How many Jewish cadets attend West Point?
There are more than 110 Jewish cadets at West Point today. Since its founding in 1802, more than 1000 Jewish cadets have graduated from the Academy, and their names are included on plaques in the Alumni Gallery in the Jewish Chapel. At one point, 50% of the graduating class was Jewish! That’s right, the very first graduating class of 1802 was comprised of two cadets, with one being Simon Magruder Levy.
What kind of Jewish activities at West Point does the Fund support?
The Fund financially supports an extensive Jewish program for cadets, staff, and faculty at West Point, led by a full-time Jewish Army chaplain. All activities are provided at no cost to cadets. Activities include the following, plus much more:
• Weekly Friday night Shabbat services led by the chaplain and the cadets followed by an extensive kosher Oneg Shabbat meal.
• Weekly Torah study lunch in the cadet area led by the chaplain, cadets, or members of the faculty.
• High Holiday services held in the Jewish Chapel.
• Multiple Passover seders, with one led completely by the cadets themselves; kosher for Passover foods available throughout the holiday period.
• Special holiday observances of Purim, Hanukah, and Simchat Torah.
• Services held in the field during summer training.
• Participation in the Jewish Cadet Choir that performs at synagogues and Hillels throughout the United States.
• Jewish Warrior Weekend held twice per year at locations around the country with Jewish students from other military academies and colleges with military programs.
• An offsite, weekend Plebe Retreat for all interested new cadets after completing their first summer.
• Gatherings in support of Plebe Parents’ Weekend as well as Cadet Parents’ Weekend.
• Lay leader training for cadets conducted by the chaplain, Jewish Welfare Board, and/or the Aleph Institute.
How can I support Jewish cadets and programs at West Point?
The most effective way to support Jewish cadets is by donating to the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund. The West Point Jewish Chapel Fund board is run primarily by volunteers, with only one full-time employee who provides direct support to the chaplain, cadets, chapel, and overall Jewish community. Jewish cadets would be grateful for your participation and support in any or all of these ways:
• Make an unrestricted donation of any size.
• Sponsor meals such as an Oneg Shabbat, Seder, or Torah study lunch.
• Sponsor trips or activities such as Jewish Warrior Weekend, plebe retreat, or college Hillel visit.
• Sponsor or arrange for a Jewish Chapel Choir visit to your synagogue or other Jewish organization.
• Sponsor cadet attendance at lay leader training.
• Donate to a designated chapel need as a tribute to a loved one.
• Include the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund in your estate plan.
• Visit West Point, see the chapel, attend a service, and meet Jewish cadets.
Is chapel attendance mandatory for cadets?
No. Cadets are not required to identify with a religion or participate in any religious activities. In 1972, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia eliminated compulsory chapel attendance as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. Today, cadets are free to participate in (or refrain from participating in) a wide range of religious organizations. Non-Jewish cadets are fully welcome to participate in all Jewish Chapel activities.
How are first-year Jewish cadets supported?
The Jewish chaplain, joined by Jewish cadet cadre and community members, meet with Jewish new cadets during designated “chaplain’s time” throughout their first summer. New cadets are familiarized with the full range of Jewish programming, including Friday night Jewish services, Jewish holidays, and other Jewish Chapel activities. The first summer concludes with an optional, off-site weekend Jewish Plebe Retreat.
What denomination is the West Point Jewish Chapel?
The West Point Jewish Chapel, like all Army Jewish congregations, is nondenominational and welcomes all who desire to attend or become members of the community, regardless of their background.
Are donations to the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund tax deductible?
Yes, the West Point Jewish Chapel Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established to support the Jewish cadets at West Point and the Army, and to assist the government maintain the Jewish Chapel.
I'm thinking of applying. Can you connect me with current Jewish cadets or faculty members?
We would be happy to share our experiences at West Point and in the Army. Cadet candidates and parents are encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with current Jewish cadets and/or faculty.
I'm a civilian. Can I visit or attend services at the West Point Jewish Chapel?
The West Point Jewish Chapel serves cadets, military personnel and their families, and civilian staff who live or work in the West Point community. Parents and other visitors are always welcome to attend services or tour the chapel during regular business hours. Please email email@example.com to confirm availability for the date and time you are considering visiting.
How can I invite the West Point Jewish Chapel Choir to visit my synagogue or event?
To invite cadets from the West Point Jewish Chapel Choir to visit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does the West Point Jewish Chapel serve kosher food?
Yes, all food served within the Chapel is strictly kosher. Kosher-for-Pesach food is also made available in the cadet areas during Passover.
The West Point Jewish Chapel Fund takes privacy seriously and ensures the protection and safety of our supporters. We do not sell or exchange any information outside of our organization.
Have more questions? Contact us at email@example.com.