Fort Leonard Wood will be the center of Chanukah observances for troops worldwide, as the installation’s celebration will be broadcast online next week.
The 2015 Chanukah Celebration is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Main Post Chapel.
“This is extremely significant, due to the fact that there are only nine active-duty Jewish chaplains in the Army, leaving many Jewish troops without chaplain coverage for this holiday,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Mendy Stern, 84th Chemical Battalion chaplain and Fort Leonard Wood’s Jewish Rabbi.
Stern said he hopes giving Jewish troops the opportunity to participate virtually will enhance their holiday celebration and improve morale.
Chanukah begins on Sunday after nightfall and ends Dec. 14.
It is an eight-day festival of light that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality, Stern said.
“Chanukah, celebrates the victory of light over might — when the small Jewish nation of Israel prevailed over the tyrannical Greek Empire. Chanukah signifies the determination of the Jews to be free to practice their religion and beliefs without impediment. Chanukah celebrates the freedom of religion. It is a time of thanksgiving for the blessings of liberty and self-determination,” Stern said.
Chanukah was first officially celebrated on Fort Leonard Wood in 2013. Last year, the celebration was broadcast on a limited scale to troops in Liberia, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and Afghanistan. This year, will be the first time it is available to anyone who desires to login.
“This is an amazing opportunity to learn history and unite with the Jewish neighbors, friends and Soldiers, as we celebrate this age-old holiday,” Stern said.
The public is invited to attend the celebration, which is hosted by the Army Chaplain Corps in conjunction with U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood. Traditional holiday foods and refreshments will be served following the service. To virtually participate in the celebration, log in at https://conference.apps.mil/webconf/chanukah at 4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time.