Rabbi Marvin Tokayer
My dream was to be a stand-up comedian, but I never brought the house down. Instead, in 1962 I became a rabbi.
Seniors in rabbinical school were informed that all of us would be serving as chaplains in the U.S. military after ordination. I joined the Air Force, was sent to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, for basic training and received my orders for assignment to southern Japan. My assignment also included monthly duty in Korea and, eventually, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and even Viet Nam, where I was responsible for the Jewish servicemen at the Navy, Marine and Air Force bases.
After I completed two years of active service, I returned to the US and served as a rabbi first at a synagogue in Queens, New York, and later in Great Neck, New York.
In 1968, married and expecting our first child, my wife and I returned to Japan, where we remained for eight years. During most of this time I was the only English-speaking, university-trained rabbi from India to Japan and everywhere in between, and the experience changed my life.
Ellen Rodman, PhD
Ellen Rodman, Ph.D, is a writer/producer and president of LN Productions LLC, a production and media consulting company based in New York. LN Productions has produced special projects, biographies and other programs for ABC, Groups W, Lifetime and other cable networks. Prior to founding LN Productions, Rodman served as an executive at NBC and at Group W.
For several years Rodman covered family entertainment for The New York Times and she coauthored The New York Times Guide to Children’s Entertainment (with Richard Flaste). She is also the author of numerous articles in diverse publications on subjects ranging from culture and media to education and health.