For the first time, a Jewish, female U.S. Air Force chaplain
In forty years of women serving as chaplains in the U.S. military, Capt. Sarah Schechter is the first ever female Air Force rabbi.
Capt. Sarah Schechter, the Jewish chaplain of the 11th Wing at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, is the first ever female U.S. Air Force rabbi in 40 years of women serving as military chaplains, according to a recent feature on U.S. military website, military.com.
A New York native, Schechter, whose father was a rabbi, told military.com that she decided to enlist because of September 11, when she was in her fourth year of rabbinical school.
"Within seconds of the attack on our country, the military suddenly stopped being an undefined culture I was vaguely familiar with and their mission became absolutely clear - protection of our country, protection of our loved ones, protection of our very lives," she told the website.
"The next day, September 12, I called the recruiter and the rest is history."
Schechter's father was an Air Force chaplain in 1960, something that also influenced her decision to join up, according to military.com
As a chaplain, the rabbi's mission includes representing Judaism and serving as a link between other faiths. Despite being the first and only female rabbi to undertake the task in the Air Force, Schechter wouldn't necessarily call herself a "trailblazer."
"I'm an officer, I'm a rabbi, and I want to do my best to represent the military and Judaism in the best light possible. I'm grateful to the women in the chaplaincy who preceded me because I truly stand on the shoulder of giants," she said.