Jewish Midshipmen’s Club
The year was 1937 and a Plebe with real chutzpah presented to the USNA’s Command Chaplain a concept for chapel service attendance at the local synagogue two blocks from the Academy instead of the mandatory Yard Chapel service. Seymour Einstein and his classmate Howard Schoenbaum waited until 1938 to gather other Jewish Midshipmen signatures and formed the “Jewish Church Party”. This allowed the Jewish students to attend Kneseth Israel Congregation every Sunday morning as part of the Midshipmen’s mandatory ritual requirements.
Over the next few decades, the organization became a crucial part of Academy life, and the name evolved to the Jewish Midshipmen’s Club (JMC). Significant Academy and policy events shifted, and adjustments were made to accommodate the changing environment.
In 1972, compulsory chapel attendance was ended by the U.S. Court of Appeals and religious observances became optional. However, the strong faith of the Jewish Midshipmen demanded that a small sanctuary be made available for weekly prayers and holiday services.
From using the All Faiths Chapel to building the Levy Center, Jewish Midshipmen have had an active student organization to call their own. The scope of activities, lecture series, and international trips have been a high point for the JMC.
The JMC continues to offer guidance, support, leadership, and social programming for the nation’s future leaders. The FOJC is pleased to assist the JMC in its efforts to complement the Midshipmen’s educational experience.