I worked for Rabbi Levy for almost 15 years. Freshly out of college and newly moved to Crown Heights, I started my first position at the OK.
During my tenure at the OK, I witnessed many upheavals in the world of kashrus—some were challenges faced by the OK, and some were challenges that were faced by other agencies, but all impacted the world of kashrus. In each situation, Rabbi Levy zt”l was steadfast in his principles, in his motto, of kashrus without compromise. Sometimes this meant that Rabbi Levy passed up a potentially lucrative new account, sometimes this meant Rabbi Levy had to part ways with a certified company, and sometimes it meant Rabbi Levy had to take a stand in the name of kashrus. Despite the different natures of the situations that came up, one thing never changed. Rabbi Levy was driven only by halacha and emes; everything else fell to the wayside. It was never about his kovod, it was never about the financial considerations. The only consideration for Rabbi Levy was kashrus!
On a more personal note, Rabbi Levy often traveled to Israel and davened in the same shul as my father-in-law. Without fail, every time Rabbi Levy returned to the office after a trip to Israel, he stopped at my desk to pass on regards from my in-laws. I was one of 70 employees in the main office, and one of hundreds of employees worldwide, yet Rabbi Levy always made an effort to connect to his staff members in a meaningful way.
Rabbi Levy showed me what it means to be a true leader—he led us with conviction, with principle, with a clear plan, and with true concern for each one of us. This is what propelled the OK to the top of the kashrus world and what will keep us focused on our mission to continue the shlichus that Rabbi Levy established for each one of us.
Dina Fraenkel is the Editor of Kosher Spirit and Assistant Director of the Public Relations & Education Dept.