Melinda Zalma, Commander in the Reserve Component of the U.S. Navy and Program Director of the Center for Community Leadership at JCRC-NY, visited the Joint Placement Commission and Rabbinic Career Development Commission to speak about her years serving in the United States Armed Forces. She spoke about her role both as a chaplain to other soldiers, Marines, sailors, airmen and women, and Coast Guardians, as well as her role in advising military officials on all spiritual, moral and ethical matters.
Melinda feels that her role helping those dealing with moral injury and other trauma has shaped her rabbinate and has greatly impacted her work. She also spoke about how Conservative rabbis are uniquely situated to relate to all Jewish service personnel, including religious Jews and those who may be less observant or unaffiliated. She said that on Veteran's Day, as on all days, she is reminded how lucky we are to live in a country that protects our freedom of religion, and how honored she is to serve in her capacity as a military chaplain.
Watch a video of Melinda speaking on our RA Facebook page.
You can find more information about becoming a military chaplain on the JCCA website. If you have questions about a career or short-term commitment to the military, please contact Rabbi Irv Elson, Retired Captain, US Navy, and Vice President & Director of the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council.