Rav Yisroel Belsky, OU Kosher halachic posek, is an extremely soft-spoken man, but through the wonders of modern communications, his voice and image carried 10,300 miles as he conducted the first of a series of five monthly lectures on Skype from the experts at OU Kashrus in New York to the students at the Kollel Beth HaTalmud in Melbourne, Australia. A program of OU Kosher’s Harry H. Beren ASK OU Outreach initiative, the sessions will deal with various aspects of kosher law and their application to modern food technology.
The program is coordinated by Rabbi Yosef Grossman, OU Kosher Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator.
The first installment, held in late November, originated at 5:00 p.m. New York time, which was 9:00 a.m. the next day in Melbourne. An audience of more than 100 was present at the kollel for the webcast.
Rav Belsky’s shiur was on “The Mesorah of Kosher Birds and Animals.” Among the species he covered were the giraffe, buffalo, zebu, peacock, mallard duck, and Canadian goose. In response to a question from a shochet in New Zealand, OU Kosher’s bird expert, Rabbi Chaim Loike, brought in a live Indian Runner duck for Rabbi Belsky to determine whether or not the bird is kosher — it is.
Rabbi Yisroel Greenwald, project coordinator at the kollel, wrote to Rabbi Grossman, “Although we were geographically on the other side of the globe, everyone present at the shiur felt as connected to Rabbi Belsky as if he were actually sitting together with us is one room. Everyone at the kollel already knew of the Rav’s greatness in Torah, but we were equally amazed by his breadth of scientific knowledge and his ability to convey complicated Torah concepts in such an enjoyable manner.”
In another message, Rabbi Greenwald wrote, “Thank you, thank you for the unbelievable shiur! It was a masterpiece — everyone loved it — m’koton v’ad godol (We also loved the duck.) We had close to a hundred people and I am also looking into making a local showing in the evening for those in the broader community who were not able to attend. It’s a great opportunity to have the zechus to hear a shiur from an adom godol as Rav Belsky, and we are eagerly anticipating the others as well.”
The next program will feature Rabbi Chaim Goldberg on kosher fish, Thursday December 20, 5:00 p.m. New York time, which is Friday, December 21, 9:00 a.m. down under.