2023 marks 100 years of OU Kosher.
Ten years later, the city’s Commissioner of Markets still estimated that 40 percent of the “kosher” meat sold in New York was actually treif.
Ensuring the availability of a wide range of kosher products in suburban grocery stores, and increasingly, supermarkets, was crucial to keeping on-the-fence Jewish consumers within the kosher fold.
A timeline of OU Kosher’s development
A behind-the-scenes look at the largest and most widely-recognized kosher certification agency
The presence of an OU certification mark attests to the vitality of the Jewish community in the US.
Today, kosher consumers are more observant; they’re looking for a high standard of kashrus.
Today when I walk into a supermarket, it’s actually difficult to find something that’s not kosher. That’s a far cry from how it was when I was growing up.
I have worked for the klal my entire career, and I must say that the people at the OU have an extraordinary selflessness.
The OU became the premiere source of knowledge on kashrut for the entire Jewish community.
In 1994, I was a member of the Kashrut Commission when the OU gave kosher certification to Hershey’s. It was a seminal moment.
The kids looked at me, flabbergasted: “Well, if you can’t trust the OU, you can’t trust anybody!”
Ever wonder what an OU mashgiach really does?
It is not unusual for him to prepare by applying copious amounts of bug spray and donning heavy rubber boots and a netted face mask—all to protect himself from the snake bites, malaria and dengue fever he might encounter while journeying to plants tucked deep in the Amazon.
Even now, with airports still in post-Covid chaos and gas prices at nosebleed levels, the rabbi continues on his journeys. “Indefatigable is the word I’d use to describe him,” says Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, a senior RC for OU Kosher.
Over the past sixteen years, Koegel has brought in over 2,000 new brands and over 250,000 new products, among them Gatorade, Sambazon, Jelly Belly jelly beans, and Tootsie Roll.
His perception, focus, and ability to target and resolve kashrut challenges is razor-sharp. Little gets past him.
When you’re a mashgiach in the field, you are an ambassador for the OU and for the Orthodox world.
Pioneering mashgichim in OU Kosher history
A Jew once made a less than straightforward proposal to Rabbi Rosenberg from which he stood to derive substantial personal gain. Rabbi Rosenberg responded, “Un vos zogt G-t?” (“And what does G-d think?”)
I didn’t have too many experts in shechitah I could turn to at the time—Rav Nota was one of the few.
“There’s no question that Rabbi Goldzweig was a pivotal player in the development of kashrut in America,” Rabbi Israel Paretzky, an OU RC told Jewish Action in a 2011 interview. “He was the OU.”
Rav Belsky had a scientific inclination and a curious mind, both of which led him on a constant search for truth.
A Collection of Ads, Past and Present
Trends that are shaping the kashrut of tomorrow
A growing number of manufacturing plants have made the leap into digitalization . . . creating new realities in the world of kashrut supervision.
“The possibilities of genetic modification are endless,” Rabbi Nosson Neuberger observes. “If you take the right organism, tweak its DNA and give it the right feedstock, you can have it produce virtually whatever natural chemical you want.”
Indoor farming can bring about a revolution for the kosher consumer. If it’s done correctly, the vegetables could be grown bug-free and won’t require washing.
All about OU Kosher
“Kosher certification technology is a journey,” says Greenman. “As technology in general becomes more complex and nuanced, we have to stay ahead of the curve in terms of both systems and security.”
During these cold months, warming, homey foods to serve up for dinner or share with friends and family are always much appreciated.
No longer concerned primarily with self-preservation, the Jewish people can now turn outward to share its heritage with the rest of humanity.
Rabbi Jachter shows not only the difference between Ashkenazic and Sephardic practice but also the diversity within the Sephardic world.
As a reader, you will find yourself involved in the conversation, appreciating the different views and the intricacy of defining the halachic parameters of new technology.
I must confess that while I felt more and more familiar with the “new” nusach, I harbored a sense of guilt. Perhaps I had abandoned the custom of my father and my ancestors. Perhaps I was not being true to my family tradition.
As Chanukah begins, may we utilize the opportunity to understand how we each learn so that we might rededicate and re-initiate ourselves into Torah learning. This, then, is how I learn. How about you? How do you learn?
As a ninth-grade public school student who made the rare decision to wear a kippah to school, I saw the cascading impact that decision had.