KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
ROS: I grew up in Antwerp, Belgium and studied in Yeshivas Eitz Chaim, and then in the famous Gateshead Yeshiva in the United Kingdom.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
ROS: Initially, after my wedding, I learned in Kollel Mivtsar HaTorah in Elad, Israel, while simultaneously learning in a kiruv kollel in Tel-Mond, founded by the “Ayelet Hashachar” outreach organization. Then I returned to Antwerp, where I continued to learn in the Steiteshe Kollel – Kollel Avreichim.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
ROS: I am a Project Manager at the New Accounts Department of OK Israel.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
ROS: The education that I received from my dear parents – my father Reb Amrom zt”l and, l’havdil ben chaim l’chaim, my mother – this is the key to any success I have. My parents taught me to be punctual, precise and thorough in everything I do, something that is really needed in the world of kashrus.
In addition, growing up in Antwerp gave me the opportunity to learn to speak a few languages, something that also helps me at my work.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
ROS:The best thing about working at the OK is the knowledge every product bearing our hashgocha, provides Jewish people around the globe with another kosher product produced according to the high standards of OK Kosher Certification. It’s well known that Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, head of the OK, does not compromise when it comes to kashrus. We always try to work with the client and give the best possible service, but we will stick to our kosher policy and to our principals. That’s why the OK hechsher is so reputable.
Working at the OK also gives me the opportunity to understand the complex process behind every product, and that knowledge gives special emphasis to the importance of the mitzvah of kashrus.
The best thing about working in the OK Israel branch is that we all feel like one big family, always working together and helping each other, thanks to the efforts of Rabbi Aharon Haskel, Director of OK Israel. The OK in general has a very special atmosphere that makes us feel that we are one team, working to achieve the same goal.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
ROS:The OK provides a unique service by virtue of its global presence. With representatives in many countries, we can often send a rabbi who speaks the local language – something that really upgrades the level of kashrus and achieves a maximum of comfort when providing our services to facilities worldwide.
Another point is that the OK uses the most modern technology in today’s world, which has enormous benefits to everybody involved in the kosher process: the rabbis, the facilities, the importers and the consumers.
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at the OK?
ROS:I can definitely remember one interesting experience I had, where I truly saw how Hashem watches over us while we do His mitzvos. I travelled to a city called Karaman in southern Turkey to supervise a special Kosher for Passover production of purple carrot juice. Thursday, December 24, 2010 was the last day of the special production.
In the early morning the company driver came to pick me up from the guest house where I stayed. I left my suitcase in the car trunk, knowing I would need it later for my flight, and entered the facility. After a long work day, at around 5:30 pm, we rushed to the airport. After an hour and a half we reached the very small airport only to discover my suitcase wasn’t there. A different car was used to take me to the airport and because it was of the same model, I hadn’t noticed it before. I decided that getting home for Shabbos was more important than the suitcase and headed to the terminal, but then I saw a notice on the information screen – my flight to Istanbul had been cancelled.
Before entering the terminal I asked the driver to be my translator for the next few hours. We tried to find another way to get to Istanbul and it was suggested that I take a bus to Ankara (a drive of 3 hours) and fly to Istanbul from there. I agreed, purchased the ticket, and then remembered that my tefillin were missing. I had left them in the suitcase – something I never do – so I had to explain why I was cancelling the flight I had just booked a minute ago.
At this point, I almost gave up on arriving home for Shabbos, but my driver had a sudden idea. He said there was a bus from Karaman to the Konya bus station, where I could take the midnight bus to Ankara. He called up the company and they agreed to bring me my suitcase.
Well, I eventually reached Ankara airport, after getting off the bus in the middle of the main road and taking a taxi and the driver didn’t understand a word of English which caused a serious mix-up regarding his fee. The first thing I saw in Ankara airport was plenty of notices in red letters – almost all flights were cancelled. But it was 4:09 am and I saw that a flight to Istanbul would be leaving at 4:25! I ran to the ticket office and explained my story as briefly as I could. My flight from Konya was cancelled – would they put me on the next flight to Istanbul and Tel Aviv? Miraculously, they agreed and I arrived home for Shabbos!
Stories such as this are behind many, many kosher products which consumers enjoy!
What Other People Say About About Rabbi Serfaty
“Ouriel comes to us with best recommendations. Rabbi Tuvia Weiss, head of the Eida Hachareidis personally called me to recommend Rabbi Serfaty as an asset to the OK. Rabbi Serfaty’s European background and fluency in several languages has helped him use his unique talents to blend in with our expert staff. His reports are clear and a pleasure to read, showing a nice understanding of the facilities and the issues involved.”
– Rabbi Don Yoel Levy , Kashrus Administrator
“Rabbi Serfaty has a combination of qualities that make him unique. First, he is a G-d fearing Jew with a high level of Torah knowledge. This makes him take each single project assigned to him extremely seriously. Secondly, he is very diligent and reliable and constantly works till he gets the best possible results. Accordingly, he is in charge of many companies that pose complicated kosher challenges.
Also, Rabbi Serfaty is multilingual. He speaks many languages fluently and, therefore, we can send him to many parts of the world where companies expect to meet a rabbi who speaks their own language and have perfectly clear communication, which is very important in kashrus.
Last but not least, Rabbi Serfaty’s intelligence and knowledge along with his gracious and pleasant personality make him liked and respected wherever he goes.”
– Rabbi Aharon Haskel, Director of OK Israel
“I have known Rabbi Serfaty for many years. He is a very Chassidishe person and, while he comes from a Sepharic background, he speaks a perfect Yiddish. Rabbi Serfaty also speaks four other languages: Hebrew, English, French and German. He is a yiras shomayim and talmid chocham who is a great Project Manager as a result of his thorough investigative skills, attention to detail and the 150% effort he puts into his work.”
– Rabbi Binyomin Neufeld , OK Israel