Written by Don Byrd

Weekly Shabbat services at the U.S. Army’s Fort Campbell in Kentucky typically drew 10 to 15 attendees, according to Jeanette Mize. Mize and her husband led services as volunteers at the base since 1999 until last month when she was dismissed without explanation by chaplain leaders. Now, Army officials are investigating and Mize alleges the firing was motivated by religious animus.

The Tennessean reports:

Jeanette Mize, the Jewish lay leader at the post, said her dismissal in March has effectively stopped the longstanding Friday evening Shabbat services at Fort Campbell. She thinks it is indicative of a larger problem among the division’s top chaplains… “I really feel like there is religious persecution for the Jewish soldiers and their families at Fort Campbell,” Mize said. 

Mize said she has stayed in contact with a person on post who told her [weekly services] have not been happening. The closest synagogue is more than an hour’s drive away.   “It’s really heartbreaking that now the Jewish soldier if he wants to go and worship, doesn’t even have a Shabbat service,” Mize said. “He would have to come to Nashville.”

Meanwhile, in an unrelated story, an Air Force chaplain who converted to Orthodox Judaism from Christianity has been denied his application to continue as a chaplain. Capt. Jeff Montanari claims he was the victim of hostility and harassment as the result of his conversion. His attorneys have demanded that he be reinstated as chaplain.