Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff Named National Director of Interreligious Relations

American Jewish Committee
Thursday, 4 October 2001

Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff has been named national interreligious affairs director of the American Jewish Committee.

Rabbi Resnicoff joins the AJC staff after retiring last June from the U.S. Navy where he last served as Command Chaplain for the U.S. European Command and principal adviser on religion, ethics and morals to General Wesley Clark, the EUCOM commander in chief.

"We are delighted that Rabbi Resnicoff is joining our interreligious affairs team," said David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee. "His vast experience in working closely with the different faiths that comprise our nation will help further AJC's work in advancing religious understanding in the United States."

A Vietnam War combat veteran, Resnicoff returned to study for the rabbinate. He then became the first Jewish chaplain to graduate from the Naval War College and to hold one of the highest operational positions in the military Chaplaincy.

Ordained in 1976 at the Jewish Theological Seminary, Rabbi Resnicoff's three decades in uniform took him across the United States, to Southeast Asia, the Balkans, Europe, South Africa and Lebanon. He was present in Beirut when terrorists destroyed the U.S. Marine Barracks there in 1983.

While in Beirut, when his kippa (skullcap) was used to wipe the blood and dirt from a wounded Marine, a Catholic chaplain tore a piece of his camouflage uniform to create a makeshift skullcap. The symbolism of the "camouflage kippa" helped secure enactment of the Religious Apparel Amendment allowing Jewish service personnel to wear skullcaps with uniforms.

"I am delighted to be part of the AJC team as we in the Jewish community try to understand the concerns and sensitivities of our neighbors, and help them understand ours," said Rabbi Resnicoff.

Rabbi Resnicoff holds a B.A. from Dartmouth, where he served in NROTC on campus, a M.A. in international relations from Salve Regina, and an M.A. degree in strategic studies and national security affairs from the Naval War College.

He was the first chaplain to teach a course at the Naval War College, helped create the Naval War Colleges' annual conference on Ethics and the Military, and lectured extensively on the role of religion in conflict.

For more information, or to contact American Jewish Committee, see their website at: www.ajc.org

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