16 Dec

February 2 1943, Army transport ship, the Dorchester, was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. Four chaplains- Rabbi Lt Alexander D Goode, Methodist Minister Lt George L Fox, Roman Catholic Priest John P Washington and Dutch Reformed minister Lt Clark V Poling- were aboard the ship. Dozens were killed immediately when the Dorchester was hit. Many others were wounded. The chaplains stood on the deck ministering to their men, distributing life jackets as the Dorchester began to sink, taking on water. When the last life jackets were gone, the chaplains removed their life jackets, giving them away. Survivors recall the four chaplains joined together, linking arms, singing hymns of comfort to their men in the water. 27 minutes later, the Dorchester sank. The chaplains were still at its rail. Rabbi Goode was a local boy, serving Washington Hebrew Congregation while studying for his rabbinics at HebrewUnionCollege. December 2011, Rabbi Goode was one of 14 Jewish Chaplains memorialized on ArlingtonCemetery’s new memorial for Jewish Chaplains.


Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff, a decorated military officer serving 25 years as a US Navy Chaplain, addressed the people gathered for the Friday night Service of Inclusion, as it is named by the Washington Hebrew Congregation. Resnicoff is an ensign inspired by an Episcopalian minister. Resnicoff said he learned a few things in Vietnam, one of which was to volunteer as the Episcopalian minister called Resnicoff  being appointed time and again to lead the Jewish enlisted alongside him in Vietnam. And then one day, the Episcopalian minister recommended Resnicoff become a Jewish Chaplain which he did. Speaking from firsthand experience, Resnicoff said Chaplain’s are not spared the bullets that hit their men. Nor, said Resnicoff, are Chaplains spared watery deaths at sea leaving behind families, young ones and loved ones, the choice the Four Chaplains on the Dorchester made that fate filled day the met their deaths at sea.


Chaplains, Resnicoff said deserve better. In fact Resnicoff is working on better for Chaplains. Resnicoff is hoping the White House will host Chaplains at a first ever Chaplains event at the White House. On board with Resnicoff are leading Chaplains in the Mility, Reverend Barry Black Chaplain of the US Senate and Reverend Patrick Conyer the US House’s newest Chaplain. Resnicoff knows he is working with an unknown- who will be the Oval Office Resident in 2013. But it is Resnicoff’s hope, his dream of a Chaplain’s night will come true despite who the resident of the Oval is or what their faith is. In the least, maybe a well intentioned Congressman will read in to the Record the heroism of Four men, four Chaplains.

[ www.godinthetemplesofgvoernment.com ]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: