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By: 2LT Sholom (Scott) Klein, USAR

My favorite day of the year has always been July 4th. For the past 10 years, I’ve served on the parade committee for my hometown of Skokie, IL and spend many months preparing for the hot day in the sun with dozens of floats and thousands of flag waving neighbors who celebrate Independence Day together in our downtown. Whenever I go to a major league game, I’m always there 45 minutes early to make sure that I have my spot to stand proudly for the Star Spangled Banner.

So when I was approached with the idea of taking my community service to the next level by commissioning as an officer in the US Army, it was a no-brainer that I would at least pursue the opportunity. Any barrier that might’ve disrupted that journey was overcome and I proudly took the oath of enlistment in December 2018 and prepared to ship to basic training just 2 months later.

In the subsequent few weeks, I was approached by many friends who raced over to me to congratulate me on joining the Israeli Army. When I explained that I will be an Officer in the United States, the next assumption was always that I’d be serving as a chaplain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of those that serve as our allies in the IDF and certainly our amazing religious support in the US Military, but I do find it comical that there are many misconceptions about Jewish service members.

Perhaps in a later post, I’ll write about my Jewish journey in the military, which has been incredible. For now, I’ll say loud and proud that I’m proud to serve my country in the US Army!

Originally published in the Tishrei 2020 issue of The Jewish American Warrior.