KS: Where did you grow up? Where did you go to yeshiva?
RSBL: Due to the nature of my father’s occupation as a representative of the JDC, I grew up in Eastern Europe – first in Ukraine and later in Russia. As a young child I attended The Cheder in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine and later in Petersburg, Russia. When it was time for mesivta, I attended yeshiva in Moscow, and progressed to Yeshiva Gedola in Israel, the UK and New York.
KS: What did you do after yeshiva?
RSBL: After yeshiva I was sent on shlichus to the Lubavitch Yeshiva in Chicago and then I taught for a year at the Lubavitch Yeshiva of Detroit. Following my rabbinic studies, I married my wife Goldie, and we currently live in Crown Heights, Brookyn.
KS: What is your current position at the OK?
RSBL: I am a Rabbinic Coordinator, or RC for short. This means that it is my job to set up custom systems for kosher production, oversee the local mashgiach, and conduct inspections of the companies under my purview, taking full responsibility for enabling a product bearing the OK to have the highest standard of kashrus.
KS: What prepared you the most for your current position at the OK?
RSBL: Due to my job’s rabbinic nature, I believe that my years in yeshiva gave me the foundation needed to do my job properly, specifically, my rabbinic studies at the Central Lubavitch Yeshiva in 770.
KS: What is best thing about working at the OK?
RSBL: It’s not enough to be a rabbi when one is a Rabbinic Coordinator; one must be open to learning other subjects as well – chemistry, mechanics and more. Working at the OK is an amazing opportunity to broaden one’s views and knowledge.
KS: How would you describe the OK today?
RSBL: The OK is a very fine tuned kosher supervision agency that puts kashrus as its very top priority. I wish more people really knew how much knowledge, expertise, and sincere effort the staff at the OK put in to every product they certify. It really is incredible!
KS: Can you share an interesting experience that you had while working at the OK?
RSBL: Once I visited a company that manufactured sweet beverages. Generally, when I arrive at a company I try to sit down with the company representatives and have a general discussion of the production and kosher system.
While having this conversation, I asked them if they had any grape juice at their plant and they answered—obviously—in the negative. Later, when I went to inspect the warehouse, I didn’t find anything problematic at first. Then, I noticed a slightly stained tote at the side of the warehouse. The label on the top was hand written in Russian script, which is quite difficult to decipher and virtually illegible for those who are not familiar with Russian. Thankfully, I’m a native Russian speaker and could read it. The tote label stated “grape juice 2018” (the year this visit was conducted).
Thanks to my knowledge of Russian I was able to take immediate action. This experience taught me that when it comes to kashrus, there is no such thing as being too careful.
What Others Say:
“Rabbi Lepkivker is a great asset to the OK Kosher team. His youthful energy, eagerness to learn, and his knowledge of halacha, coupled with his fluency in several languages, have positioned him as one of our up and coming Rabbinic Coordinators.” -Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator
“Rabbi Lepkivker is a young kashrus professional and I am certain that with continued hard work and dedication he will, bezras hashem, surely advance and excel. It is a pleasure to work with him and watch him grow.” -Rabbi Levi Marmulszteyn, Rabbinic Manager
“Rabbi Lepkivker’s knowledge of Halacha and research of industry practices has made him an invaluable resource to OK Kosher. It is my pleasure to discuss all matters of kashrus with someone of his caliber.” -Rabbi Levi Y. Schapiro, Rabbinic Coordinator