UK military appoints first civilian rabbi as chaplain

Rabbi Arnold Saunders will be responsible for the spiritual and pastoral care of serving Jewish personnel in all three services - army, navy and air force.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT IN LONDON
September 10, 2009 23:18
1 minute read.
UK military appoints first civilian rabbi as chaplain

arnold saunders 88. (photo credit: )

 
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For the first time in its history the British military has installed a Jewish Civilian Chaplain to its armed forces. Rabbi Arnold Saunders will be responsible for the spiritual and pastoral care of serving Jewish personnel in all three services - army, navy and air force, the British military announced this week. The Manchester-born rabbi has served a number of communities in the northwest of England and is honorary chaplain to the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women (AJEX). He also holds a commission in the Territorial Army as an Army Cadet Force (ACF) chaplain serving greater Manchester. While there are and have been Jewish chaplains serving in the British military, Saunders will be the first civilian rabbi to be appointed as a military chaplain. "On behalf of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy Policy Board I am delighted to be able to welcome Rabbi Arnold Saunders as our first Jewish Civilian Chaplain to the Military," said Stephen Robbins QHC, Chaplain General to the UK Armed Forces. "His arrival will ensure that the tri-Service chaplaincy is able to provide for the spiritual support, pastoral care and moral guidance for all servicemen and women of the Jewish faith. Rabbi Saunders will have the distinction of wearing the very rare Jewish cap badge of the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, a scarce collector's item not been worn by a serving chaplain for some 40 years. Saunders said he was "looking forward with relish and excitement to the challenges that lie ahead" and to working "with my fellow CCMs and all military chaplains." He paid tribute to the Reverend Malcolm Weisman "who has given distinguished service as the Honorary Senior Jewish Chaplain to the Military for many years."

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