A new OU Kosher product is in the marketplace, and it has proven so popular that it has “sold out” even before its existence was officially announced.
The product in question is not food, but it is certainly OU Kosher. As the newest entry in its expanding array of kosher education programs, the OU Kashrus Division for the first time this summer will offer the Harry H. Beren ASK OU Guided Tour of OU Kosher Meat Production. Limited to a class of 20, the program has already filled all of its seats; other applicants are on a waiting list.
The seminar will run from July 27-29 (Monday to Wednesday) at OU headquarters in New York. It is directed to select Bnei Torah and Bnei Yeshiva learning Chulin and Yoreh De’ah. To qualify for acceptance, students must have semicha, be studying for semicha, or learning in kollel.
Several fliers left in Brooklyn and Lakewood by Rabbi Yosef Grossman, OU Kosher Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator, and word of mouth, filled the program even before an official announcement was made.
The intensive three-day program will feature:
- In-depth shiurim from renowned schechita experts;
- Tours of Empire Poultry and Real Kosher, a meat processing plant;
- Observation of schechita, nikkur and melicha;
- Meeting with OU Kosher’s “Meat Team.”
The faculty will feature Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher; Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher; Rabbi Aharon Goldmuntzer, Dayan, New Square; Rabbi Nosson Goldberg, OU Kosher Rabbinic Coordinator; Rabbi Yoel Rokeach, lead schochet at Empire Kosher Poultry (who was trained in poultry schechita by Rabbi Goldberg); and Rabbi Moshe Klarberg, Senior OU Rabbinic Coordinator and head of the OU Meat Team.
In addition to tours of the two facilities, the seminar will address USDA concerns when they conflict with kosher; running a kosher poultry plant; insights into schechita, treifos ofos, melicha, and the challenges of national hashgacha on schechita.
“It gives us great pleasure to provide this much-needed service to the Jewish community. In the few days that we have unofficially publicized the program we have been overwhelmed by the great interest it has generated throughout all segments of the Orthodox community,” declared Rabbi Grossman, who organizes all of the Beren ASK OU programs for kollels, yeshivos and communities.
Rabbi Genack concurred. “The Harry S. Beren ASK OU programs have developed a wide following throughout all segments of the Orthodox world. It is no wonder then that this program, which deals with an extremely complex aspect of the halachos of meat, should ‘sell out’ even before it was announced. The need for a program devoted to meat and the popularity of ASK OU combined to create this extraordinary result.”
Rabbi Klarberg, who directs the OU Meat Team, emphasized the need for the program. “The study of Chulin and Yoreh De’ah is largely an academic – and almost only theoretical – pursuit, now that our daily lives are so detached from the realities of food production. This holds true for all types of food manufacture, but so much more when dealing specifically with meat production. Schechitah, treifos, melicha, and even the simple anatomy of a cow or chicken, are all inaccessible to the yeshiva and kollel student who wish to understand the depth, practicalities and applications of these subjects.
“The OU realizes the importance of bringing these realities to the serious kashrus student, and has set up this program to share its expertise and knowledge with those who wish to enhance and expand their understanding of this field of kashrus. In this vein the program will consist of shiurim from experts from within the OU, experts from the OU’s partner kashrus agencies, as well as field trips to major producers of kosher meat and poultry.”
Rabbi Grossman looks forward to offering program again in the future.
For further information on ASK OU programs, contact Rabbi Grossman at 212-613-8212; firstname.lastname@example.org or Rabbi Eli Eleff, OU Kosher Rabbinic Coordinator and Consumer Relations Administrator, at 212.613.8352; EleffE@ou.org.