Kiddush Hashem in the Skies: Frum Chaplain Delays Parachute Jump and Graduation in Honor of Shabbos

airforce parachute jump tlsEXCLUSIVE: To the astonishment of his class, instructors and many others, a Frum U.S. Chaplain displayed an unprecedented Kavod Shabbos in the skies.

Rabbi Fishel Todd, founder of Yeshivah Pirchei Shoshanim and the Shema Yisrael Torah Network, shared exclusively with TLS the following fascinating story which displays Kavod Shabbos high above the ground, and high above expectations.

Pirchei Shoshanim which serves as an endorser of Chaplains for the U.S. Military and Army, has many Chaplains (though will not say how many due to security reasons) throughout the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Airforce.

But this past Shabbos, one of its endorsees showed just how worthy he actually is to represent his fellow Jews.

Chaplain Captain David Ruderman is stationed at Fort Benning, Ga, where he lives with his wife and four children whom are all home schooled. Each Sunday morning he gives spiritual classes to over 800 men and woman soldiers. He has been deployed in Afghanistan and leaves his family most Yom Tovim on deployment.

His unit recently sent him to Airborne School. So for two weeks he trained, and then in week three was expected to actually jump from an aircraft while in flight. Five jumps are required for graduation.

On Monday, two jumps are generally done, and on Tuesday another two jumps are done with the final jump and graduation on Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, the final jump and graduation was to take place, but due to snow and ice on the planes during the week, the class fell behind. By Friday morning, most of them had only 2 jumps completed, while some had only 1. The cadre planned to get them through jump 4 on Friday, and Saturday would be the final jump followed by graduation.

“They knew that I was Shomer Shabbos and that I would not come on Saturday,” Rabbi Ruderman tells TLS. “The cadre were extremely respectful and professional and offered me a few options. I would be able to make up the final jump with a different company but would have to wait a couple of weeks for that opportunity. If I waited too long, I risked having to repeat the 2nd training week. However, they were planning to rush me through jump 5 on Friday if possible. I hoped that would work out, but explained that I had to leave by 1700 (5 PM)  in order to be home by Shabbat.”

Rabbi Ruderman completed his 4th jump by 1645.

“The next jump was preparing to depart and I was told to join it right away. I would complete my 5th jump and all graduation requirements. But alas, there wasn’t enough time. There was no way I could jump again and still be home before shkiat hachama.”

Rabbi Ruerman explained that he had to go in order to properly welcome the Sabbath.

“As I turned and walked out, I could feel hundreds of eyes upon me. I saw many open jawed faces. They didn’t think that I was actually prepared to walk away after the weeks of training and days of sitting in a parachute waiting to jump.”

He adds, “I was disappointed to postpone graduation and hoped I would not have to repeat training. At the same time, I was proud to be demonstrating a commitment to my faith and knew that it was a kidush hashem.”

But as it turns out, he not only displayed a tremendous Kiddush Hashem,but also never lost out.

On Motzei Shabbos, he called in to hear how graduation went and to learn if any of my friends from the course were still in town.

“What I heard made me smile in awe,” says Rabbi Ruderman. “They did not jump on Saturday. Apparently the cloud ceiling was too low to allow for a safe jump. So the entire course was Shomer Shabbat that day, sitting in their chutes in wait.”

The final jump and graduation was rescheduled for Sunday morning and he was able to join in.

“That went off without any problems and I was able to graduate with my class,” says Rabbi Ruderman.

Tehillim 148:8 “Fire and hail, snow and vapor, storm-wind, all fulfilling his word. [TLS]


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