The word “Chanukah” comes from the same root as “chinuch”, meaning to teach, train and educate. There are many ways to teach and learn new skills, but the best tried and proven methods include hands on learning and leading by example.
A person can study numerous books and watch dozens of instructional videos on how to swim, but nothing will compare to getting into the water and actually learning to swim with an instructor. Kashrus is no different; certainly one must learn and know the Shulchan Oruch in order to determine what is kosher and what is not, but actually visiting manufacturing facilities and sharing experiences with others in the field is the best way to sharpen and master the skills needed to provide kashrus without compromise.
My father, Rabbi Shmuel Fogelman OB”M HK”M, who just recently passed away, was an educator for most of his life. As a teacher, then a principal, and even as an administrator, he taught by example and paid close attention to even the smallest details. Growing up in his shadow, I remember how he would do his best to make the subjects I learned in yeshiva come alive and be relevant to my life.
I am sure he would have loved to see our International Mashgichim Conference, the yearly conference I help organize, that just took place with over a hundred field mashgichim (who collectively visit thousands of manufacturing facilities across the globe) in attendance. They came together to discuss the latest developments in the world of kashrus, new manufacturing techniques and, together, find better ways to implement and execute higher standards of supervision.
As a former student of my father told me at the shiva, “Your father proved that strictness and kindness are not a contradiction.” At the OK, we strive to prove that as well.
Wishing you and your families a freilichen Chanukah,
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman
Editor in Chief