Two new Jewish chaplains appointed to the ADF

July 3, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Sydney’s Rabbanit Judith Levitan and Rabbi Ari Rubin of Chabad House in Cairns have been appointed Jewish chaplains to the Australian Defence Force. 

Rabbanit Judith Levitan

Rabbi Ralph Genende, Senior Rabbi to the ADF and member of the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS) said: “In the demanding and challenging ADF selection process the two new chaplains were both found to be exceptionally worthy candidates by the ADF. I am particularly pleased and privileged to welcome the first woman to this role. This is thanks to the ADF’s deliberate policy of inclusion and diversity.”

Rabbanit Levitan is a community educator and lawyer who works at Legal Aid NSW improving legal services for disadvantaged people. She is the Religious Program Coordinator at Maroubra Synagogue in Sydney and also works with Mount Sinai College primary school. She received semicha (rabbinic ordination) from Yeshivat Maharat, an Orthodox institution in New York and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Jewish Women Australia.

Rabbanit Levitan said: “I believe I can provide a diverse perspective and an additional point of access for army women and men to chaplaincy services. I see my role primarily as providing a comforting and empathic presence to army personnel on their life journeys and offering support in times of crisis, challenge and celebration.”

Rabbi Ari Rubin

Rabbi Ari Rubin, who runs the Chabad Centre for Jewish Life in North Queensland, undertook Talmudic studies at the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand and was ordained at the Rabbinical College of America. He also has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts. Rabbi Rubin has undertaken Rabbinical apprenticeships in Pittsburgh, Venice and Jerusalem and has taught at the Kollel Menachem Institute of Jewish Adult Education in Melbourne.

The chaplaincy is a natural extension of a rabbi’s role, he says. Visits to hospitals, universities, old age homes and defence bases are all part of the pastoral care services he offers.

He added: “I am so excited to be a part of the defence family representing our religious values to the men and women. I am proud to be able to give back to the country that has given us so much.”

The achievement of the two new chaplains will be marked at an event in Sydney on July 19 hosted by Jewish Chaplaincy, the NSW Association of Jewish Service & Ex-Service Men & Women and the NSW Jewish War Memorial.

The ADF is now served by four Jewish chaplains.


2 Responses to “Two new Jewish chaplains appointed to the ADF”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    How many ADF members are followers of the Jewish faith? When I was in the Australian Army (1972-1995) there was little interest in attending Christian churches on base. Church parades were not permitted as attendance at any religious service was voluntary.

  2. Henry Wald says:

    Approximately how many Jewish personnel presently serve in the ADF?

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