In the beginning, going back to 1996, there were the Advanced Seminars on Kashrus, OU Kosher’s ASK OU mashgiach training programs, held every other summer for three and one-week sessions. A decade later, the seminars became the Harry H. Beren ASK OU seminars, sponsored by the Harry H. Beren Foundation of New Jersey.
ASK OU expanded from only mashgiach training to become the Harry H Beren ASK OU OUTREACH programs to communities, kollelim and yeshivos, in the New York area and beyond. OU Kosher senior rabbis went to locations such as Los Angeles; Portland, OR; Hollywood, FL; and Toronto, Canada to lead shiurim and classes or groups ranging from school children to advanced rabbis.
The success of the ASK OU mashgiach training sessions led to the expansion of the program to Advanced Kashrus Seminars for Women, held in the alternate year when the men’s seminars were not held. Then came the Harry H. Beren ASK OU Global SKYPE programs, in which ten programs were transmitted by Skype from OU Kosher headquarters in New York to Kollel Beth HaTalmud in Melbourne, Australia – where it was already the next day; and Toras Chaim Day School in Norfolk, VA. Right now, ASK OU is In the middle of a three-part Skype series to Denver, with the next Skypecast coming on January 17.
All of these programs have been organized and staffed under the direction of Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator for OU Kosher. Now, more are coming.Rabbi Eli Eleff, OU Kosher Rabbinic Coordinator and Consumer Relations Administrator
“In our continuing attempt to reach out to Jews worldwide with the latest in kashrus education, we are proud to announce that the Harry H. Beren ASK OU OUTREACH program will now service day schools, chadorim, high schools and Jewish students on college campuses as well as communities, kollelim and yeshivos,” said Rabbi Grossman. “I am very pleased to welcome my esteemed colleague Rabbi Eli Eleff, OU Kosher rabbinic coordinator and consumer relations administrator, who will be handling Harry H. Beren ASK OU visits to day schools, chadorim and high schools. I wish him much success in this endeavor.”
Rabbi Grossman will assume further responsibilities as well by coordinating new kashrus outreach to Jewish college students. To do this, he will work closely with the OU’s Seif Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus program, which places a young rabbi and rebbetzin on 21 campuses across North America. This program will begin Tuesday, January 6 at The Jewish Center in New York, when a Beit Midrash for college students will take place at which Rabbi Dov Schreier, OU Kosher rabbinic coordinator, will speak on “Eating Kosher in a Non-Kosher World.”
Regarding day schools, under the leadership of Rabbi Eleff, Rabbi Chaim Loike, the OU Kosher bird expert, will bring his avian friends to Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem on the Lower East Side on Tuesday, February 17.
“The expansion of the Harry H. Beren ASK OU program continues and advances the mission of OU Kosher to provide kashrus education at all levels,” declared Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “I heartily congratulate and commend Rabbi Yosef Grossman’s leadership and inspired work in furthering kashrus education over the years. Rabbi Eli Eleff will bring his considerable talents and enthusiasm to the program and therefore even more successes will follow in the months and years to come.”
According to Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer of OU Kosher, “Rabbi Eli Eleff’s addition to the Harry H. Beren ASK OU team brings with it his outstanding creative talents, vast computer skills and passion to promote and spread kashrus information and education. Built on the solid infrastructure of the many varied programs Rabbi Yosef Grossman has created for inclusion in ASK OU, I foresee ASK OU soaring to even greater heights. I wish Both Rabbi Grossman and Rabbi Eleff much success in bringing ASK OU to a new level.”
To make it easier to arrange programs and visits, OU Kosher is launching a new kashrus education email, a project undertaken by Rabbi Eleff. The email is email@example.com.