Harry H. Beren OU Kosher Summer Program For Kashrut Professionals Now Accepting Applications

16 Apr 2008


At the time of year when elite colleges are informing applicants whether they have been accepted for admission in the fall, OU Kosher is beginning the application process for its own elite education program, Harry H. Beren ASKOU9, to be held when the incoming freshmen will be setting out for their new campuses.

The purpose of ASKOU9 is to educate the new generation of kashrut professionals or to provide background for those who will not practice kashrut certification full time, but who will benefit in their daily work from advanced kosher education. As in past years, many of the full time professionals are expected to work for large kosher certification agencies or for their local Vaad HaKashrut.

ASKOU9 (Advanced Seminars on Kashrut), held every other summer and now in its ninth cycle, consists of two separate courses of study: A three-week internship providing intensive kashrut education to 10-20 participants, which will be held from August 11-29; and a one week-program, providing an overview of the field for as many as 65 applicants, which will be held from August 25-29. The internship participants will also take the one-week session.

As is the case with elite colleges which draw students from far and wide, applicants will come from all over North America, from Israel, and from other overseas Jewish communities as well. In fact, two members of an advanced Talmudic Institute in Berlin, who came from the Soviet Union, have already been accepted into this year’s internship program. And as with the Ivy League and other prestigious groves of academe, the admissions process is competitive. A solid background in Jewish education is needed to be considered for entry into the program.

The ASKOU three-week program graduated its 500th student in the summer of 2006.

Funding for ASKOU9 comes from the Harry H. Beren Foundation of Lakewood, NJ. The Beren Foundation provides financial support to a wide variety of OU kashrut education programs for all levels of knowledge and ages.

According to Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Orthodox Union Director of Kashrut Education and ASKOU, the three-week internship is intended for semicha (rabbinical) students or members of a kollel for post-rabbinic education, who intend to practice kashrut supervision for a living. They will receive a $300 stipend.
The one-week session is intended for congregational rabbis, semicha students, kollel members or members of a local Vaad HaKashrut certifying organization, who take the program to refine their skills for use in their communities. Registration for the one-week program is $75.

Both the three-week and one-week programs will consist of classes and demonstrations held at OU Kosher headquarters in New York, taught by OU senior rabbis and visiting experts, together with field visits to plants certified by the OU. The three-week program, Rabbi Grossman explains, will be a more intensive version of the one-week session.

“ASKOU9 will take participants behind the scenes at the world’s largest kosher certification agency and give students the opportunity to witness the cutting edge of modern day kosher food technology,” declared Rabbi Grossman. He emphasized that although “kosher law is immutable, the technology is continually evolving, and OU expertise evolves with it.”

The programs will include:

• How to set up a local Vaad HaKashrut;

• Basic treibering (the removal of veins and fats);

• Kosher issues related to bakeries, butcher stores, fish stores, pizza parlors, restaurants, and other food service establishments;

• Factory supervision;

• The basics of ingredients and biotechnology;

• The halacha (law) of practical kashrut; and

• How to perform industrial and retail koshering.

Participants will visit the kitchen of an OU restaurant, a meat processing facility under OU supervision, an OU certified factory and a hotel kitchen, as well as other facilities.

For information on registration contact Rabbi Grossman at 212-613-8212, or grossman@ou.org. The application is available online at oukosher.org.