Captain (Rabbi) Noteh Glogauer confesses that joining the Canadian Armed Forces was not that difficult a decision for him to make. In fact, you could say it was destiny, or, in Yiddish, “beshert”.
He comes from a military family. “I’m the fourth consecutive family member to serve wherever we have lived,” says Captain Glogauer, whose formal attesting (enrolment) ceremony was held on November 29, 2017, at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruiting Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba, is his first posting, and he still has to complete his basic training. “We are blessed to be able to welcome to Winnipeg our first military rabbi to the chaplain team,” said Major Hope Winfield, wing chaplain. “At chaplain cervices we are already working on plans for Captain Glogauer to provide various team opportunities for those who wish to learn more about the Jewish faith or areas for spiritual accommodation as leaders.”
“My father served with the South African Defence Forces in 1961,” says Captain Glogauer, who was born in South Africa into a traditional Jewish family. “South African soldiers who went up to North Africa to fight with the Allies against the Germans during the Second World War. My maternal great-grandfather fought for Germany in the First World War. He won the Iron Cross, first- and third-class. He dragged two injured officers back into the trenches. He was shot in the head but survived.”
Rabbi Glogauer is eager to embark on his new adventure as a full-time chaplain. He maintains that one of his most crucial challenges as a chaplain will be, as he said during his attesting ceremony, “providing support in such a diverse, interfaith, multicultural setting such as the Canadian Armed Forces, at the same time offering spiritual care to Jewish members and their families” posted to 17 Wing.
“I have been fortunate to have had experiences in many diverse settings and am excited to meet different people of varying backgrounds and engage them in an environment of mutual respect and tolerance,” he adds.
Rabbi Glogauer and his wife, Chaya, who has a PhD in clinical psychology and is currently working at Sick Kids Children’s Hospital in Toronto, have two daughters and a son, ages 14 to 24. His parents immigrated to Canada and settled in Calgary, Alberta, more than 40 years ago to escape the oppressive apartheid regime, Rabbi Glogauer writes in his 2016 book “Never Give Up – A Journey from Class Clown to School Principal”.
“Drawn into a career in teaching, he realizes that to promote ideas on education—nurturing individuality, striving for personal excellence, innovation, cooperation and sharing—he needs to become a school principal himself, to be the role model embodying the core values of the institution,” reads the summary on the book’s back cover. “But to be principal of an Orthodox school he must be ordained a rabbi. In achieving his ambition, Glogauer and his own young family embark on a tortuous odyssey across the continent….”
When it came time for his wife to take an internship as a psychologist, the family moved to Houston, Texas. “I taught for a year in a Jewish school,” says Captain Glogauer, who has an undergraduate degree in French language and mathematics from the University of Calgary. “I had a huge realization that the only way I could change things in the Jewish school system was as a rabbi. So, after my wife completed the internship in 1996, we moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1997 for me to study for rabbinical ordination.”
It took him 18 months to attain his ordination at a Yeshiva (academy) at Chabad-Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn. In fact, Captain Glogauer reveals, he received “a double ordination” – in New York and in Israel.
“I had two major opportunities, in Las Vegas and in Calgary,” he says. “Through a lot of soul-searching, we chose Calgary. I was principal at Akiva Academy. From there, I was recruited to become principal of a larger school in Port Washington, Long Island, New York.” He…