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Eternal Light 5: The Bar Mitzvah of Private Cohen

  • Broadcast in War
The Chosen

The Chosen


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Jews have been a part of every American Army since the Revolutionary War, but Jewish chaplains were not allowed to serve them until the end of World War I.

By the end of 1917 the Jewish Welfare Board  was asked to recruit rabbis to serve in the Chaplain Corps. Many Jewish doughboys had complained they had not seen one Jewish chaplain during their entire military career. Jewish volunteers accounted for 20% of all American land and sea forces.

The War Department had authorized one rabbi for every 1,200 men, but it was estimated recruitment only amounted to one per 10,000 Jews.  This is the story of one such Jewish GI and one such Jewish chaplain (out of the 700 that served during World War II.

Private Cohen, 20,  grew up during the Great Depression in his native Pennsylvania. His family, as many families were during that time of hunger and unemployment, was very poor and the 13-year-old was not bar-mitzvahed. This all changed as The Chosen presents the Eternal Light's dramatization of The Bar Mitzvah of Private Cohen.

The Chosen Radio is broadcast on the first and third Sunday of the month at 10:30 a.m. on Blog Talk Radio. We are proud to bring you exciting heritage presentations of programs that you grew up with. The legacy of The Eternal Light lives to brighten our lives, because as George Santayana said “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”