In time for the upcoming High Holy Days, and in response to the request of military chaplains, the Orthodox Union (OU) has shipped 300 copies of the famed NCSY Bencher to American Jewish soldiers stationed abroad. The chaplains’ request was conveyed to the OU by Koshertroops.com, an organization dedicated to sending kosher food and holiday gift baskets to the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea and wherever they may be found outside of the United States.
Over one and a half million copies of The NCSY Bencher have been distributed since its first printing, making it one of the best-selling Judaica publications of all time. The iconic OU/NCSY publication contains all the mealtime blessings, prayers and songs recited everyday, on Shabbat and on Jewish holidays, as well as the blessings after a meal and a wide range of songs. It is an immensely popular choice for use at weddings, bar/bat mitzvah and other celebrations.
NCSY is the international youth program of the Orthodox Union.
According to Ava Hamburger of Rockland County, NY, co-founder of Koshertroops with Sara Fuerst, also of Rockland, “We are contacted weekly by soldiers and chaplains who need our help. The soldiers unite around the holidays and look forward to our shipments of food and religious items. During their deployment, many of them reconnect with their Jewish heritage and it brings them comfort. This is a huge mitzvah.”
David Olivestone, Senior Communications Officer of the Orthodox Union, who edited and translated The NCSY Bencher in 1982, said, “It is very gratifying to hear that the Bencher is in such demand. We are delighted to have the opportunity to provide copies to our troops who are away from their families and communities serving their country. There is no doubt that being so far away during the High Holy Days adds to their isolation, and so we hope that the Bencher can help bolster their confidence and faith, and help them understand that our prayers are with them.”