A brilliant student, orato, and debater, Rabbi Roland Gittelsohn was an outspoken social activist and frequent lecturer on political topics. Despite his passionate support of pacifism, Gittelsohn voluntarily joined the Navy when the United States entered World War II, becoming the first Jewish chaplain assigned to the United States Marine Corps. In Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey from the Pulpit to the Sands of Iwo Jima, author Lee Mandel draws from historical sources, including Gittelsohn’s 1988 autobiography, extensive personal papers, and the rabbi’s unpublished war memoir. Mandel traces the Gittelsohn family from their emigration from Russia through Roland’s ordination and excursions into the political and Zionist movements that shaped the 1930s, and chronicles the evolution of Gittelshon’s crisis of conscience. After Iwo Jima, at the dedication of the Fifth Marine Division Cemetery Gittelsohn delivered the eulogy known as “The Purest Democracy” that is referred to as the “Gettysburg Address of WWII.” The author reveals the behind-the-scenes anti-Semitic power struggles that almost prevented what has become one of the most famous oratories in military history.
Unlikely Warrior: A Pacifist Rabbi’s Journey from the Pulpit to Iwo Jim
- From the Publisher
May 19, 2015
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