Pittsburgh native Rabbi Elie Estrin, 35, became the U.S. Air Force’s second bearded officer last week, nearly a year after being sworn in as its first bearded chaplain, according to The Jerusalem Post.
“It reflects on the community and on the leadership provided by the Lubavitcher Rebbe,” said Estrin’s father, Leibel, from his Squirrel Hill home, where he lives with his wife and Estrin’s mother, Frieda. “Pittsburgh is an ideal place to raise kids, and I think his sense of fairness, rightness, morality and idealism is a reflection on Pittsburgh.”
Leibel Estrin added that Rabbi Estrin’s brother is a medical chaplain at Emory Medical Center in Atlanta, making their work “a family affair.”
Estrin is the director of a Chabad House on the University of Washington campus in Seattle and described his work for the armed services to The Jerusalem Post as “a logical extension of his existing service to the Jewish community.”
In his 11 years serving the Jewish student community at the University of Washington, Estrin told the paper, more than a dozen of the students he and his wife had built a rapport with went on to join the military.
Josh Marks writes for Washington Jewish Week. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.