Skip to main content

In its latest slap in the face to its Jewish cadets, the ever-religious-diversity-challenged Air Force Academy this year scheduled its “Commandant’s Challenge,” the most important training day of the semester, on October 5, perfectly timed to fall right smack on Yom Kippur, the most solemn of all Jewish holy days, forcing Jewish cadets to choose between their religion and joining their much-preferred Christian counterparts in a training day that the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) described as “key to advancement within the academy.”

As Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) founder and president Mikey Weinstein wrote last week in his op-ed “Air Force Academy Trashes Jews and Elevates Jesus, Again,” ”The United States Air Force Academy’s upper-level command structure clearly didn’t care to expend the minimal milliseconds it would have taken to do its religious due diligence and deconflict this significant military training event from the solemn religious observances of its cadet population. Thereby it clearly excluded a segment of its student (cadet) population, causing nontrivial, humiliating pain and embarrassment.”

Want an example of the kind of pain and embarrassment that this “scheduling oversight,” as the Academy is quite unconvincingly calling it, caused? Look no further than the following email from the parent of one Jewish cadet who was not only forced to make the agonizing decision to miss Yom Kippur services, but was told by a senior cadet in her chain of command that the issue was her “being Jewish,” suggesting that she at least “make an effort to try Christianity,” inviting her to a Bible study, and telling her that she wouldn’t be “converting away from Judaism” but rather that “Christianity is just enlightened Judaism.” In the words of her parent, this cadet was “humiliated beyond description” and “was more despondent than we’d ever heard her before.”


From: (USAFA cadet’s parent’s E-mail Address withheld)

Subject: Air Force Academy cadet says “Christianity is enlightened Judaism”

Date: October 7, 2022 at 2:45:31 PM MDT

To: Mikey Weinstein <info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>

Hello Mr. Weinstein and all of the fighters at the MRFF.

I am the parent of an Air Force Academy cadet. We are a Jewish family and cannot thank all off you enough for all of the work you do every day to prevent Christian religious extremism and especially nationalism from afflicting our service members.

Our daughter just went through the difficult decision to not attend Yom Kippur services at USAFA because it fell on the “Commandant’s Challenge” day this week.

She is doing very well academically and athletically but her military performance rating needed improvement and she was afraid she would suffer there irreparably if she opted to go to Yom Kippur services and not participate in this “Commandant’s Challenge” day.

In making this decision something horrible happened to her.

She was asking a senior USAFA cadet in her chain of command for his advice as to what to do and he told her that the issue was her “being Jewish”. He suggested she at least “make an effort to try Christianity” and invited her to one of their cadet squadron twice-weekly bible studies which he apparently operates with others.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Our daughter was shocked and immediately told him that she had no interest in changing her Jewish faith. The senior cadet told her in reply that she shouldn’t think of it as “converting away from Judaism” but rather that “Christianity is just enlightened Judaism”!

Our daughter was insulted and humiliated beyond description. This is USAFA’s idea of “Spiritual Fitness”?

This person is in her direct chain of command at USAFA so she politely excused herself from the meeting and went back to her room. She called her dad and me shortly thereafter and was more despondent than we’d ever heard her before.

We were naturally enraged. We asked our daughter to call you as we have signed up to be MRFF clients even before our daughter started at USAFA.

She was afraid of causing more trouble if she did so but approved of us contacting you on her behalf to make sure that the MRFF knew what had happened..

We don’t want the MRFF to do anything other than knowing that matters of Christian religious bullying and antisemitism still happen all the time at USAFA.

Telling our daughter that “Christianity is enlightened Judaism” is but one outrageous example. We can only wonder what my grandparents would think of this as they were both Nazi holocaust survivors of the Dachau and Mathausen concentration camps.

Her father and I wanted Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF staffers to know that we so very much appreciate the public stand you all took on behalf of Jewish cadets and their families during this Yom Kippur scheduling mess with USAFA’s “Commandant’s Challenge”.

USAFA’s excuses as to how this happened are pathetic and only serve to further the aims of wrongful Christian proselytizing at the Academy.

(name of and location of USAFA cadet’s parent withheld)


To disprove the Air Force Academy’s feeble “scheduling oversight” claim, MRFF, on October 6, submitted a FOIA request to the Academy demanding: “All internal documents or communications, electronic or otherwise, between any USAFA faculty or staff regarding concerns, warnings, and/or objections to the scheduling of the ‘Commandant's Training Day’ and/or 'Commandant's Challenge' on October 5, 2022, a date which coincided with the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur.”

While everybody will be talking about anti-Semitism for a few days right now because of Kanye West’s vile news-making tweet, we at MRFF talk about it, think about it, and fight it every single day, and will continue to do so until our military ceases to be the bastion of anti-Semitic Christian supremacy that it currently is.

Crossposted from Military Religious Freedom Foundation