KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
RYT: I grew up in B’nei B’rak in Eretz Yisroel and attended the Belzer yeshivos throughout my years in school.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva? When did you get married?
RYT: After yeshiva, I got married in 1986. My wife is from Antwerp, Belgium, so we moved to Antwerp where I studied halacha in the Belzer kollel for 13 years and gained practical experience in rabbonus under various rabbonim, including Rav Tuvia Weiss shlita. I knew Rabbi Levy for many years and he often stayed with me when he came to Belgium on business, so I started to occasionally visit facilities with Rabbi Levy and I saw halacha come alive in practical kashrus. In 1994, I started working as a mashgiach for the OK and continued up the ladder to my current position.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
RYT: I am currently an Executive Field Representative for OK Europe. My responsibilities involve monitoring all of the kosher transport and storage in Europe. Many liquids from Asia and all over the world come through Europe for transport and storage, including oils, oleochemicals, fatty acids, and fatty alcohols. They come by barge to be stored in the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp and my job is to monitor kosher compliance in these areas.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
RYT: My 13 years of kollel, where my studies were concentrated in halacha, as well as the hands-on experience of visiting factories with Rabbi Levy prepared me most for my current position. In addition, it’s written in Chovos HaLevavos that one should work in something close to his heart. I am naturally drawn to halacha and kashrus is a field that I feel is close to my heart.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
RYT: The best thing about working in the OK is that the OK is very organized. I am personally a naturally organized person, so I appreciate the system and protocol in place to ensure the highest level of kashrus supervision. I feel that the OK has the most superior database and sophisticated system of data management and mashgiach reports.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
RYT: I would describe the OK as the leading authority in kashrus. The experienced rabbis at the OK are at the forefront of kosher supervision and the protocol for supervision and data management is the best in the world.
KS: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
RYT: Many times I come to a factory and the personnel think I can give them a hechsher on the spot, with no inspection or changes necessary. Either the factory personnel have no idea about kashrus, or they were previously certified by a second-rate agency that gave a “rubber stamp” certification with little effort needed. I am always shocked by how little many people know about kashrus when it has become so mainstream in both the industrial and consumer world. A lot of my job revolves around teaching the facility personnel about kashrus and helping them have respect for the seriousness and importance of abiding by kosher protocol and having a high-level kosher certification.
Rabbi Yitzchak Teller is also a Dayan in the Belzer Kehilla in Antwerp.
What Other People Say About Dayan Yitzchak Teller
Rabbi Teller started working for the OK many years ago at a complicated oil plant in the Netherlands. His grasp of the facility was superior and led to Rabbi Teller becoming one of the foremost experts in the kosher oil industry. Rabbi Teller’s methodical examination of every detail very carefully makes his reports a pleasure to read. Rabbi Teller’s approach, coupled with the fact that he is a prominent talmid chochom and Dayan in the Antwerp Belz community, makes him the prime candidate to be the expert in kashrus that he is. These are the attributes we look for in our personnel at the OK.
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy,
Kashrus Administrator, OK Kosher Certification
Rabbi Teller and I have been working together for over 15 years. He is a very kind and pleasant person and it is a pleasure to work with him. Rabbi Teller is a great scholar with a deep understanding of halacha. He has the greatest combination of characteristics that a kashrus agency can ask for, which really brings the OK to a higher level.
Rabbi Shimon Lasker,
Rabbinic Coordinator, OK Europe
Rabbi Teller is a great person to work with. He is very kind, thorough and is a talmid chacham who is very well versed in halacha.
Rabbi Leizer Teitelbaum,
Senior Rabbinic Coordinator, OK Kosher Certification