Jews in WW2 Draft?

Orthodox Jews nowadays rarely serve in the US (or Israeli) militaries. Giving them a pass is a luxury we can afford nowadays.

In WW2 were American Orthodox Jews drafted? If so, what sort of accommodation was made for them?

I object to the “giving them a pass” language in the OP. The U.S. has an all volunteer force. Nobody is given a pass. People sign up, or they don’t.

In addition not all Orthodox Jews object to military service-only the ultra/borderline insanely Orthodox ones, that make the Amish look mainstream.

Wow, attempting to research that comes up with a fair number of sites I have no interest in clicking on. Google even gives me an Offensive Search Results warning.

Best I can find without wading through the minefield is that Jews were drafted just like anyone else.

Of course (I presume) there were many fewer Orthodox Jews in the US in (say) 1940.

Lighten up. He only said we could afford to give them a pass (presumably if the draft was re-instated). He made no claim that it was happening.

On the other hand, there is no need to decribe anyone as “borderline insanely Orthodox.” The thread is way too new to be raising hackles when there is not even a debate, yet.

[ /Moderating ]

Why would you think Orthodox Jews wouldn’t be drafted? :dubious: One of my grandfathers was an Orthodox Jew as were his five brothers. They were very close in age. Five of the brothers were drafted and served in WW2. One didn’t for reasons apparently having to do with some sort of physical defect that made him ineligible just like any other American with that defect.

When Orthodox (or any other Jews for that matter) were drafted, were they sent preferentially to the Pacific Front? Sort of like those Japanese who served were sent to the European front (except of course for different reasons.)

Actually, I was sort of wondering about the beard thing.

Why? If anything it gave them more motive to fight.

My grandfather, who was Jewish, served with the Eighth Air Force and participated in bombing runs over Magdeburg, Germany. I’ve since heard the stories of other Jewish-American servicemen (and a few women) who served in Europe, as well, so there were Jews in Europe. To my knowledge, Jewish personnel were not assigned based on their religion; they were sent where their particular branch needed them.

That being said, any individual Orthodox Jews who objected to military service were perfectly free to apply for conscientious objector status, which would have kept them stateside doing some useful non-military war work. Their status and beliefs as pacifists would bolster their claim.

I had always assumed Israel has neven allowed exemption from military duty on religious grounds.
I was astonished to learn otherwise from the first google hit:

Israel drops military exemption for ultra-Orthodox Jews

(From link, dateline 8/1/12):

It also, potentially, placed them in more danger if they were captured. In fact, several were separated from their units, after capture, and sent to the Buchenwald sub-camp, Berga. I do not know whether this was routine or one of those odd incidents that the nazis occasionally sprung on people.
I have never heard that Jews were preferentially sent to Europe instead of the Pacific, however. An awful lot of G.I.s in Europe were Jewish.

Yeah, that is sort of what inspired the OP. I try to keep up on the Israeli news.

Indeed, it has been a major political issue in Israel for years, and the cause of considerable social friction.

In answer to the OP - the issue is basically a relatively modern and specifically Israeli one. When the exemption was enacted, it was never intended to create a whole exempt class. That it did was due to the weird workings of the Israeli political system. None of this would have had an impact on a WW2 draft board.

Mel Brooks was drafted in WWII, and served in France. Don’t know if its possible to be more Jewish than Mel Brooks.

Sounds like a bad SNL skit. Who is more Jewish than Mel Brooks?

Ricardo Montalban or Fernando Lamas?

[Homer Simpson]Mel Brooks is Jewish?[/Homer Simpson]

A great SNL skit would be about the Kosher Commandos: Mel Brooks, Jackie Mason, Lenny Bruce, Jerry Lewis and Morey Amsterdam.