This is the time of year that many businesses take inventory, reflect on the past year, and employees look to use up any unused vacation days; it seems like everyone is tying up the loose ends.
At the OK we do our introspection and review all of our checks and balances in the month of Elul. This time of year we reserve to look to the future, and as we enter the month of Kislev, we join together with OK rabbis from across the globe for our Annual Mashgiach Conference.
This year close to 200 members of the OK team came together, from as close as Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, to as far away as South Korea, to catch up on the latest happenings in the world of kosher and in OK headquarters. This year we focused on alcoholic beverages, and fascinating and informative lectures were given about all things alcohol: Beer, whiskey, bourbon, and, of course, wine. Step-by step instruction, supported with PowerPoint and video presentations, covered the latest manufacturing innovations and kashrus concerns. Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator of the OK, was one of the speakers, reminiscing about the very first winery he visited, and with close to fifty years of hands on kashrus experience behind him there is much to learn from him. Mr. Simon Bergson, CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors, the largest beer distributor in the tristate area, was recognized for selling his company’s chometz (even though Manhattan beer is not in contract with a particular certifying agency). We all walked away at the end of the conference with a better understanding of the complicated world of alcoholic beverages, from production to the devastating effects of addiction.
We all know the story of how Yehudis plied the Greek general with wine and cheese, in order to lull him to sleep so she could help achieve victory for the Maccabees. Dairy is king around Chanukah time – read about our latest kosher endeavor, Cholov Yisroel milk production for the West Coast market, as well as a unique plant based “meat” product, the pareve Beyond Meat line. In addition, if for some reason you need to kasher your oven for a Chanukah feast, you can learn more from the Your Kosher Kitchen feature on these pages.
Wishing your family a light-filled and joyous Chanukah.
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman
Editor in Chief