Iowa City, IA – Orthodox US Jewish Navy: Chaplains Refused Kosher Food, Until I Convert To Christianity

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    David Miller, right, an Orthodox Jew, says he was repeatedly proselytized by hospital chaplains at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City. At left is Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who is planning a lawsuit.Iowa City, IA – U.S. Navy veteran David Miller said that when he checked into the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City, he didn’t realize he would get a hard sell for Christian fundamentalism along with treatment for his kidney stones.

    David Miller, right, an Orthodox Jew, says he was repeatedly proselytized by hospital chaplains at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City. At left is Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who is planning a lawsuit.

    Miller, 46, an Orthodox Jew, said he was repeatedly proselytized by hospital chaplains and staff in attempts to convert him to Christianity during three hospitalizations over the past two years.
    He said he went hungry each time because the hospital wouldn’t serve him kosher food, and the staff refused to contact his rabbi, who could have brought him something to eat.

    Miller, an Iowa City resident and former petty officer third class who spent four years in the Navy, outlined his complaints at a news conference in Des Moines on Thursday. The event was sponsored by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an activist group based in Albuquerque, N.M.

    He described the Iowa City facility as an institution permeated by government sponsorship of fundamentalist Christianity and unconstitutional discrimination against Jews.

    Miller has been classified as 100 percent disabled because of chronic painful problems with kidney stones, and he has repeatedly visited the center as a patient and outpatient.

    The hospital’s chaplains and staff, Miller said, have the attitude that you either accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior and you are saved, or you are damned.

    He said he has tried to resolve the problems with the hospital’s administration without success.

    Kirt Sickels, a spokesman for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Iowa City, said the facility’s administrators take Miller’s allegations seriously.

    “We will look into these concerns that Mr. Miller is talking about. The Iowa City VA respects the rights to religious beliefs for every patient. If they have a request for any kind of religious needs, we try to accommodate whatever those needs or beliefs might be.”

    Kosher meals are available to Jewish VA patients in Iowa City, Sickels said.

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    11 COMMENTS

    1. Did this guy forget he (we) is in golus. My zeide in Pushpok-Lodany should have made a fuss about getting served kosher food in a hospital. Hey pal, be real, goyim don’t love us, and it’s not going to get any better any time soon. Just be mispallel that this be our final place of wandering, and that moshiach takes us out of here before we are shown the way.

    2. Anon 1038,

      Your galus answer doesnt fly. Is that your response when Chas V’Chalila a goy comes up to you on the street and beats the living #$$%^(*# out of you and your family? Turning the other cheek was not a Jewish thing. You fight back be it physically or later in court. To an extent, this is a m’dina shel chesed and going to court to sue for injustices (as long as they are legit) is something that gets done.

    3. This man served his (our) country and should be given respect> It should be their priority, and they should go out of their way to accomodte him.

      Those violating his rights need to be prsecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Including endangering his health.

    4. Quote: —–Did this guy forget he (we) is in golus. My zeide in Pushpok-Lodany should have made a fuss about getting served kosher food in a hospital. Hey pal, be real, goyim don’t love us, and it’s not going to get any better any time soon. Just be mispallel that this be our final place of wandering, and that moshiach takes us out of here before we are shown the way.—

      Your are Meshuga in the head. Big time.

      The issue here is not at all about being served kosher food. It is about a veteran who served his country who goes to a military (VA) hospital as a veteran to get treated. Instead, they try to convert him. Whatever happened to separation of religion and state? Chaplains in the army are there for the religious needs of the soldier. They are there to be available in time of crisis. They are not there to push their religion on people practicing other faiths.

      There is a religious Jewish chaplain who serves all faiths. Christian soldiers come to him he should pray for or with them in time of crisis, which he does. He is however not trying to convert them.

    5. When I go to the hospital they are required by law to have kosher food available. They have frozen kosher meals which are warmed up in their microwave.They also have chaplains who can see to it that your religious needs are taken care of.The chaplains may not make you follow any religious faith.Converting a patient to any religion is not allowed as a requirement for any medical or other services. In a YA,a government-run hospital,it is against the law of separating church and state. One is not required to subscribe to Catholic religion in a Catholic hospital to get care.As a frum Jew,having been in a Catholic -run hospital,I received good and bad care like everyone else and kosher meals and accommodations for Shabbos when I was there.While spending time in a Jewish-run nursing home I had the same good and bad treatment as the other residents,including non-Shabbos meals and poor or lack of cooperation for davening and non-life threatening-medical help on Shabbos and YomTov.The Rabbi did not try to make anyone keep any mitzvos whether Jew or gentile and neither was any resident required to perform Jewish relgious practices in order to get medical or social services.

    6. Do not confuse patients in hospitals and residents or patients in rehab and nursing homes with inmates and prisoners in jail.This is directed especially to–

      * Anonymous Says:

      Did this guy forget he is (we are) in golus. My zeide in Pushpok-Lodany should have made a fuss about getting served kosher food in a hospital. Hey pal, be real, goyim don’t love us, and it’s not going to get any better any time soon. Just be mispallel that this be our final place of wandering, and that moshiach takes us out of here before we are shown the way.

      05-27-2008 – 10:38 AM

    7. You guys are all concentrating on the wrong side of things.

      Kol hakavod to David Miller for sticking to his guns and for being moser nefesh.

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