Kudos Follow OU Kosher Halachic Leadership Event in Far Rockaway

30 Nov 2010


It was a unique event recently when OU Kosher sent its policy and halachic leadership to Far Rockaway and the Five Towns to present a shiur as part of its ASK OU program. This veritable kashrut all-star team, gathering at Congregation Kneseth Israel, the White Shul, consisted of Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher; Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of OU Kosher and Executive Rabbinic Coordinator; and the two OU Kosher poskim, Rav Yisroel Belsky and Rav Hershel Schachter. It was the first time all four rabbonim have appeared on the same program.

They were joined by two of OU Kosher’s most requested speakers: Rabbi Chaim Loike, OU Rabbinic Coordinator and an expert on birds and eggs, who always travels to shiurim with his feathered friends; and Rabbi Avrohom Stone, Senior Rabbinic Field Representative, whose unique speaking (and writing style) is vastly entertaining while he clarifies fine points of halacha.

The program was part of the Harry H. Beren Ask OU Outreach initiative, which is sponsored by the Harry H. Beren Foundation of Lakewood, NJ.

Not surprisingly, the reaction in the community was one of kudos and congratulations to OU Kosher.

“I was absolutely awed by the level of professionalism, erudition, sincerity and eloquence displayed by all of the rabbonim last night,” emailed B. David Schreiber, Esq., a Cedarhurst attorney. “While everyone expects this level of Rabbis Schachter, Genack, Belsky and Elefant, internationally known superstars, it was gratifying to witness the impressive caliber of the other rabbonim. Each presentation was masterful, scholarly and informative. I and most of the other attendees were riveted to our seats. The Jewish community is fortunate to be served by your organization.”

Representing the synagogue, Rabbi Eytan Feiner and Sandy Herskowitz, Chairman of Adult Education, wrote, “In the name of the entire Congregation, we wish to thank you tremendously for the very successful ‘ASK OU’ program that took place in our Shul this past Sunday evening. We are certain that all those in attendance gained from each session and are now better informed about the intricacies of modern day kashrut. The program served to confirm that the OU is at the forefront of ensuring that the Jewish public can eat knowing that the highest standards of halacha are being followed.”

They continued, “We felt unique privileged to host such rabbonim as Rabbis Belsky, Schachter, Genack, Elefant and the others. Their presence enhanced the stature of the entire program. We also recognize the hard work behind the scenes and technical sophistication that you orchestrated to make the program so successful. We are extremely proud of our unique relationship with the OU, and we look forward to continued work together.”

Congregation Kneseth Israel is an OU member synagogue.

Eli Shapiro, the Executive Director of The White Shul, agreed. “I hope you share my feelings that last night’s event was fantastic. Let’s be in touch so we can bring more programming to the Far Rockaway-Five Towns community.”

Commenting on the response, Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Director of OU Kosher Education, declared “It was most gratifying to receive from Mr. Schreiber in a follow-up email the following moving message: ‘Your organization is a beautiful Kiddush Hashem.’ Upon reflection on these few but powerful words, I came to realize that the distinguished rabbinic presenters as well as the large crowd at the White Shul had indeed experienced not only an enlightening kashrut educational seminar but a moment of sanctification of Hashem’s name as well. As we continue to bring the Harry H. Beren ASK OU programs to more and more communities, we look forward to other such enlightening and exalted moments.”

In a session called “Ask the OU Rabbonim,” Rabbis Genack and Elefant and Rav Belsky and Rav Schachter answered questions on halacha and OU policy.
In a session sponsored by Menachem Eliyad Korn, Rabbi Loike spoke on “The Mesorah of Kosher Birds: How the OU Established the Mesorah of Kosher Partridge in America.” Rabbi Stone provided insights into “The Complexity of the Simple Product: What Could Be Wrong With…?”

As always, Rabbi Loike’s birds played a starring role in his presentation.

To bring ASK OU to your community, contact Rabbi Grossman at Grossman@ou.org, or 212-613-8212.

(From left) Rabbis Schachter and Genack…

Elefant and Belsky…



…and Rabbi Loike, with the tools of his trade, all delighted the audience at The White Shul.

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