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Holiday treats for troops

Capt. Irving Elson, a chaplain with I Marine Expeditionary Force, lights the menorah aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif.

If you are stationed in Kabul, how do you get Hanukkah gelt? Finding kosher-for-Passover chocolate or matzah ball soup mix is not easy when you are in Japan or aboard a ship for Passover. Having hamentaschen at Purim may not be possible if you are in Kuwait.

Yet receiving a holiday care package brings small tastes of home to the Jewish men and women of the United States armed services who are serving in far off and lonely places.

The JWB Jewish Chaplains Council tries to bring these tastes of home to them. One of the many services the council provides to deployed Jewish men and women in the U.S. armed services is a holiday care package. Throughout the year, JWB sends hundreds of packages that contain kosher treats, information about the holidays and updates on ways to connect with JWB. Often, cards and letters from Jewish communities around the country are included in these packages, thanking these men and women for their service. JWB sends holiday care packages at Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, and Shavuot. Chaplains who are deployed or stationed in remote areas can request a set of lulav and etrog for their community’s use during Sukkot.

A soldier in Afghanistan writes, “Thank you for sending the wonderful Hanukkah care package to me in Afghanistan. Your package helped make the holiday great. Being away from friends and family during the holidays is rough but people like you make it easier. Thanks for the support.”

JWB Jewish Chaplains Council is proud to make these packages available to Jews in the military. For more information on the program and sending cards for the care packages, contact Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky, JWB deputy director for programming. Donations to support this program can be made on our website.

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