Monday, November 26, 2007

First Friday Night on Taji

I arrived on Thanksgiving day, and attended the Jewish Chapel service that Friday evening. It’s called the Tigris River Chapel, though I have yet to see the river anywhere near it. Services were being held there every Friday evening by a young Captain I knew from Fort Hood and had encouraged to lead a service when he redeployed back to Iraq last year.

I helped him lead services that first Friday, and shared with the small group of soldiers a Shabbos drasha on the parsha relating to Binyamin's name. Most of the soldiers there that Friday night would be heading home soon. So I told them how at the beginning of their deployment it may have seemed like they were Bnei Onim, but now they could see that they were Bnei Yomim. As Bnei Yomim they can continue to grow in their lives and in their involvement with Judaism even as they return home.

I asked everyone if they would like to start next Friday night with a class on Prayer, and they sounded interested. There were also some soldiers who wanted very much to learn to read Hebrew. So with those two ideas, a plan was laid. I scheduled a 20 minute class called Roadmap to Prayer for every Friday evening before Kabbolos Shabbos, and a Hebrew reading class for Saturday nights, after Havdalah.