OU’s commitment to kashrut consumer and professional education continued to grow in depth and breadth with more than 30 one-day programs at yeshivas, kollelim, schools, synagogues, and community organizations. Educational programming in Israel was increased, and a community program took place in Mexico City.
The ASK OU Kashrus Training Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to immerse yourself in the intricacies of halacha and kashrus. Participants can see the theoretical concepts in Yoreh Deah come to life.”
Both a three-week internship and a weeklong educational program were offered for those interested in an in-depth, expert-level understanding of kashrus. Presentations and field visits brought kashrus to life in an applied, real-life setting. The program was sponsored by Lakewood’s Harry H. Beren Foundation. The ASK OU Summer Program, which began in the 1990s, has more than 1,000 alumni.
How to Be an Excellent Mashgiach, The Mesorah of Birds, The Meat Industry, Red Flag Ingredients, and Oils and Emulsifiers.
The programs took place at the Orthodox Union, and at restaurants, factories, an industrial kitchen equipment showroom, slaughterhouses, and a winery, with the opportunity to meet with field specialists. As part of the comprehensive study of kashrus, the internship program included an overnight stay near a site that participants visited.
The ASK OU cohort included an incredible group of talmidei chachamim, coming from some of the finest institutions.”
Ahavas Torah, Henderson, NV
Congregation Etz Chaim of Flatbush, NY
Jersey Shore Orthodox Rabbinate Ladies Auxiliary - Oakhurst, NJ
Kehillas Bais Yehuda Tzvi, Cedarhurst, NY
OU SPIRIT for Retirees Young Israel of Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA
Hillel @ The College of Staten Island, NY
Gourmet Glatt – Cedarhurst, NY
Gourmet Glatt – Woodmere, NY
Ateres Bais Yaakov, Monsey, NY
Bais Yaakov D’Rav Hirsch, Monsey, NY
Ezra Academy, Forest Hills, NY
Las Vegas Bais Medrash, Las Vegas, NV
Beth Medrash Govoah, Lakewood, NJ
Kollel Ohr Halacha, Lakewood, NJ
Kolel Maor Abraham, Mexico City, Mexico
Torah Day School of Las Vegas, NV
Mirrer Yeshiva Ketana, Brooklyn, NY
Nefesh Academy, Brooklyn, NY
Torah Academy of the Pacific Northwest – Seattle, WA
Yeshiva Ketana of Queens, NY
Yeshiva Ohr Simcha of Englewood, NJ
Yeshiva of North Jersey, River Edge, NJ
In May 2022, over 150 OU rabbinic field representatives and rabbinic coordinators gathered in Tarrytown, NY, to meet and learn from each other through shared insights, discussions about techniques, and updates on industry trends. Special guests included HaRav Hillel David, shlit”a.
Averaging over 200 inquiries per day throughout the year and close to 1,000 a day during the Passover season, calls to the OU Kosher Hotline continue to climb, along with emails to Webbe Rebbe and questions posted on social media. Inquiries range from current certification queries to complicated issues requiring real-time assistance.
In the month preceding Passover, traffic to OU Kosher’s website increases by over 300%, and hotline hours are expanded to meet the demand as questions flood in through all channels.
Features in this year’s issue included:
in addition to finding product information, the OU Kosher App also contains information to help you learn more about:
OU Kosher certifies several appliances including GE refrigerators and ovens with “Enhanced Shabbos Mode” to be used with the Shabbos Keeper.
This daily newsletter offers a Q&A on the laws of kashrus and daily living, with over 1,200 questions in the online archive. Subscribers are encouraged to send in their own questions on kashrus issues.
The RFR conference is about professional development, because food production is in a constant state of flux. And as we learned from the pandemic, it’s not enough to stay up-to-date. We need to be creative and stay ahead.”
The company did not want OU DE, they wanted OU Pareve because they understand the importance for their market. So, we had to figure out how to produce a non-dairy product in a dairy facility. That is no simple task.”
Precautions in the Workplace discussed staying safe in the various environments and conditions rabbinic field representatives regularly encounter.
Innovation in Plant-based Products explored the practicalities of kashrut for products that are changing from dairy to parve.
An Overview of European Kashrut addressed the language, cultural, and travel challenges of supervising the OU Kosher certified facilities.
OU Kosher Israel Operations included an important update on the growing number of companies exporting food products to Israel.
OU Kosher headquarters runs around the clock in every one of the world’s time zones, stopping only for Shabbat and holidays. Mashgichim or rabbinic field representatives (RFRs) who work in the field do it at great personal sacrifice, often spending days and weeks on the road away from family and community.
The experience of a mashgiach traveling in Europe through many countries, cultures, and languages, is quite different from that of their U.S. counterparts. Kosher food is not as accessible in Europe, and some
certified companies choose not to put a kosher symbol on their product. In Europe there is little awareness of kashrut, which can present a challenge when educating plant employees. Despite all this, OU Kosher has seen significant growth in Europe.
Responsible food production and innovative plant- based products are an exploding trend. Here are just a few examples.