The Orthodox Union, which has taken the lead in combating teenage drinking in the Orthodox community – with special efforts being made at Purim – and has done likewise with adults, criticizing the concept of the “Kiddush Club,” has now turned its attention to Simchat Torah. The holiday, which marks the end of the annual Torah cycle and the beginning of the next cycle, features dancing with the Torahs and festivities, which often include alcohol.
Orthodox Union President Stephen J. Savitsky will visit Congregation Schara Tzedeck in Vancouver the weekend of Saturday, October 13, the Shabbat on which the Torah portion Noach is read, to attend services at the synagogue and to meet with its leadership and congregation. Schara Tzedeck is an OU member synagogue.
The Universal Kosher Database, (UKD), a listing of thousands of certified products, has gone public, and suppliers and distributors who work with OU Kosher certified companies are the beneficiaries of the decision. Now they will be able to easily secure Letters of Certification, signed by OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack.
Ever since Rabbi Bini Maryles, former spiritual leader of the Young Israel of North Woodmere, joined the Orthodox Union in July as the new director of the Pepa and Rabbi Joseph Karasick Department of Synagogue Services, the phone has not stopped ringing. OU communities across North America call daily with questions on Jewish law, fundraising, membership, conflict resolution, contracts, and other congregational issues.
To offer an insider’s perspective into the land of Israel and the role of the OU there, particularly when Israelis are suffering, the Orthodox Union announced today that its second mission of the year, the OU Thanksgiving Mission — Monday, November 19 to Sunday, November 25 — will feature a visit to Sderot. The dual purpose is to bring comfort and consolation to the people of Sderot while demonstrating to mission participants the OU’s programs on behalf of the city’s beleaguered population, faced frequently with barrages of Kassam rockets.
The West Coast Region of the Orthodox Union announced today that the women’s education program Netivot, will now operate under OU auspices as the newly formed Women’s Torah Network, in which it will continue offering innovative Torah programming for women of all ages. Netivot, founded and led by Irine Schweitzer, has been running Torah classes for women for almost 10 years.
Beginning this Fall, the West Coast Region of the Orthodox Union will launch a community calendar for the greater Los Angeles area on its new website, www.ouwestcoast.org. The calendar will make it easier for organizations and individuals to list their special events and to avoid scheduling programs on the same date.
With outreach in mind, the Young Israel of New Rochelle, which earlier this year was the recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Orthodox Union for its kiruv (outreach) initiative to the wider Jewish community, will present a pre-Yom Kippur class, “Mystical Insights from Our Sages.” The program will be held at the synagogue, 1228 North Avenue, on Tuesday, September 18 at 8:00 p.m.
A dozen second and third year students at the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University enjoyed a “phenomenal” visit to Orthodox Union headquarters in New York last week to gain insight into career possibilities working for a Jewish organization after receiving semicha – rabbinical ordination.
In its role as “the premier source for all kosher needs,” and in response to complaints by travelers that kosher food is no longer an option on domestic flights, the Orthodox Union Kosher Division today called on eight major domestic airlines to make kosher meals and snacks available for purchase on their flights, just as the airlines offered a kosher option when meals were included in the cost of a ticket. Since the airlines stopped providing the free meals, kosher passengers either must bring meals on board with them, or have nothing to eat on flights, even those of transcontinental length.