Kosher Today, April 21, 2020

Brooklyn, NY…The coronavirus has claimed the life of Rabbi Don Joel Levy, at the age of 72. He was one of the leading figures in the world of kashrus internationally, Rabbi Levy, who headed the OK Kosher Certification agency with headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, passed away on the last day of Passover, April 16th. Rabbi Don Joel succeeded his father Rabbi Berel who had purchased a small kosher certification agency from George Goldstein and turned into one of the world’s largest kashrus agencies. The OK is considered by the kosher food industry as one of the 5 leading kosher certification agencies in the US and a major force worldwide. Rabbi Levy had developed a strong client base in Europe and Asia.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the COO of the Kashrus Division of the Orthodox Union said that “Rabbi Levy did not look at his role as a business but as a mission (shlichut) to raise the standards of kashrus.” Rabbi Elefant continued: “His driving force as a man of integrity was to promote his principles of kashrus without compromise at a time where a growing industry was looking for compromise and opportunity. He will be sorely missed.” Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, executive director of the Association of Kashrus Agencies (AKO), had the opportunity to work closely with Rabbi Levy. “Rabbi Levy was a member of the AKO Executive Board and very instrumental in shaping universal kashrus policies,” Rabbi Fishbane said. “He was a stickler for the truth, was extremely focused and a major influence of overall kosher standards and policy.”