Rabbi Berel Levy OBM

Rabbi Berel Levy OBM

Rabbi Bernard (Berel) Levy grew up in the 1920s, outside of New York City. He attended the Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and later studied at the famed Lubavitcher Yeshiva in Otwock, Poland.
After his studies, his initial work establishing the Torah Umesorah Day School system brought him into close contact with many luminaries in Orthodox Jewry.

In 1965, Rabbi Levy took possession of OK Kosher Certification. He became a pioneer in the field, shaking up the kosher world by examining complete factory processes and the chemistry of ingredients, and traveling to any and all countries overseas to check out raw materials.

Before the age of computers, Rabbi Berel Levy’s head worked like a computer. After he passed away, someone approached his wife Mrs. Thelma Levy and said, “If only I could have been in his head for a few minutes to marvel at all that was contained in there.” He knew all the companies and ingredients used in each facility. Today the OK uses sophisticated software to document each ingredient and product for every company we certify, ensuring the highest standard of kosher available.

Rabbi Berel Levy left behind an incredible legacy of organized, high quality kosher supervision for the Jewish consumer. His leadership was transferred to his son Rabbi Don Yoel Levy upon his passing in 1987. Since Rabbi Don Yoel’s untimely passing in 2020, this combined legacy continues today with the OK Kosher Certification Board of Trustees and Executive Rabbinical Council.

Rabbi Don Yoel Levy OBM

Rabbi Don Yoel Levy OBM

Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, of blessed memory, is considered to have been the foremost personality in the kosher world in his time.  He was renowned for his vast scholarship and unshakeable principles, coupled with an impassioned desire to inspire the kosher industry to strive for ever higher standards. Over time, his name became synonymous with all that is strictly kosher.

In 1965, Rabbi Don Yoel’s father, Rabbi Berel Levy, purchased OK Kosher Certification, at the time a minor agency, from George Goldstein. In a little over a decade, Rabbi Berel had succeeded in building the OK into a formidable force and leader on the kosher scene. To help him further develop his organization, Rabbi Berel Levy turned to his talented and learned son Rabbi Don Yoel, who had received his rabbinic ordination from some of the Jewish world’s most revered figures, among them the esteemed Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, of blessed memory.

For a ten-year period, he worked under the tutelage of his famous father; soaking in the vast quantity of knowledge and guidance shown to him. Upon his father’s passing in 1987, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy assumed the leadership of OK Kosher Certification.  During this time, Rabbi Levy guided the agency’s development into a new era of global advances in technology, amid soaring demand for kosher food worldwide.  Throughout his leadership, he comprehensively trained and mentored the world’s most professional and knowledgeable team of kosher experts at OK Kosher.

After Rabbi Don Yoel Levy’s passing in the spring of 2020, the OK Kosher Executive Rabbinical Council now holds the responsibility for all standards of Kosher law and policy that govern OK Kosher.  Founded upon the precedent he set, the entire organization continues toward the shared goal of living up to Rabbi Levy’s legacy in running OK Kosher.


In 1935, a fledgling kosher agency was born.
Thousands of brands, 99 countries, and nearly 600,000 products later,
the OK symbol is instantly recognized and accepted across the globe.

This is our story.

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The way it was

For centuries, kosher consumers ate home-cooked meals, prepared with fresh food from their trusted butcher, baker, fishmonger and farmer.

A new world

Grocery chains spring up across the United States, and America’s food supply starts to rapidly industrialize. Now products made in factories hundreds of miles from home begin to appear on store shelves. Kosher-keeping families try to rely on ingredient labels to determine kosher status, but not all labels are accurate, and many aren’t even disclosed. Consumers loyal to Torah law and tradition desperately need a solution.

A New York food chemist steps up the challenge

Abraham Goldstein, a devout Jew and certified chemist, recognizes the pressing need for kosher food regulation. He founds Organized Kashrus Laboratories (OK Labs), a kosher certification that introduces a new standard of trust between food makers and consumers

Explosion of the food supply chain

With the food industry expanding in every direction, products made across the street can now include ingredients from across the globe. Current methods of kosher certification don’t have the reach to endorse these products – Jewish families need a way to verify foods from even the farthest corners of the earth.

Taking kosher on the road

Rabbi Bernard “Berel” Levy, a graduate of New York’s finest rabbinical school and a visionary businessman, assumes the leadership of OK Labs. He sets out to bridge the information gap on the journey from global manufacturing plants to each family’s table.
By following ingredients all the way up the chain – landing in Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia and beyond – Rabbi Levy consolidates nearly a dozen regional kosher certification systems and forges a reputation for integrity, service and trust.
For the first time, consumers and manufacturers can know the kosher status of even trace ingredients, such as ascorbic acid and MSG.

Passing the OK Torch

After Rabbi Berel Levy’s passing, his son, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, takes the helm of OK Kosher, allowing it to continue leading the kosher food industry with knowledge, efficiency and dependability.
Rabbi Levy and his team continue to innovate in areas not yet touched by other organizations. They tackle the problem of contamination during shipment by inventing a tracking and sealing system still in use today. They invest heavily in a comprehensive database for internal and client use that’s recognized as the most advanced of its kind.
Thinking of the future, Rabbi Levy makes it his duty to train the next generation of kosher certification authorities from within his own pool of Rabbinic Coordinators at OK Kosher.

The future is now

Upon Rabbi Don Yoel Levy’s passing in 2020, the Executive Rabbinical Council, or Vaad HaKashrus, collectively assume responsibility for the OK’s kashrus standards. Senior Management, alongside the Executive Rabbinical Council, govern the policies upon which our programs for certified companies are based. Their decisions unwaveringly follow in the spirit and teachings of Rabbi Don Yoel Levy.