In Korea, Lieutenant Hanoch Fields was the only Jewish chaplain in the country. Among his duties to soldiers and civilians, he offered pastoral counseling, performed services and worked with the Equal Opportunity branch of the government on issues like intolerance.
Rabbi Fields is now the new spiritual leader of Congregation Har Shalom, the only Jewish synagogue in Larimer County. According to a press release, the synagogue “serves not only the Jewish population of northern Colorado; (but also part of) Wyoming.”
Fields became a rabbi eight years ago. Besides serving in the U.S. Army as a Jewish chaplain, Fields has also served in the Israeli Army and is an active bicycle rider and skydiver.
“I’m not the image a lot of people have of their rabbi,” Field said.
Fields turned down four other positions before deciding to move to Fort Collins. He believed Fort Collins would have good educational opportunities for his children and that he could relate to the Jewish community in Fort Collins better than in other communities.
“One of the things that I have liked about the Rabbi is that he chose Har Shalom because he wasn’t just looking for a synagogue that he could lead,” said Hedy Berman, director of Hillel at CSU. “He was looking for a sense of community.”
Fields is also excited about doing outreach programs with CSU students. Beginning on Sept. 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Fields will meet with students interested in learning more about Judaism in a sukkah, a booth that acted as temporary shelters for Jews in biblical times, during “Lunch and Learn” sessions. During these meetings, students will choose the topics that they wish to discuss with Fields.
The first “Lunch and Learn” falls on the Jewish holiday Sukkot and will have a special theme.
“The theme for the first “Lunch and Learn,” to go with the Sukkot holiday, will be how to create a sense of home no matter where you are,” Berman said.
Congregation Har Shalom has services on Friday night and Saturday morning. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people (this year, Sept. 15), Har Shalom will hold a service at 6:30 p.m. Students wishing to attend this service can meet a carpool group at the entrance of the Lory Student Center at 6:10 p.m. to attend the service.