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German Army Names First Rabbi Chaplain Since Holocaust

Hungarian Orthodox Jewish Rabbi Zsolt Balla was one of the first rabbis ordained in Germany in 70 years. The Covid-19 Pandemic provided a backdrop for him to rise to international fame when he posted videos of himself praying alone in the beautiful Leipzig synagogue. As the first Jewish chaplain serving in the German army since the Holocaust, he is making history. Balla didn’t know he was Jewish until he was nine-years-old. He is now a fully-observant Orthodox Rabbi, who will help the 300 Jews who are already serving in the army, as well as be a point of attraction to Jews who may also want to serve. He said, “It’s like construction. First you make apartments, then the tenants will come. It’s a gradual process.” He will be working to build Jewish infrastructure in the army, including sourcing kosher food and Torah scrolls. “I want Jewish soldiers in the German armed forces to know that they have an address.” Read more here.

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