KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
RAW: I was born and raised in Boro Park, Brooklyn. After attending the Munkacs cheder and Yeshiva Ketana, I went to study in the Slabodka Yeshiva in B’nei Brak, Israel for two years. I then returned to the U.S. where I studied for a short time in Bais HaTalmud and for the next 4 years in Beth Medrash Gevoha in Lakewood.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva? When did you get married?
RAW: After marrying my wife, Sarah, the daughter of the Kopycnitzer Rebbe ZT"L, I entered the kollel of Rabbi Soloveitchik in Midwood, Brooklyn where I am still considered a member and spend whatever free time I have there. After several years of full time learning I was offered a teaching position in Yeshiva Shaar HaTalmud where I taught for six years.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
RAW: I am a Rabbinic Coordinator responsible for the kosher programs at a number of companies. I am also one of the few rabbis who travel extensively to do initial and annual visits at our companies. I also work with my good friend and colleague Rabbi Yitzchak Gornish to evaluate ingredients and product formulas submitted to us by our certified companies.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
RAW: During my eleven years in kollel I spent much of my time studying the halachos in Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Deah that pertain to the world of kashrus. On the advice of my parents and friends, I chose to make a career of it and was fortunate that an opening became available at the OK. I am grateful to the OK that they showed confidence in me and invested in my on the job training (particularly under my good friend Rabbi Yitzchak Hanoka) in the practical aspects of kashrus. In addition, I was lucky to be surrounded by great family and friends who instilled in me the social skills and personal interactions that are so important for success in the field of kashrus today.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
RAW: There are so many things I enjoy working in the field of kashrus in general and at the OK specifically that it is hard to choose what I like most. One very rewarding aspect of the job is the chance to share the experience and the knowledge gained with other rabbonim in the field who are constantly consulting with the OK for advice and information. This gives me an opportunity to interact with, and get to know many esteemed rabbonim. I also enjoy visiting the out of town Jewish communities on my extensive travels where I get to meet many interesting people, not to mention the visits to the plants themselves. My wife always says that I go on "Chol HaMoed trips" all year round. The people I work with are the best and nicest in the business and I look forward to coming to work each day, which is a blessing.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
RAW: The OK today is at the forefront of innovation in kashrus. The OK is always looking to improve its systems to even better serve their customers and the general kosher consumer public. The only "downside" with this is that by the time I finally get comfortable with one system the OK has found a "better" one to replace that system!
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at the OK?
RAW: One time I traveled to Germany to do Annual Visits at a few OK companies. One afternoon, I had some free time to do a little sightseeing. I took the opportunity to tour Nuremberg and visited the Luitpoldarena, also known as the Party Rally Grounds for the Nazis ym"s. I stood on the stone terrace of the Ehrenhalle (Hall of Honor) where Hitler ym"s made his famous 1933 speech at the Reichsparteitag (Nuremberg Rally). I stood in the exact spot where he spoke and I said some Tehillim and Kel Maleh Rachamim.
It was a really eerie, yet proud moment for me. All of the Germans who stood here and tried to annihilate the Jews are now dead, and here I was, a frum, Chassidishe Jew with a beard and peyos standing free in Germany, traveling without fear and performing kashrus inspections. It was truly an awe-inspiring experience.
What Other People Say About Rabbi Weiss
Rabbi Weiss is one of the many upcoming stars at the OK. He comes from a family familiar with the field of kashrus and the OK worked with both his father and grandfather in the past. Rabbi Weiss was trained by the OK and he fits into our system perfectly. He is well liked by the facility personnel and is very thorough in his work. Rabbi Weiss also works in the field of formula approval, which is unique to the OK. He makes great contributions to kashrus worldwide.
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy,
Kashrus Administrator, OK Kosher Certification
Rabbi Aaron Weiss exemplifies the highest standards of diligence and reliability. He is methodical in his approach to the myriad of challenges his position in kashrus encounters. He is conscientious to a fault. He defines the principles in the kashrus industry by constantly reviewing the halachos and updating his technical knowledge. It is an extreme honor to serve alongside him at OK Kosher Certification.
Rabbi Yitzchak Gornish,
Rabbinic Coordinator, OK Kosher Certification
Rabbi Weiss has an exceptional combination of qualities that make him unique in his field. He is a Talmid Chacham with a thorough knowledge of kashrus and at the same time he has a warm and approachable personality. I consider it a privilege to work together with him..
Rabbi Yitzchak Hanoka,
Rabbinic Coordinator, OK Kosher Certification