Anchoring Dietary Needs: U.S. Navy Partners with OU for Streamlined Kosher Meal Access

The Orthodox Union’s (OU) commitment to ensuring kosher food is available to servicemen is not a new endeavor but is deeply rooted in its history. The collaboration with the U.S. Navy and the Aleph Institute to address the complexities of supplying kosher meals on Navy vessels is but the latest chapter in this enduring legacy. 

OU Kosher and US NavyFor the uninitiated, the task of providing kosher meals might seem trivial, but the logistics are often anything but simple. Navy ships, designed for efficiency and functionality, have inherent limitations. Space is a premium, and regular resupply opportunities can be scarce. When you factor in the specific requirements of kosher food storage and preparation, the challenge becomes even more pronounced. This is where the Aleph Institute, which initiated an assessment in 2019, saw the need for an expert in the field. Naturally, they turned to the OU for assistance. 

Rabbi Eli Eleff, OU Kosher’s managing director of community relations, and Rabbi Daniel Sharratt, OU Kosher’s rabbinic coordinator, took the lead in this collaboration. After in-depth discussions with kosher-keeping Sailors and inspections of various Navy vessels, they compiled invaluable feedback. This culminated in a comprehensive report aimed at Naval supply officers, chaplains, and Jewish sailors. The report demystifies the process of requisitioning kosher supplies and outlines the strategies to secure kosher meals across different classes of vessels. 

But this isn’t the OU’s first foray into ensuring kosher food accessibility for those in service. Over the years, the Orthodox Union has been at the forefront of supporting Jewish servicemen in the army and other branches of the military. From advocating for kosher Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) to ensuring the availability of Kosher for Passover kits, the OU has worked tirelessly to make sure that those who serve don’t have to compromise their dietary observances. 

The OU’s commitment isn’t limited to the U.S. alone. With their extensive certification network and partnerships with food manufacturers, the ripple effect of their efforts has been felt globally. By championing the benefits of kosher certification, the OU has facilitated the proliferation of kosher products worldwide, indirectly aiding military personnel in various countries. 

In essence, the Orthodox Union’s endeavors reflect more than just an organizational mission. They embody a deeply held belief that those who sacrifice and serve their nations should never have to forgo their religious dietary practices. Today’s collaboration with the Navy and the Aleph Institute is a testament to this belief and the OU’s unwavering commitment to the cause. As the landscape of military service evolves, one can be assured that the Orthodox Union will continue its legacy of support, ensuring that kosher food remains accessible to all who serve. 

Gary Magder