KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
RYS: I grew up in the Stamford Hill area of London. I studied in the Chabad yeshivos in Manchester, London, K’far Chabad, Israel and Morristown, New Jersey. From there I was sent on shlichus to the Chabad yeshiva in Caracas, Venezuela and then finished my studies at the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in Crown Heights, where I received semicha.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
RYS: I married my wife, Chana (nee Stock), in 1997 and I worked in Judaica and then started my career at the OK in the Data Entry department.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
RYS: I am currently a Senior Account Manager and Legal Coordinator, responsible for overseeing certain customer accounts, making financial decisions and managing the many aspects of contract development and other legal document maintenance that a structured certifying body requires.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
RYS: I am naturally a precise and detail oriented person…maybe partially as a result of my English origins! In addition to these qualities and a proficiency in mathematics, I actually started working at the OK 17 years ago and I worked my way up from Data Entry, to managing the entire Data Entry department for nine years. My previous positions at the OK taught me a lot about how the OK interfaces with certified companies, the complex inner workings of our data systems, and also left me with experience in the many areas of kosher certification requiring legal intervention and services.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
RYS: My favorite part about working at the OK is the family atmosphere and the care and appreciation that management shows. It is this warm, community environment that encourages employees to put their best foot forward and aids in securing committed, long term hires.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
RYS: The OK is a kosher organization that is globally respected, on top of their game and, no matter what, never bends the rules when it comes to kashrus decisions. It is these qualities that consistently rank the OK among the top kosher certification agencies worldwide, trusted by millions of consumers and thousands of certified companies.
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at OKthe OK?
RYS: I’m based in the OK headquarters in New York, so I don’t really travel much and have stories like the other rabbis who work here. I would like to say however, that I recently broke my leg and was out of commission for quite a while. During this time, the OK management made sure that my last worry was my work, job security, etc. They made sure to alleviate all of my outside stresses. Even when I returned, they went out of their way to help me get back into the work routine, and for that I’m forever grateful.
However, if I may bring you back to my early days in the data department. This was a time that our rabbis would review each formula on paper. As we like to under promise and over deliver, there was a time when one of our flavor companies had a time sensitive project and Rabbi Levy offered to pitch in with the formula review. The look on his face when I staggered in with a stack of papers which probably reached my nose was priceless! It goes without saying that he put in the hours and reviewed each formula. Thank G-d, we are now paperless and formula review is now done online.
What Other People Say About About Rabbi Yisroel Selwyn
“Yisroel has come up in the ranks to be one of the pivotal personnel in our office. In his quiet, persistent, and persevering manner his accomplishments amaze us.”
— Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator
“Yisroel is someone who only knows how to ‘do it right the first time’. Personally, I have learned a lot from him over the years. He may not even realize how many others were affected by his dedication and positive personality.”
— Rabbi Levi Marmulszteyn, Rabbinic Manager
“In the kashrus field, we must be on top of endless details to meet the challenges that occur as a result of changes or new findings. There are always ‘must do’s’ when it comes to ensuring kashrus compliance and Reb Yisroel Selwyn, in his role of Senior Account Manager and Legal Coordinator, earns the respect of anyone who comes in contact with him. Our international team knows Yisroel will make the process clear and comprehensible for the benefit and betterment of improving kashrus. A pleasure to have him as a part of our team!”
— Rabbi Eli Lando, Chief Customer Relations Officer