Remembering Rabbi Don Yoel Levy OB”M: Flavor Production

The OK has many flavor houses where we have full time mashgichim monitoring the systems there, in addition to the full time employees in our office. We have special systems set up to monitor the receiving of all ingredients (in all certified companies) to ensure that only acceptable ingredients make it into the approved areas in the companies, as well as many checks and balances and individual procedures tailored to the unique realities in each facility. This multi-faceted and custom designed approach makes every product certified by OK Kosher Certification “kosher without compromise”.

Remembering Rabbi Don Yoel Levy – Is Butter Kosher?

For a long time, kashrus agencies considered butter a Group One ingredient—a category applying to products that are kosher without supervision. However, ongoing developments in food production have introduced many kashrus concerns, invalidating common assumptions. 

Remembering Rabbi Don Yoel Levy: Kosher Transport

We usually use this forum to discuss important issues concerning various types of kosher foods, their production methods, equipment, etc. But another vital issue that must be addressed is transport. How do kosher products get from one factory to the next and, ultimately, to stores and your kosher kitchen?

Words of Wisdom

“Always go back to the source,” and “Never be afraid to confront any obstacles,” were my father’s, ob”m, way of life. He was never afraid of something new. Toward the end of his life, when we at the OK were being …

Is Vodka Always Kosher?

L’chaim, anyone? Kosher consumers have long enjoyed a l’chaim after shul, to commemorate a yarzheit, to celebrate simchos, or just to relax at home. Whether it’s a glass of wine, a bit of schnapps, or a lowball glass of whiskey …

What’s so complicated about Chocolate?

As many readers are aware, there was a controversy in the world of chocolate production over the summer. Most notably, the famous Trader Joe’s chips under the supervision of the OK had a status change from kosher pareve, to kosher dairy.

Singapore and Malaysia Revisited Part 2

Rabbi Berel Levy, ob”m was the pioneer and foremost expert in kashrus during his tenure as Kashrus Administrator of the OK. He was the first to realize that reading ingredients was not sufficient to establish the kashrus of a product.

Singapore and Malaysia Revisited Part 1

Rabbi Berel Levy, ob”m was the pioneer and foremost expert in kashrus during his tenure as Kashrus Administrator of the OK. He was the first to realize that reading ingredients was not sufficient to establish the kashrus of a product.

China Revisited Part 2

In the last issue of Kosher Spirit, I shared part of my experiences from my recent trip to China. In this issue I will continue expounding on the trip and the fascinating kashrus insights.

China Revisited

Although the OK maintains a constant rabbinic presence in China, this summer I
returned there personally after a six year hiatus. My first visit was over twenty-three years ago and China has changed greatly in the past two decades!

Rabbi Berel Levy ob”m

Rabbi Berel Levy, ob”m, was the Rav HaMachshir of OK Kosher Certification (then known as Organized Kashrus Laboratories) for over twenty years. He singlehandedly raised the OK from a small kosher certification agency to a global agency impacting and shaping kashrus worldwide.

Responsibility of A Kashrus Agency

To whom is the kashrus agency responsible? As we delve into this matter, we find that a kashrus agency actually has a very complicated balance of responsibilities. The agency is accountable to Hashem, but it also has responsibilities towards the consumer public, the certified companies, and, finally, to itself and its reputation.

An Ounce of Prevention…

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Today, kashrus stories that
attract the reader are those describing a sensational bust—how the
writer or his agency caught a certified company violating kashrus rules.

Makeup on Shabbos & Yom Tov

Recently, the OK was approached to give a hechsher on a makeup powder that would permit use on Shabbos and Yom Tov. The topic of using colored makeup on Shabbos is discussed

Reflections

My father was always extremely careful to have as much transparency as possible and to have one uniform policy for all.

Bamboo Schach

The bamboo mats certified by the OK have enabled thousands of Jews to have easy-to-use, kosher schach for their sukkahs…?

Kosher Medicine List

Today, numerous lists of medicines are published every year, claiming to state whether or not the various medicines are acceptable for Passover use.

Kosher Transport – Part II

n the last few years, OK Kosher Certification has taken a leading role in the effort to track these shipments and ensure that kosher product is shipped in acceptable tanks that will not affect the kosher status of the product.

Kosher Transport – Part I

Nowadays, however, there are a myriad of ingredients used in the production of kosher foods that are not packaged at all. Rather, these bulk ingredients are transported…

Meat Scandal

As a result of the recent unfortunate occurrence in Monsey, where non-kosher meat was sold as kosher by an ostensibly reliable and reputable butcher, a number of meetings were held by local and national kashrus agencies throughout the area.

Non-Stop Supervision

Because of the special problems that can arise in restaurants, it is not sufficient to have a supervisor who comes in on a hit-or-miss basis. Restaurants, caterers, and takeout stores-particularly establishments that prepare or serve meat products-have special kosher concerns that can be met only by a full-time supervisor.

Little Rest in Restaurants

When ingredients are needed at the last minute, restaurant employees commonly run out to purchase them from local stores. As a result, restaurants require more hands-on supervision by the certifying agency.

ChOKolate

Still, no one ate chocolate until 1847, when an English firm added cocoa butter and sugar to ground cacao beans to create sweet, hard chocolate. In 1876, the Swiss added milk to the mix to create the hard milk chocolate we all love.

Green Alert

In order to be effective for the purposes of the kosher laws, a cleaning process must satisfy four conditions.

Kosher Dates

The mark of a reliable supervising agency is the consumer’s assurance that the product contains only kosher ingredients, processed according to the Torah’s standards. But what assures the agency that the product is kosher?

Reading the Label

Thanks to the Internet, OK Kosher Certification is now able to offer more information and education on kosher issues than at any previous time in its 68-year history.

Perrier and the OK

Most of our readers know that the OK Kosher Certification is involved in kosher supervision on an international level. The OK pioneered supervision in the Far East, and we have extensive activity in Europe and Asia as well.