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    Finishing the High Holy Days at sea

    Yom Kippur Service

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Trenton Edly | U.S. Navy Chaplain Rabbi Lt. Cmdr. Yonatan Warren, from Norfolk, Virginia, joined the...... read more read more

    As the sun set over the horizon Oct. 5, Jewish Sailors aboard the first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) concluded Yom Kippur services with the traditional sounding of the shofar.
    This year, U.S. Navy Chaplain Rabbi Lt. Cmdr. Yonatan Warren joined the crew for the celebration of the Jewish High Holy Days.
    “This is what I joined the Navy for. It was to go to sea so that people can have a true service wherever they work, at sea, in Afghanistan, random place in the South China Sea,” said Warren.
    Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) concludes the 10-day period of repentance and introspection that began with Rosh Hashana Sept. 25, where people of the Jewish faith around the world are encouraged to make amends and ask for forgiveness.
    “Yom Kippur is heavy on the liturgy and the Hebrew and on tunes and [that’s] what makes it connected to other Jewish people who are here and their families back home and those in Israel,” said Warren. “The tunes are almost universal at this point, so it speaks to the Jewish soul. When it comes to using the Torah, that’s not a standard commodity. It’s not something that everyone learns how to do.”
    As one of the few ordained Rabbis in the Navy, having Rabbi Warren aboard the ship provides Sailors the unique opportunity to meet with a leader of their faith while underway.
    “There are only seven of us in the Navy right now,” said Warren. “This is like the Super Bowl [for Jewish holidays] and if you can pull out a professional, that’s what you do. I’m on the East Coast and the opportunity came up to come out and perform services, so here I am.”
    While not every ship can have a chaplain from every denomination, for Sailors around the world chaplains provide support for all no matter their faith.
    “The Constitution of the United States promises the free exercise of religion to all Americans. At sea it is sometimes difficult to provide for all faith groups,” said Cmdr. Genevieve Clark, Ford’s command chaplain. “So whenever the opportunity arises to support a faith group that is not represented by our unit chaplains, it is our obligation to make every effort to facilitate for spiritual care of our sailors, particularly at significant Holy days.”
    The Sailors aboard Ford who celebrate Yom Kippur began fasting on the eve of the holiday, Sept. 24, and through the following day during a period of reflection, meditation and readings from the Torah.
    “Rabbi Warren’s service to the Ford Sailors during the Jewish New Year and Day of Atonement has increased our Sailor’s spiritual health as we begin our first deployment,” said Clark.
    The Navy takes pride in being able to provide religious support and accommodations for Sailors of any religion.



    Date Taken: 10.05.2022
    Date Posted: 10.06.2022 20:20
    Story ID: 430908
    Location: ATLANTIC OCEAN

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