The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 21 May 2005 / 12 Iyyar 5765

An Army Marches on Its MREs

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

"Before we had kosher MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) I used to travel with suitcases full of tuna fish and dried salami and kosher beef jerky all sorts of stuff."

This is how a Jewish chaplain at a Marine Corps Air Base in California describes his battle to observe kashrut while serving in the armed forces. Now he, like other Jewish soldiers, has an opportunity to observe the dietary laws with prepackaged rations produced by a Chicago company.

An interesting sideline to this story is that a spinoff of that company produces MREs for soldiers of the Islamic faith to meet their halal requirements.

Last year the Pentagon ordered 27,000 cases of kosher and 308,000 cases of halal MREs.

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