KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
AT: I grew up in Petach Tikva, which is a large city with a very diverse population: Chassidish, Chabad, Litvak, Mizrahi, Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yemenite, etc. All the communities shared true kindness and friendship; it was a good place to grow up.
I went to Birkas Yosef Yeshiva in Bnei–Brak; a small, welcoming place, where one could forget about outside concerns and devote oneself to Torah studies.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
AT: I married Chana Shendl Stefansky in 5766. I had always been interested in computers, so when I started working it was evident that I would be taking that direction. At first I worked as a tech support representative, and soon became a networking equipment field rep. After leaving the IT world, Rabbi Haskel, Director of OK Israel – with whom I daven on Shabbos – offered me a kashrus job doing Cholov Yisroel supervision in California for a whole month. I had never seen so many cows and had never traveled for work, even for a single day, but that was the beginning of my kashrus career. Soon after, Rabbi Prizant, a Rabbinic Coordinator at OK Israel, recruited me to assist in the China department, where I worked for 4 years before taking on my current responsibilities.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
AT: I work in OK Israel as a Rabbinic Coordinator for companies in Europe, Scottish distilleries, and shaatnez issues. I am also the Israel office liaison to the main ~ office in New York.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
AT: Working in the OK requires countless abilities. In my opinion, human relations, aka middos, is the key to success. While working as a field rep in the networking world, I came across many companies and facilities. The clients I deal with now are obviously different, but all companies have something in common: If you have a good approach, enough assertiveness, and Siyata Dishmaya, you can get through to them and succeed in working together.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
AT: The best thing about working at the OK is the opportunity to grow and become a better person through the influence of so many great colleagues, as well as being able to utilize what I learn with colleagues and clients.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
AT: The OK is an ever-growing organization, with a devoted, caring, active team who drives the OK to a place where no other global organization has probably ever been: seeking to set up and maintain facilities at a kashrus level equal to a frum balabusta’s kitchen with all of those stringencies. It is an amazing goal, directed and driven by Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, who applies this goal to each and every certified facility.
As I mentioned, I work in the OK Israel office. The Israeli branch could have never grown as it has without the leadership of Rabbi Haskel, who respects and encourages each and every person in our office. This is the fundamental core of the Israeli branch: because of Rabbi Haskel, everyone knows that the sky’s the limit, and that we should never stop trying.
KS: Tell us something interesting about yourself that we don’t know
AT: I am as emotional as it gets, a Classical music fan, and I love my family more than anything else in the world.
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at the OK?
AT: Sometimes, language, even body language, is just not enough. During my 2nd job at OK Kosher, I was part of a team in Bulgaria, which worked filtering and bottling wine. I was just about to start the pump when I asked the local worker if he could see whether the top of the 15-ton vat was open, so that the pump pressure wouldn’t destroy the vat. He shook his head.
I was very upset, because that meant that someone had touched it without my consent and that’s a big deal. So I asked him again, and once again he shook his head. I had to run upstairs to check the top, but it WAS open, as it should have been. At the same time, I saw another worker, standing next to the first, laughing out loud for no obvious reason. I asked him what the matter was, and he explained to me: “Bulgarians shake their heads to signal ‘yes’ in exactly the way the rest of the world uses for ‘no’, and vice versa.” Moral of the story: Even the most basic, common assumptions can sometimes be deceptive. And that’s more or less the gist of Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berditchev ZT”L’s lessons.
What Other People Say
“In today’s kashrus world, being multifaceted is of great importance. Reb Arye’s knowledge of kashrus, computer savvy and administrative skills make him a wonderful asset to our organization and a prime example of what the OK seeks in an employee.”
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator
“Rabbi Arye Taub is blessed with a rare combination of thorough halachic knowledge, unusual understanding of technology, and computer savvy. These qualities allow him to serve the OK system in the best way possible. When he goes to a facility, he is armed not only with comprehensive knowledge of the kosher issues, but also with the ability to perfectly understand even the most complex production processes, such as those common in the oil industry and food chemical industry. Additionally, he has great people skills, which ensures he will get along with people of all types and nationalities. And last, but not least, Rabbi Taub is blessed with extraordinary creativity. Once and again he demonstrates his ability to come up with a creative solution for a kosher problem, without compromising in any way the high kosher standards of the OK.”
Rabbi Ahron Haskel, Director of OK Israel