KS: Where did you grow up?
Where did you go to yeshiva?
REL: I was born and raised in Tzfat, Eretz Yisroel in an English-speaking home. As a bochur, I studied in Lod, Kfar Chabad and at the Chabad Headquarters in NY. I received semicha from HaGaon HaRav Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, zt”l. In addition, I also received my shechita ordination from HaGaon HaRav Yeruslavsky, shlita.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
REL: After yeshiva and shlichus to Russia, Florida, Mexico and Cyprus, I returned to Eretz Yisroel where I married my wife, Shterni (nee Friedland) and learned in kollel in Nachalas Har Chabad. After about a year I was approached to lead the local kashrus agency in Vancouver, Canada.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
REL: I am currently the Executive Manager at OK Kosher headquarters. In this role, I am charged with driving the future growth of OK Kosher with a focus on corporate strategy and customer experience. Together with Rabbi Levy and the senior management team, we support and shape the overall direction and day-to-day operations of the OK. Our only goal is achieving the highest kosher standards, with total customer satisfaction for the benefit of Klal Yisroel!
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
REL: Judaism asserts that every soul comes into this world charged with a unique, positive purpose; therefore, everything is Hashgocha Pratis and each person is required to utilize his strength and skills to be successful in his own shlichus. My prior management experience, and the quality time spent in the field guiding companies around the world in obtaining and maintaining kosher certification have helped me develop a strong background in kashrus as well as Organizational Development/Leadership. In addition, my academic studies tied directly into the work I’ve been doing on the job. I must also thank the wonderful OK Kosher team I work with; there is no doubt I have learned and I am still learning a lot from their experiences and support.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
REL: Being in a position where our work helps individual consumers and communities in all corners of the world keep the highest levels of kosher. The opportunity to influence on a global scale and see the positive results, for me, is the greatest personal reward.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
REL: With over 80 years’ experience, OK Kosher is at the forefront of kashrus, resulting in the development of advanced procedures, systems and worldwide operations. The OK Kosher symbol is not just a logo; it’s a commitment to excellence, trusted by consumers around the world. We pride ourselves that, while we certify companies large and small across the globe, our kashrus is safeguarded on an individual company basis. Most consumers may not be aware of it, but it is Rabbi Levy’s unshakeable principles and impassioned desire to strive for the highest standards, along with his very experienced, dedicated team that make it possible for OK Kosher to achieve its purpose. Come what may, we never forget our responsibility to kashrus without compromise.
KS: What’s something interesting we don’t know about you?
REL: While in Vancouver, I also pursued academic studies at Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia (ranked among the top business schools by organizations such as the Financial Times and The Economist).This was a three-year, part-time executive management program focused on providing professionals with skills and best practices to perform at the highest level.
KS: Can you share a funny or interesting experience you had working at the OK?
REL: Last year we signed a merger agreement with Kehilla Kosher of Los Angeles. As part of the merger, we have transitioned hundreds of commercial production factories and dozens of restaurants. As part of our commitment to the highest standards, we have visited each and every one of those establishments to ensure that they comply with OK Kosher standards, and when necessary made the adjustments needed. Part of the transition process required mashgichim temidim at our certified meat restaurants in LA. Rabbi Teichman, the former head of Kehilla Kosher, had supported those standards and we have successfully implemented them. What was interesting is that several restaurants have decided that those standards are too difficult for them and chose to go with a different agency. I’m sharing this story as a small example of the kind of work that OK Kosher does, and shows the difference that this agency is making in the world of kashrus.
What Other People Say
“Eli Lando is a very talented individual who understands the intricate inner workings of kashrus, while simultaneously seeing the bigger picture. He works tirelessly to bring the highest standards of kashrus to our certified companies without any compromise on customer service. Eli does not shy away from difficult tasks and motivates our staff to do the same. We are blessed to have Eli on our team.”
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator
“Eli is one of those special people that makes you want to say, ‘Yes, I can,’ to the most difficult challenges. Always positive and goal-orientated, his pleasant attitude is contagious and his influence on OK Kosher’s phenomenal growth is obvious. It is an honor and pleasure to work with him.”
Rabbi Levi Marmulszteyn, Rabbinic Manager
“I’ve been working with Rabbi Lando for several years. Not only is he a great person to work for, but I have learned so much from him – from the way he works with people to his determination to find solutions. His guidance and professionalism is second to none and he has been a great mentor to me and a tremendous inspiration to all who work with him.”
Rabbi Yankel Wilschanski,Key Account Manager