KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
RBN: I was born and raised in Yerushalayim, where I studied in the Dushinsky yeshiva.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
RBN: After yeshiva, I studied for “Yore Yore” semicha in the Shomrei Hachomot kollel in Yerushalayim. A few years later, I entered the kashrut field.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
RBN: I am currently a Senior Rabbinical Coordinator at OK Israel, where I am in charge of ingredient approval.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
RBN: I worked for another kosher agency for 10 years, investigating ingredients to determine their kosher status. The experience I acquired helped me tremendously in my work in the OK.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
RBN: The best thing about working at the OK is that the work methods and policies are consistent and professional. Rabbi Levy sets the standards and make sure they are met by every staff member and certified company. The fact that every approval of a new plant is made personally by him is invaluable. Rabbi Haskel, who heads OK Israel, is amazingly well acquainted with all of the office departments, knows all of our clients and their unique needs, and he is involved in every detail of our kosher work.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
RBN: Today, the OK is an international kosher agency with a reputation for high standards and no compromises. Kosher customers rely on us because they know we will never, ever, cut corners. We stand behind our kosher certificates 100%.
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at the OK?
RBN: Once, I was visiting a Chinese plant and I felt the staff was untrustworthy. Once the guided tour ended and they gave me their own account of the production process, I asked permission to tour the facility alone. After touring and checking the equipment, I drew a chart of the production process based on my experience with the product in question. My drawing was completely different from what they told me. When I showed them this document, they burst into laughter and admitted they were not quite honest before; they were very impressed with the fact that the rabbi knew their industry so well.
This facility was one of many belonging to the same company and when the company contact person came with me to the next facility, he told the staff something in Chinese and laughed. “I told them,” he explained to me, “that they shouldn’t bother to try and trick you – it will not work.”
In the past, there was a mentality among many companies that they could tell the rabbi whatever they wanted and he would never figure it out. Now, companies are well aware that the OK rabbis know exactly what goes on in production facilities and are extremely familiar with most production processes. For the most part, companies now know that lying to the rabbi is not worth the effort.
What Other People Say About Rabbi Binyamin Neufeld
Tov lashamatim vetov labrios. Rabbi Neufeld brings both expertise in kashrus and at the same time is well liked and respected by all. This includes the facility personnel and other highly respected kashrus agencies that have their own very high standards.
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy,
Kashrus Administrator, OK Kosher Certification
Rabbi Neufeld joined the OK with a strong background in kosher certification at Badatz Eida HaChareidis. He specializes in investigating ingredients thoroughly in order to determine their kosher status. This work requires long hours and includes visiting the manufacturing facilities since differences in production process can change the kosher status of an ingredient. Rabbi Neufeld’s great contribution is in enlarging our pool of kosher ingredients on one hand, and on the other hand – in minimizing the ‘gray area’ by providing clear-cut answers to the kosher status of ingredients. Additionally, Rabbi Neufeld is responsible for training our mashgichim in OK policy, so both the US office and the Israel office work according to the same standards. He travelled to New York last year to help advance this goal, and he was also honored in the 2011 mashgichim conference.
Rabbi Ahron Haskel,
Executive Rabbinic Coordinator, OK Israel
Most of us are lucky to meet one really special person and working with Reb Binyomin allows me to experience a special person in constant action. He makes all that he does for world-wide kashrus look effortless.
תורה וגדולה במקום אחד.
Rabbi Levi Marmulszteyn,