A Jewish Army Mom in Iraq for Chanukah

I was just about to click to send out this week’s newsletter when I noticed this letter in my inbox. I just had to share this amazing story, a Jewish mom spending this Chanukah a 16-hour flight away from her husband and 2 kids in Ohio in order to serve the United States serving in the US Army in Iraq.

I’ve lived in Israel long enough to remember Saddam Hussein’s threats and the gas masks and sealed rooms that followed…so as an American-born Israeli I salute Major Judy Sallerson TWICE!

Here’s the letter:

Hi Chana,
I hope this note finds you well.

My name is Monica, and I’m writing on behalf of Operation Tribute to Freedom (OTF), a program out of the U.S. Army Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, created to honor Soldiers serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and to give them opportunities to share their stories of life and service with the American people. I thought you and readers of The JewishMom.com blog might be interested in the story of Maj. Judy Sallerson, a Jewish mom of 2 who is celebrating Chanukah in Iraq this year.

Currently serving as an Engineer Equipment Officer at Camp Liberty, Maj. Sallerson is responsible for supplying several units with the lumber and materials they need to accomplish their missions. While excited for Chanukah, she also recognizes that it will be far different spending it with fellow Soldiers in Iraq than with her husband, Dan, and two children (Danny, 13 and Sammy, 7) in Canton, Ohio.

She explains, “Dan and the boys will be celebrating with me over Skype. They will be lighting Chanukah candles at home while I say the prayer because candles are not allowed here. We will celebrate at sundown in Iraq instead of Ohio this year. The remaining 7 nights, I will celebrate alone by lighting a battery operated Menorah. Some of the guys found out that I didn’t bring a Menorah and they made one for me out of extra PVC pipe. It will be great to take that home and celebrate with it every year. I was also able to order gifts for the boys on-line and I tried to stagger them to arrive one a night for the 8 nights, but I’m not sure how that will work out. My husband and boys have sent me three gifts so far for Chanukah.”

Major Judy Sallerson, you are far from your family, but this Chanukah you will be in the hearts of Jewish moms everywhere. JewishMom.com salutes you!

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