Radio broadcast of Temple Israel partial Sabbath service with Sermon from Radio broadcast by Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, “A Chaplain Remembers,” April 4, 1954
FROM THE TEMPLE ISRAEL ARCHIVES
In this sermon, excerpted from a radio broadcast that also includes a short Sabbath service, Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn recalls preaching, along with a Lutheran minister, to his frightened troops the evening before the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The solace the sermon offered confirmed what religion could mean to human beings in an emergency, taught him that that the best way to deal with his own fear was helping others, and greatly informed his widely-known eulogy for the Dedication of the 5th Marine Division Cemetery on Iwo Jima on 21 March 1945. The eulogy he wrote for the 2,200 men buried there personalizes the casualties of the battle and emphasizes the commonalities between those who died there: “Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudice. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy. Out of this, and from the suffering and sorrow of those who mourn this, will come – we promise – the birth of a new freedom for the sons of men everywhere.” This recording was part of a radio program series (1924-1964) sponsored by the Temple Israel Brotherhood, recorded at Temple Israel, and broadcast by transcription on local and regional radio stations. Choral music by Temple Israel Choir, Herbert Fromm, Music Director.
This recording, along with several hundred others that capture services, sermons, and other events from 1934-1979, have recently been digitized by the Temple Israel Archives thanks to a “Recordings at Risk” grant from the Council on Libraries and Information Resources. Free streaming access to these recordings will be available via the Digital Commonwealth later in 2022. Access to individual recordings can be requested by contacting the Archives.
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See Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings blog post “The Timelessness and Timeliness of Rabbi Gittelsohn’s Words” which refers to this sermon.