The IDF Rabbi at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

The IDF Rabbi at Jerusalem’s Western Wall

Credit:(Photo: GPO)

Born into a Jewish family in Poland, Rabbi Shlomo Goren made aliyah (immigrated) to the Holy Land in 1925. Raised near Haifa, Goren began studying at a yeshiva in Hebron at age 12 and was marked as a child prodigy, publishing his first book at only 17 years old.

A Young Zionist in Zion

From his youth, Goren also felt a strong commitment to Zionism. He volunteered to serve in the Haganah (the precursor to the IDF) in 1936, then served as a chaplain during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. During that war, Rabbi Goren also qualified as an IDF paratrooper.

After Israel won her independence, Rabbi Goren faced a daunting task – he helped collect and bury the remains of those Israeli soldiers who had fallen in the field. The man of God provided this service to his fellow soldiers and Israelis who had made the ultimate sacrifice for the Jewish state and its people.

Israel’s Military Rabbi

Following Israel’s independence, Rabbi Goren served as Chief Rabbi of the IDF. In this position, he helped create and organize the framework for the IDF’s chaplains. He also wrote a new prayer book that spoke to the different prayer styles of the IDF’s various ethnic groups. Rabbi Goren also opposed separating soldiers by religious differences, working for the integration of all serving in the IDF.

As stated above, Rabbi Goren not only served in Israel’s War of Independence, but during the 1956 Suez Crisis and the 1967 Six-Day War, as well. During the latter conflict, one of the defining moments was when the rabbi gave a prayer of thanksgiving after the capture of the Western Wall. In the above photo, Rabbi Goren blows the shofar surrounded by the Torah and fellow soldiers during the first Jewish prayer at the Wall since 1948.

Rabbi Goren and his wife Tzfia had three children – Tchiya, Drorit, and Abraham.

‘All Men Created in the Image of God’

A strong supporter of the alliance between evangelical Christians and Israel, Rabbi Goren’s views can be summed up in this quote:

“Human life is undoubtedly a supreme value in Judaism…This refers not only to Jews, but to all men created in the image of God.”

Tags: History IDF Israel Israelis You Should Know Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Goren Six-Day War Western Wall

More From Fellowship Blog

Fellowship Blog

From Purim to Shavuot — In and Out of the Coronavirus Lockdown

A Fellowship staff member in Israel prays that the anniversary of God giving His Word will also be a day when we can celebrate our good health and the health of people around the world.

Fellowship Blog

Project Spotlight: Live Prayer Service With The Fellowship

Through a time like this, we’re especially reminded of the power of prayer.

Fellowship Blog

Auschwitz: A Haunting Question

Eighty years after the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp opened, we share the somber reflections of our beloved Rabbi Eckstein, of blessed memory, after he visited this site where more than a million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.