Congregation Kol Ami will be hosting its annual Rabbi Joel Wasser (z”l) Memorial Scholar In Residence Weekend March 29-31, 2019. The weekend is sponsored by Brotherhood, Sisterhood and Adult Education of Congregation Kol Ami. Our Scholar this year is Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff. Rabbi Resnicoff will present a D’Var Torah Friday evening and Saturday morning during Shabbat Services. There will be dinner Friday after Shabbat services for which reservations are required. Saturday after Shabbat services there will be a Kiddush luncheon. Sunday morning Rabbi Resnicoff will be speaking after a breakfast prepared by Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Please RSVP to Congregation Kol Ami (813-962-6338 or [email protected] ).
Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff began his military career in the rivers of the Mekong Delta, where a Christian chaplain "deputized" him as Jewish Lay Leader and eventually convinced him to consider studying for the rabbinate. Resnicoff served with Naval Intelligence in Europe after Vietnam, but then did leave the Navy to study at the Jewish Theological Seminary, returning to active duty after ordination as a Jewish chaplain for almost 25 years. He was one of a small group of Vietnam veterans who worked to create the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and delivered the prayer at its 1982 dedication; he was the driving force behind the military's decision to take part in the annual U.S. Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, and represented the Navy on the board that created the Department of Defense guide for its observances; he was the first Jewish chaplain to study at the Naval War College, and the first chaplain of any faith to teach a course there -- the elective course "Religion, War, and Peace"; at the NWC, he received the President's Honor Graduate Award; during the visit of the SIXTH fleet flagship to Israel, he led an interfaith mixed-gender worship service at the Western Wall (Wilson's Arch) with special permission of Israel's Department of Religious Ministries (Vaad haDatot), as well as the first Israeli service in honor of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, held at the residence of Israel's President; he led Yom Kippur services in Iceland during the Reagan-Gorbachev pre-summit meetings; and on Oct 23, 1983, was present in Beirut during the Beirut Barracks bombing. The White House team that visited Beirut asked him to write a report of the bombing and its aftermath, and that report was read in full by President Ronald Reagan as his keynote address to the 20,000 attendees of the Rev Jerry Falwell's "Baptist Fundamentalism '64" convention in Washington, DC. He has written widely on prayer in public places, and his article "Prayers That Hurt" has been used in training classes for chaplains serving the military, hospitals, prisons, and police forces. He has delivered more than ten prayers to open Congress, the prayer in the Capitol Rotunda for one of the first official Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust ceremonies, and the prayer for President Obama's signing of the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Two of his prayers are included in the 2008 Doubleday Press "The Treasury of American Prayer." He served as Command Chaplain for the U.S. European Command, which made him "top chaplain" for more than 100,000 U.S. forces serving in 93 nations, and liaison to those nations for their programs of religious support and accommodation. Following retirement from the Navy, his positions have included National Director of Interreligious Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, and Special Assistant to the Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of the Air Force for Values and Vision, a position that conferred upon him the equivalent military rank of USAF Brigadier General. He is currently working on a book with the working title "Between the Commandments: From Decalogue to Dialogue."