FROM MELBOURNE TO NORFOLK: GOING GLOBAL AT THE HARRY H. BEREN ASK OU SKYPE KOSHER EDUCATION PROGRAM

March 11, 2014

Melbourne-photo-3

Listeners from Melbourne tune in

As the sun set in Melbourne, Australia it rose in Norfolk, Virginia.  And thus, a new OU Kosher educational program was born.

Just as OU Kosher finished its 10-part Harry H. Beren ASK OU SKYPE series to Kollel Beth HaTalmud in Melbourne in January, Gila Schwartz, a teacher at the Toras Chaim yeshiva day school in Norfolk, contacted Rabbi Yosef Grossman, OU Kosher Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator, who arranged the Melbourne series, to ask for a similar session for her elementary school students. She wasn’t aware that from November, 2012 to just a few days previously, senior OU rabbis had been providing education in the age-old laws and modern applications of kashrut to Chavrei HaKollel, post-rabbinical students Down Under.  Seeing this not as a coincidence, but as Hashgacha – Divine intervention –  as the Melbourne shiurum were ending, Rabbi Grossman had the incentive to set in motion the Harry H. Beren ASK OU Global Skype Program.

“You can be in Russia, you can be in New Zealand, you can be in Norfolk, you can be anywhere,” and we can arrange for an OU Kosher expert, in any area of kashrut, to provide a one-hour program for your group – from elementary level to kollel,” Rabbi Grossman said.

The program, he noted, is free of charge and is open to schools, synagogues and community groups.  Question and answer sessions are included in each session.

In the Melbourne and Norfolk sessions, the OU rabbi sat in front of a camera via SKYPE and he appeared on the screen at the receiving school.  In the Melbourne program, at 5:00 p.m. New York time, the rabbis could view students 13,000 miles away, where it was already 9 a.m. the next day, paying careful attention and taking notes.  In one session, the OU bird expert, Rabbi Chaim Loike, held up doves and pigeons and other winged creatures, to the amusement of young rabbis far below the equator on the other side of the world.  For the Norfolk session, Rabbi Abraham Juravel, speaking on industrial production, sat in front of an array of canned goods.

Rabbi-Juravel

Rabbi Abraham Juravel’s demonstration for Norfolk

Rabbi Grossman suggests the following possible topics:

  • The mesorah (tradition) of kosher birds, eggs and animals (Rabbi Chaim Loike);
  • Current kosher fish issues (Rabbi Chaim Goldberg);
  • The production of kosher wine and liquor (Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz);
  • The new Shmata Bedikah for checking fruits and vegetables (Rabbi Issar Mordechai Fuchs);
  • Meet the OU’s “Meat Team”  (Rabbis Moshe Klarberg, Seth Mandel and Nosson Goldberg)
  • Or request a topic of specific interest to your community, group or organization.

“It is extraordinary what today’s technology can accomplish and how OU Kosher utilizes it to the maximum to provide kashrut education at all levels,” declared Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher. “Over the past decade, working with the Harry H. Beren Foundation of New Jersey, we have sent rabbis on the road all over the United States and Canada and to Israel to provide kosher education to young children and to veteran rabbis; in addition, many groups have come to visit us here at the OU for sessions.  But now, thanks to SKYPE, we can make this education available where it is too far for us to go, or not convenient for the group to come to us. First there was Melbourne. Then there was Norfolk. Now there is the world!”

            For further information on the ASK OU Global SKYPE program, contact Rabbi Grossman at grossmany@ou.org or 212-613-8212, or 914-391-9470.