Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik, founder and director of Chabad of Northern Colorado and CSU in Fort Collins, was sworn-in as the first Jewish chaplain in the Colorado Army National Guard.
Gov. Jared Polis swore in Rabbi — now also Captain — Gorelik in an outdoor, socially-distanced ceremony on the CSU campus, Friday, Oct. 2.
Gorelik said he was inspired to enlist by several generations of his family members who had served in militaries around the world, including Russia, Australia and the US.
He explained that the US military’s ideal of “living for a cause greater than oneself” has always resonated with him because it echoes values set forth by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson.
He felt now was the time to become an army chaplain because of the difficulties the Jewish community has faced in the past few years with a rise in anti-Semitism.
Gorelik wants to be able to “create light in the darkness” by serving Jews and non-Jews in the Colorado Army National Guard.
Like all army recruits, Gorelik, 44, went through three months of basic training.
He also got himself in good physical condition, losing a considerable amount of weight in order to enlist.
Gorelik will continue in his role as the director and rabbi of Chabad in Fort Collins and at CSU, where he has been a faculty member for the past 15 years.
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