualified," said Alan Mann, executive vice presdient of the JCC Association. "Given his high level of military experience, his years as a pulpit rabbi and years as a chaplain and his openness to all denominations of Judaism, we think he's going to do a spectacular job."

The rabbi, also a rear admiral, serves as the Navy's deputy chief of chaplains for reserve matters and as director of religious ministry in the Marine Corps Reserve.

Robinson had worked with the association some during his chaplain duties and even helped write the job description for the position.

"Things have gotten so intense for the folks in the armed forces in the last four years we in the Jewish community have wanted to significantly increase our support for all military and especially for our folks," he said.

The new position will include supporting and training the 90 Jewish military chaplains and leaders of the 100 Jewish communities at installations without a chaplain. He will also be the liaison between chaplains and the Department of Defense on Jewish affairs.

Robinson would like to provide more cultural activities for soldiers, such as concerts and to help connect families with local Jewish communities.

The organization actually approached Robinson twice and he said no, planning to retire to his home on Cape Cod. When they asked a third time, he said yes.

"It's humbling to have this kind of trust placed in you," he said. "It means you have to try to live up to it."

Robinson, a native of Boston, has served at B'nai Zion for eight years. He was ordained in 1974 and made a Navy chaplain in 1975.

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