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By Capt. Tinashe Machona
District of Columbia National Guard
The District of Columbia National Guard expands its religious services by introducing a Rabbi and Anglican priest to serve the religious needs of its Guardsmen, beginning November 14, 2020.
Chaplain (Maj.) Aaron Rozovsky, a Rabbi, and Chaplain (Maj.) David Evans, an Anglican Priest, are two of newest DCNG Guardsmen assigned to the Chaplain’s office at the District of Columbia National Guards Armory. Both members bring qualities that serve the diverse religious and pastoral needs of the organization.
Chaplain (LTC) Bobby Patton, the DCNG Command Chaplain, said “Having these two chaplains allows our religious support office the opportunity to provide to a diverse force, providing more options for worship for members who affiliate with those religions.” He explained, with respect to Rozovsky, that the services he offers as a Rabbi are particularly unique as it is a rarity for a Guard organization to have such a capability. “It is not often for a Guard organization to have a Rabbi,” said Patton, emphasizing the importance of Rozovsky joining the team of D.C. Guard Chaplains. “Beyond the D.C. Guard, this affords us opportunities to be able to support other military agencies within the District,” Patton said.
There are fewer than 20-30 Rabbis in the entire National Guard, Army or Air.
In addition to his desire to minister and help Soldiers and Airmen, Rozovsky decided to become a Rabbi because he was attracted to the rich history and faith in Judaism. “I love being a Rabbi because it enables me to celebrate six thousand years of Jewish culture, philosophy, law, theology, music, and faith,” said Rozovsky. “I am honored to be a Rabbi for the D.C. National Guard. It is an incredible privilege to wear the cloth of our nation and the symbols of the Jewish people and faith. I am fortunate to have both identities on my uniform,” Rozovsky added.
In 2018, Rozovsky was ordained from his seminary, Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). His first year of seminary was in Jerusalem, Israel.
While in Israel, the 14-year Army veteran worked with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) as a liaison officer as part of the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. Rozovsky said his experience helped him learn how the IDF engages master resiliency and post-traumatic stress training. “I loved being in Israel. It’s cultural and religious treasures were, in part, the catalyst that inspired me to want to be a Rabbi,” said the former military police officer.
In addition to his new role as the Deputy DCNG Command Chaplain, Rozovsky is the Rabbi for Beth El Congregation in Winchester, Virginia.
The other new chaplain for the DCNG is Chaplain (Maj.) David Evans. Like Rozovsky, Evans is a prior service Soldier with deployment experience offering religious services to Soldiers and Airmen. The 12-year veteran began his military career as a Chaplain’s assistant, later becoming ordained as an Anglican priest in 2016. “I was raised Roman Catholic and as a child it created the foundations of my faith. Anglicanism provides for me the nexus for maintaining my mostly-catholic roots,” said Evans. He added that he feels fortunate to be placed in a position of counsel for D.C. Guardsmen, offering Anglican religious services within the organization.
Evans accomplished his certification at Asbury Theological Seminary, allowing him to become an Anglican priest.
“I am excited to take on this new role because I like helping people and caring for their religious needs,” said Evans. Particularly, Evans’ said he is looking forward to being a source of comfort and confidential counselling for the organization.
Evans is assigned to the Land Component Command of the DCNG, however will be available to help wherever he can.
“Diversity is in line with the vision of our senior military leaders. Being able to provide the most sacred of services to all of our soldiers and airmen is very important, regardless of religious affiliations,” said Patton.
Evans and Rozovsky are the first of their respective religious practices in the DCNG. They echoed each other when they said that they are here to support the DCNG Soldiers and Airmen in any way they can. That their roles as servant-leaders is for the purpose of uplifting D.C. Guardsmen.
For more information, the Chaplains office can be reached at (202) 685-9848.