RSO Jewish education explores ‘Secrets of Bible’

Posted Wednesday, Mar 16th, 2022

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The Religious Support Office (RSO) educates a worldwide audience with its eight-week class, ‘Secrets of the Bible,’ which explores Judaic lessons from the Torah via Microsoft Teams and in-person at the Prosser Village Chapel Annex.

The Torah section of the Hebrew Bible consists of five books: Numbers, Exodus, Leviticus, Genesis and Deuteronomy. It is said to be the revelation of God, given to and written down by Moses.

“With these classroom opportunities, we provide the means and environment to meditate and connect with God,” said Rabbi Benzion Shemtov, co-director of the Chabad of Cochise County in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and contracted rabbi for the RSO here.

Shemtov instructs the course which is attended either virtually via Microsoft Teams or in person.

Students follow along with readings and study lessons in an accompanying text book.

“I am grateful to have a form of Torah study while I’m at basic officer leadership course,” said 2nd Lt. Gabriel Blum, an officer attending Military Intelligence Basic Officer Leadership Course, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion.

“The lessons [in Genesis] gave me a deeper understanding of the stories of Jacob, and the lives of his twelve sons,” he said.

The Torah’s stories, laws and poetry stand at the center of Jewish culture and chronicle God’s creation of the world.

It is the document that contains all of the rules by which the Jewish people structure their spiritual lives, Shemtov said.

“Having the [class] structure accessible to all denominations and to those of the Jewish faith, we are providing an education based on foundations of the Torah and relevant to issues today,” he said.

The RSO counsels Soldiers about the importance of faith and self-awareness, fortifying spiritual resiliency to endure life’s challenges and crises, both at home and on the battlefield.

“To be mentally and physically healthy, spirituality requires attention,” Shemtov explains.

‘Secrets of the Bible’ course is provided by the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute and the remaining class dates are March 20 and 26.

Soldiers, family members, DOD civilians and retirees of all faiths, or no faith affiliation, are welcome to participate in Jewish services either in-person or by signing into an MS Teams classroom.

“If you accentuate the positives, or hunt the good stuff, as we say in the Army, one of the good things that came from the COVID pandemic in 2020 is everyone knows how to get on an online platform,” said Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Shay Worthy, garrison chaplain.

He noted most religious services and educational programs in the Army promptly transitioned to online live events.

RSO’s Roxanne Martinez, director of Religious Education, and Morgana Biddix, religious support operations manager, both started leading the online Jewish education programs.

“Last fall [2021], we were the only post doing online Jewish education in all of the Army!” Worthy exclaimed. “Soon, Fort Huachuca RSO provided online Jewish religious education for all units worldwide.”

Worthy said he was very happy to see the program succeed.

Fort Huachuca RSO partners with the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps and the Jewish Chaplains Council, to facilitate courses through the Joint Religious Education Program (JREP).

“JREP provides spiritual knowledge to Soldiers of a low-density religion base with members scattered worldwide,” said Biddix. “This particular course exploration is available to study for all military members and all religious backgrounds.”

For more information about adult religious education opportunities offered by Fort Huachuca RSO, call 520.533.4748.

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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 946 square miles of restricted airspace and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.

Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with a rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.

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