The Aleph Institute held their Chaplain and lay leader training and Shabbaton last weekend at the Shul of Bal Harbour.
Over seventy five men and women in uniform participated. Aleph hosted a Jewish two-star general that has been nominated for a promotion and assignment at a new post in Washington. Maj. Gen. Bennet S. Sacolick is a former commander of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. He also served with the 7th Special Forces Group and with 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, better known as Delta Force. The Department of Defense announced that Sacolick has been nominated for a promotion to lieutenant general by President Obama. He is also is slated for assignment as deputy director of the strategic operational planning directorate at the National Counterterrorism Center in Washington. He is currently Director of Force Management and Development for U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
Major General Sacolick reminded all the Jewish service members that they should always be proud that they are Jewish and never allow anyone to hinder their observances and practices while in the Armed Forces.
Brig Gen Yakov Shaharabani, the Israeli Air Force Attache’ and Deputy Defense Attache’ to the United States and Canada also addressed the training as well as the congregation. As a part of his role, Brig Gen Shaharabani serves as the liaison officer between the Israeli Air Force and the U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Aviation, Army Aviation, and Air National Guard, as well as the Canadian Air Force. Previous to this assignment, Brig Gen Shaharabani was Head of the Israeli Air Force Intelligence.
The main address came from an active duty four star general. General John F Kelly of United States Marine Corps, served as the commanding general of the Multi-National Force—West in Iraq from February 2008 to February 2009. He was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed command of Marine Forces Reserve and Marine Forces North in October 2009. He was then promoted to a four star, and succeeded General Douglas M. Fraser as commander of U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) on November 19, 2012 and still serves in that position. General Kelly shared a personal story about his son who was killed in Afghanistan and how a Jewish medic said Kaddish for his Irish Catholic son. He expressed how he loved the Jewish People, the people of Israel and he encouraged Jewish service members to continue to observe and practice while in uniform.
Aleph ships out thousands of packages to Jewish military members around the world every year with Siddurim, Chumoshim, Menorahs and candles, Shmurah Matzo, Hamantashen ect. Aleph is also an official endorsing agency for Jewish chaplains for the Department of Defense.