Abraham Chill

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Rabbi Abraham Chill (March 30, 1912 – April 20, 2004) was the first rabbi at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. He was born in NYC and attended Yeshiva University and the City College of New York. In 1935, he received his rabbinic ordination from Chief Rabbi Kook in Jerusalem and from the Lomza Yeshiva in Petach Tikvah, Israel. In 1941, immediately after Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the United States Army. In 1945, after holding pre-war pulpits in Newburgh, NY and Nashville, TN he became rabbi of Congregation Sons of Abraham in Providence, RI, a position he held until his retirement in 1969.

In 1946 he was National Chaplain of the Jewish War Veterans of the US, as well as National Chaplain of the American Legion in 1948. He was an active member of the Rabbinical Council of America, serving as president of the North-Eastern Region, and later as national secretary of the Council.

He is the author of the book "The Mitzvot: The Commandments and Their Rationale" which was first published in 1974. Here he explains in detail all 613 Commandments, 365 negative and 248 positive. He also authored three other books, the "Minahagim" on Jewish customs, the "Sidrot" on the Torah reading of the week and the "Abarbanel on Pirke Avot" a famous commentary on "Ethics of the Fathers."

In the early 1960s, at the request of his good friend United States Senator John O. Pastore (D.R.I.) he was accorded the honor of opening a session of the United States Senate with a prayer. Whenever Senator Pastore came to Israel on Senate business, he visited Rabbi Chill whom he considered to be a close friend and confidant.

He was also a 32nd Degree Mason and a Shriner.

At his funeral in Jerusalem, he was eulogized by Rabbi Israel Hutner the editor-in-chief of the "Encyclopedia Talmudit," who was for many years, his Talmudic study mate. He is interred in Mount of Olives in Jerusalem overlooking the Temple Mount. He was survived by two children, a son Daniel Chill and a daughter Deanne Shapiro and numerous grandchildren.