By Paul Bello, Belvoir EagleAugust 5, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - It's a new community and all-new experience for Rabbi David Rose, who arrived at Fort Belvoir the middle of May to become the installation's new Jewish Civilian Chaplain.
A resident of Potomac, Md., Rose has been a rabbi for 27 years and has served at previous congregations in Potomac, as well as in Tampa, Fla., and Mercer Island, Wash.
When someone from his church in Maryland heard about the position at Belvoir, Rose was immediately relayed the information.
He had never worked on a military installation before - and he would be leaving a larger church for a much smaller one. It's for that reason that Rose said he gave the decision a great deal of thought. However, he decided the opportunity to work directly with Soldiers and their families was too good to pass up.
"It's a joy teaching and sharing Jewish wisdom with others. I just want to help the community as much as I can. In difficult times or joyous times," Rose said. "This is a very diverse community with your active duty, retirees and civilians. It's very rewarding and everyone has been very welcoming since I got here. I'm really looking forward to the road ahead."
According to Rose, every community has different experiences and Belvoir is no exception. Unlike his previous stops, he's getting used to having to share a chapel and other facilities on the installation. He's also getting familiar with the community's Jewish education programs, which draw smaller numbers than what he's accustomed to having.
Regardless, he estimates a solid showing of between 30 and 40 individuals every Friday night for service starting at 8 p.m. inside Belvoir Chapel. He said it's about the same for Saturday service, which is held the fourth Saturday of the month starting at 9:30 a.m.
"Things have been going really well so far. I want to get to know more people in the community and let them know I'm here for counsel, pastoral and family support," Rose said. "I think it's great that the Army provides many different faiths to people. For my part, I just want to let the larger community know there's a place for them to come, whether they are part of the armed services or not. We're open and available to everyone."
In his free time, Rose said he enjoys cooking. Though, he jokes there's no competition between him and his wife, Natalie. Together, they have a son and daughter, Zev and Avi, who are both in their early 20s. Another hobby he gives attention to is collecting model trains, which he's done since he was a child.
While still learning the ins and outs of a bustling Army installation, Rose is already preparing for the holidays, as well as an upcoming barbecue dinner for members of Belvoir's Jewish community. That event is Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m., before the Friday night service.
"It's another opportunity for me to meet people and introduce myself to the community," Rose said. "I prefer talking to people face-to-face. I enjoy that interaction."
Rabbi Rose can be reached at 240-601-2222 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Information on future Jewish events or activities is available from Sara Astrow, Jewish activities coordinator, 703-618-0859.