Dr. Drazin, born in 1935, received three rabbinical degrees in 1957, a B.A. in Theology in 1957, an M.Ed. in Psychology in 1966, a JD in Law in 1974, an M.A. in Hebrew Literature in 1978, and a Ph.D. with honors in Aramaic Literature in 1981. Thereafter, he completed two years of post-graduate study in both Philosophy and Mysticism and graduated the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College and its War College for generals in 1985.
Brigadier General Drazin entered Army Active Duty, at age 21, as the youngest U.S. Chaplain ever to serve on active duty. He served on active duty from 1957 to 1960 in Louisiana and Germany, and then joined the active reserves and soldiered, in increasing grades, with half a dozen units. From 1978 until 1981, he lectured at the US Army Chaplains School on legal subjects. In March 1981, the Army requested that he take leave from civil service and return to active duty to handle special constitutional issues. He was responsible for preparing the defense in the trial challenging the constitutionality of the Army Chaplaincy. The military chaplaincies of all the uniformed services, active and reserve, as well as the Veteran’s Administration, were attacked utilizing a constitutional rationale and could have been disbanded. The Government won the action in 1984 and Drazin was awarded the prestigious Legion of Merit. Drazin returned to civilian life and the active reserves in 1984 as Assistant Chief of Chaplains, the highest reserve officer position available in the Army Chaplaincy with the rank of Brigadier General. He was the first Jewish person to serve in this capacity in the U.S. Army. During his military career, he revolutionized the role of military chaplains making them officers responsible for the free exercise of rights of all military personnel; requiring them to provide for the needs of people of all faiths as well as atheists. General Drazin completed this four-year tour of duty with honors in March 1988, culminating a total of 31 years of military duty.
Israel Drazin graduated from law school in 1974 and immediately began a private practice. He handled virtually all manners of suits including; domestic, criminal, bankruptcy, accident, and contract cases. He joined with his son in 1993 and formed offices in Columbia and Dundalk, Maryland. Dr. Drazin stopped actively practicing law in 1997, after 23 years.
Israel Drazin joined the U.S. Civil Service in 1962 after his active duty service and remained a civil service employee, with occasional leave for military duty until retirement in 1990. At retirement, he accumulated 31 years of creditable service. During his U.S. Civil Service career, he held many positions; including, being an Equal Opportunity Consultant in the 1960s (advising insurance company top executives regarding civil rights and equal employment) and the head of Medicare’s Civil Litigation Staff (supervising a team of lawyers who handled suits filed by and against the government’s Medicare program). He also served as the director for all Maryland’s Federal Agencies’ relationship with the United Fund.
Dr. Drazin was ordained as a rabbi in 1957 at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, Maryland and subsequently received semichot from two other rabbis. He entered on Army active duty in 1957. He left active duty in 1960 and officiated as a weekend rabbi at several synagogues, including being the first rabbi in Columbia, Maryland. He continued the uninterrupted weekend rabbinical practice until 1974 and then officiated as a rabbi on an intermittent basis until 1987. His rabbinical career totaled 30 years.
Israel Drazin is the author of fifty-four books, some in the process of being published, more than 500 popular and scholarly articles, and over 6,300 book and movie reviews that appear on Amazon and other sites. He wrote a book about the case he handled for the US Army, edited two books on legends by his father, children’s books with his daughter, and many scholarly books on the philosopher Maimonides and on the Aramaic translation of the Bible. His websites is www.booksnthoughts.com and he publishes two essays on this site every week as well as on Times of Israel and the San Diego Jewish World.
Philanthropy and Lectures
Philanthropy: Dr. Drazin served as the Executive Director of the Jim Joseph Foundation, a charitable foundation that gives money to support Jewish education, for just over four years, from September 2000 to November 2004.
Lectures: Dr. Drazin delivered lectures at Howard Community College, Lynn University, and the US Army Chaplains School, and continues to give lectures to military chaplains.
Memberships and Awards
Brigadier General Drazin was chosen in 2019 for the prestigious Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He is admitted to practice law in Maryland, the Federal Court, and before the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of several attorney Bar Associations and the Rabbinical Council of America. He was honored with many military awards, the RCA 1985 Joseph Hoenig Memorial Award, and the Jewish Welfare Board 1986 Distinguished Service Award. Mayor Kurt Schmoke, of Baltimore, Maryland, named February 8, 1988 “Israel Drazin Day.” A leading Baltimore Synagogue named him “Man of the Year” in 1990. He is included in the recent editions of Who’s Who in World Jewry, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in Biblical Studies and Archaeology, Marquis Who’s Who of 2019, and other Who’s Who volumes.