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Jewish soldiers and families come together to celebrate Passover in Grafenwoehr

Capt. Andrew Shulman, a Jewish chaplain from the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st Theater sustainment Command, binds leather straps and "tefillin" around the arm of Sgt. Zachary Gardner, an infantryman with the 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command, and prays. For centuries, Jews have strapped these small leather boxes containing parchments of scriptures from the Torah onto their arms and head as a sign of faith and remembrance. Shulman is one of only 12 active duty Jewish chaplains in the U.S. Army chaplain corps, and he is the only Jewish chaplain stationed in Europe. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. Henry Chan, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade, 21st TSC Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: 1st Lt. Henry Chan, 18th CSSB, 16th SB, 21st TSC)

Jewish servicemembers and families in the Grafenwoehr community marked the start of Passover with traditional Seder dinners Friday.

A Seder is the festive Passover meal where participants celebrate the story of the Israelites’ exodus out of Egypt.

“Passover is one of the biggest holidays for the Jewish community. It’s one of those holidays where, if you don’t see some people for the rest of the year, you will at least come together and take part in Seder together,” said Maj. Andrew Shulman, a reservist chaplain who came to the garrison to conduct the Passover services.

Tower Barracks held its first Seder meal Friday with around 40 members of the Grafenwoehr Jewish community.

The dinner included traditional foods like matzah and gelfite fish, and the traditional Seder songs, prayers, and scripture passages recounting the Exodus.

“It really means a lot to the families here, that we do Seder,” Shulman said. “There aren’t a lot of synagogues in this area. Let alone one that would do Seder in English. Between us and Ramstein, we might have the only English ones between here and England.”

Shulman estimates that there are around 250 Jewish soldiers in the garrison.


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