Chaplain fufills lifelong calling
September 22, 2009
- Chaplain Feature story on MNC-I Rabbi
- Chaplain Fufills Lifelong Calling
Shawls adorned with braided tassels covered the shoulders of the male Servicemembers while Maj. Avroham Horovitz sang out a prayer to welcome the Sabbath.
"I was raised to become a rabbi so I could help people spiritually and become a better person as well as a more spiritual one," Horovitz, Jewish rabbi, Multi-National Corps-Iraq said.
Horovitz was born in England as the second of nine children where he attended an all male Jewish school. He grew up surrounded by Jewish religion and its traditions. As the second child he tried to set a good example for his siblings. He eventually became the second Jewish ordained rabbi out of his five brothers who also became rabbis.
Horovitz stood behind a podium with a vivid blue Jewish flag embroidered with the Star of David and the Torah. Holding the cloth in place were a jumbo can of black olives and a small can of tuna. Fish and black olives are just two of the many parts of Judaism with symbolic meaning.
Olives and olive branches are a symbol of peace. In the Bible a dove brings an olive branch to Noah after the flood symbolizing the end of the flood and the return of life to the earth.
"The outside influences the inside," Horovitz said. "Whatever we do on the outside will influence what we do and make us think about God on the inside. Physical rituals and symbolism make us think about him and influence the way we think."
The Sabbath begins at the Friday evening sunset and continues on until the end of the next day's sunset, about 25 hours later. In Gen. 2:2 it states that God rested on the seventh day and therefore Jews must not work and abstain from all activities of creation to make the day holy.
Since nothing should be created during the Sabbath Jews abstain from many activities. All the food for the Sabbath must be prepared prior to the beginning of the Sabbath. Lights are not to be turned on during the Sabbath, rather they can be turned on prior to and kept on.
"It's the only thing every week that splits things up," Capt. Joshua Kessler, brigade trial counsel, 8th Military Police Brigade, Camp Liberty, said. "It works as a way to divide the week up and mark the coming of a new week. That's exactly what the Sabbath is meant to do. I experience that more so here than anywhere because we really don't get weekends here so, those few hours really are my weekend."
Horovitz enjoys being able to help Servicemembers with whatever their problems are, whether they are spiritual or a simple fear of heights.
"At Fort Benning I was asked to talk at the morning formation for the Airborne School every other day," Horovitz said. "One day a Soldier came up to me and told me he was really afraid to jump. I gave him a book of Psalms and said, 'here jump with this.' He did and of course he was fine. Well, a Soldier came up to me in the dinning facility while I was in Afghanistan and he said, 'remember me'' I had no clue who he was. He pulled out a book of Psalms from his pocket and said, 'you gave this to me.' He told me he takes it with him on all his missions. It was great to see that God was still with him."
After tidying up after the service two candles meant to remind followers to remember and keep the Sabbath were put out and the small group of 14 set off to have dinner with one another and celebrate the Sabbath.