Rabbi Gorelik sworn in as Colorado National Guard’s newest chaplain

Commissioning ceremony in front of Admin Building

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, center, swore Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik, second from left, into the Colorado National Guard as a Captain, in an Oct. 2 ceremony attended by, from left, State Chaplain Lt. Col. Dave Nagel; Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell; CSU President Joyce McConnell, and Colorado National Guard Brigadier Gen. Scott Sherman, as well as members of Gorelik’s family. Photos by John Eisele, CSU Photography.

Standing at attention and dressed in tan military fatigues, Rabbi Yerachmiel Gorelik was sworn in as a Captain in the Colorado National Guard by Gov. Jared Polis Friday, Oct. 2, at Colorado State University. Gorelik will serve as a Chaplain for the guard, offering spiritual guidance to service members of all faiths.

Gorelik took his oath at a small, socially distanced ceremony on a warm fall afternoon before his family, the Governor, Colorado National Guard Brigadier Gen. Scott Sherman, State Chaplain Lt. Col. Dave Nagel, CSU President Joyce McConnell and Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell.

“As your Commander-in-Chief, thank you, Rabbi Gorelik, for your willingness to serve,” Gov. Polis told him. “I thank you for being there for the challenge of meeting the spiritual needs of our guardsmen.”

Nagel said Gorelik will be the only rabbi in anyone’s memory to serve as a chaplain in the Colorado National Guard. Gorelik had contacted Nagel and after speaking to him, Nagel said: “We just had to have him.”

For Gorelik, entrance into the Guard is a way that he can not only help fellow Coloradans but nurture himself and the community spiritually in a natural extension of his communal outreach work. He noted that when times are tough, the best way to lift your spirits is to help others, a message that deeply resonated today.

“It’s an honor to serve and I hope that it inspires others of ways to give and live higher than self,” he said.

Deep commitment

Photos by John Eisele, CSU Photography

McConnell noted Gorelik’s years of service to the University and the Northern Colorado region and his deep commitment to supporting Jewish students at CSU.

“Rabbi Gorelik is simply one of a kind, and we are so grateful to have him as part of our community,” McConnell said. “He is an excellent addition to the Colorado National Guard and we are just so proud of his spirit and willingness to serve.”

Troxell talked about his personal friendship with Rabbi Gorelik, noting that he is a valued leader in the city of Fort Collins, driven to make community better.

“His strength of character and passion for the community are deeply respected by the people,” Troxell said. “I am so proud of what you do for  our community but also for our state and nation.”

Gorelik has been an adjunct faculty member in the CSU Department of Philosophy for 15 years and the recipient of the University’s Best Teacher and Outstanding Faculty Advisor awards. He is faculty advisor for the Chabad Jewish Student Association, AEPi Jewish fraternity, SAEPi Jewish sorority and Students for Holocaust Awareness Week. He also serves as the rabbi and director of the Chabad Jewish Center of Northern Colorado.