IDF: Rabbis and Officers


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On August 12th, after six weeks of intense training for their new jobs, a hundred cadets of the Military Rabbinate Reserves Course received their officers’ ranks.  The ceremony took place the first time in the 1st Training Base, the Officers Training School, rather than the 11th Training Base, as part of many changes taking place.  “During the past few years, the Military Rabbinate Course took place at the 11th Training Base.  In the past year, we started working with the 1st Training Base where we felt our cadets would feel more a part of the IDF officers’ world,” said the commander of the course, Lt. Col. Rabbi Shimon Almaliach.

The enlistment for the course is remarkable.  Reserve soldiers go through the Officers’ Course, which is possible thanks to the comprehensive explanations conducted in Yeshivas, institutions for Bible study, and the advertisements listed months before the course.  “We need people who have the ability to function as Rabbis in the army.  Over 270 people went through the interview and selection process.  Out of those, 100 finished the course today.”

The course’s program is very different from that of other Officers’ Courses.  It educates them on various subjects related to having a career service as an officer: command and control, navigation, soldiering, orientation in combat areas, shooting, leadership, and morals and ethics.  They are also given courses on the structure of the Military Rabbinate and the unique importance of the military Rabbi. 

A small percentage of the graduates, mostly those who excelled in the course, are expected to continue their career in the Military Rabbinate as officers, while the rest will continue to serve as reserve soldiers.  “Their mission is to be trained to serve as military reserves Rabbis for different battalions,” added Lt. Col. Almaliach.

(YWN Israel Desk)