When the Orthodox Union Kosher Division’s ASKOU training program ended in late August, and when the students returned to their communities around the world, a landmark had been reached. With the completion of the program, the eighth in a series held in alternate summers, the OU passed the 500 mark in terms of those who have been trained to be experts in the complex field of kosher certification.
After a highly successful year of leading the Long Island (NY) Region of the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY), Rabbi Stephen Berger has returned to the West Coast, where he is originally from, to become the Director of the NCSY Northwest Region based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who already has a successful career as a businessman as well as a rabbi, is now prepared for more success guiding Jewish youth. In mid-August Rabbi Lightstone assumed his new position as the Director of Long Island NCSY.
For the youth of Overland Park, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, exciting changes are about to happen. Following a six month task force and culminating with a formal agreement Rabbi Meir Wexler, Director of Learning Education and Youth of Kehilath Israel Synagogue and the synagogue officers and board, the synagogue has now established a National Conference of Synagogue Youth chapter at Kehilath Israel.
At the end of August, over 150 NCSY professional staff and volunteers gathered at the Holiday Inn in Edison, NJ for three days of inspiration and substantive training at the annual staff conference of NCSY, the youth movement of the Orthodox Union.
Rabbi Alan Kalinsky, Director of the Orthodox Union on the West Coast, who is also one of the OU’s kosher certification experts, wanted to fine-tune his skills and so he flew to New York last week to attend the OU’s ASK OU 8 seminar on kosher certification.
Undeterred by the war against Hezbollah, a group of 16 deaf and hearing impaired adults, ranging in age from 30-70 and coming from all over the United States, traveled to Israel under the auspices of the Orthodox Union’s Our Way program, and promptly did their part to assist the war effort.
When life becomes overwhelming for the rabbi’s right hand man — the gabbai, who is in charge of coordinating the synagogue services — the Orthodox Union has a solution. Following a very successful Conference and Seminar for Gabbaim in New York in February, and to fulfill a similar purpose out west, the OU West Coast Region will hold an enriching One-Day Conference and Seminar for Gabbaim and the Entire Community at OU headquarters in Los Angeles.
Gideon Goldstein of Phoenix is spending his summer traveling on Yad B’Yad West Coast, a summer program of the Orthodox Union’s National Jewish Council for Disabilities (NJCD) that tours Arizona and California. Yad B’Yad is a program of Yachad, a division of NJCD, which addresses the needs of individuals with disabilities, with the goal of their full inclusion in the Jewish community.
The Orthodox Union will make the teshuvah (repentance) process for the upcoming High Holidays easier and more profound with its Chodesh Elul: Reflections on Teshuvah and Beyond education programming on OU radio, www.ouradio.org.