Rabbi Levy’s passing is a tremendous personal loss for all of us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. He was a leading inspiration to all of us here at the OK and a tremendous positive influence on the entire kashrus industry. I will miss him both on a personal level and for that which he contributed to the world of kashrus.
It was incredibly gratifying to show up to work every day confident that the boss was imparting the values of “kashrus without compromise” as
a way of life, not just as a slogan. He would never approve a report (and all initial reports had to be approved by him directly), if everything wasn’t 100% “glatt” and l’mehdarin. Even where I could make the case that something was 100% acceptable based on different arguments and combinations of factors, he didn’t want to hear about it. Everything had to be straightforward in its compliance with the Shulchan Aruch and best kashrus practices for him to be willing to listen. In my nearly 12 years working with him, I can testify that he never once allowed a business consideration, the potential loss of a company, or the displeasure of a large customer to affect his approval in any way; it didn’t enter the conversation.
Kashrus had to be without any form of compromise, only after that was assured could any customer relations issue enter the conversation. Even when things were good enough he constantly pushed and prodded to do better and enhance kashrus standards and systems even more.
While he was the boss, setting and implementing standards, he showed incredible respect for my position and role. Any conversation about a company and with a company went through me nothing was arbitrarily implemented with my full inclusion and control of the implementation.
All this extended well beyond me and even well beyond the OK to enhance kashrus globally. I am zoche to have good friends who work for other
kashrus agencies. My friends do excellent work, but I constantly find them amazed and jealous for the support and systems to enhance kashrus that we have at the OK. Whenever there are interagency discussions, regarding a specific company or general kashrus procedures, I always find myself taking the most stringent line; knowing that I have the unequivocal backing of my boss has always allowed me to do so and to be so effective.
In addition to all this Rabbi Levy was a tremendous talmid chochom that was always a pleasure to talk with, whether in learning or in general. I am very grateful that he put in place the management and systems that will allow us to continue his work even without his physical presence, but nothing will replace him and his personal presence. I will sorely miss him.