HALFWAY around the world, a Jewish Marine is enjoying many of the traditional foods and customs of Passover, thanks to a Christian in Oklahoma who has “adopted” him as one of her own.
Sherri Jackson, a Christian who lives in Norman said she envisions Lance Cpl. Eric Spector sampling some of the goodies she sent him as Passover begins at sundown Monday.
The eight-day Jewish holiday commemorates the Israelites’ redemption from Egypt.
Jackson, a member of St. Benedict Russian Orthodox Church, 3900 Jones Blvd., said Spector is one of a few military members that she has befriended through various outreach organizations, including Adopt A US Soldier, a nonprofit based in Englewood, Colo. She said she started out sending care packages to a family friend who was stationed overseas, and when he returned home for good, she decided to continue her efforts for others serving their country in foreign lands.
“Our men and women over there are sacrificing their lives for us,” said Jackson, 62. “They are away from their family and friends and modern conveniences, a lot of them, so I think it’s important for them to know how much we care.”
Jackson said she adopted Spector, a Californian, through Adopt A US Soldier in February, and she didn’t learn that he was Jewish until she began asking him via email about his favorite Easter traditions.
Jackson, a busy grandmother of four, said Easter, set for April 20, is an important holiday in her Christian faith tradition, and she had assumed that it might also be a significant holiday for Spector, who is serving in Afghanistan.
When he told her he observed Passover, she said she made a commitment to send him some items related to the Jewish holiday, which she thought she knew a little about.
“I thought I knew something about the Jewish religion, but it turned out I didn’t know nothing!” she said, laughing.
Jackson said she turned to the Internet for information but realized that she didn’t quite understand all of the concepts associated with the holiday. She said she called Emanuel Synagogue and talked to Rabbi Abby Jacobson, the synagogue’s spiritual leader, and Frances Marwil, the synagogue’s gift shop manager. The two women not only provided her with knowledge but some items to go in Spector’s Passover box.
“Passover is one of those times where people feel farthest from home because they associate it with family and growing up with big Passover Seders. It’s a time associated with happy memories,” Jacobson said.