OU Sends Free Kosher Kidz Video to Jewish Schools

January 16, 2008

Here is a recipe for a tasty video that has just been released by OU Kosher:

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Take an enthusiastic boy, about nine or ten years old, who seemingly was born to perform in front of a camera, feed him lots of ice cream, add clever animation, and what do you get?

It’s Kosher Kidz, the new 12 ½ minute video just released in DVD format by OU Kosher to explain the intricacies of kosher certification to school “kidz,” and their teachers and parents as well.

The OU is distributing 1,000 copies, free of charge, to Jewish day schools/yeshivot and congregational schools of all the streams of Judaism across North America and even beyond for an audience of nine to fifteen-year-olds, with each school receiving one copy. A delegation led by Rabbi Yaacov Luban, Executive Rabbinic Coordinator of OU Kosher, went to the Safeway Ice Cream factory in Seattle to watch and record every step of the production process as well as the work of the OU rabbinic field representative assigned to supervise the factory.

“The rationale for the video was that it would be important for children to understand why products need supervision and for them to understand the complexity of what it is involved – it’s not just some rabbi stamping an OU on the package,” Rabbi Luban explained. He co-wrote a script based on how Safeway goes about making ice cream, and how the OU certifies it as kosher.

The Kosher Program Is Very Complex:“We did everything with Safeway’s permission and cooperation,” Rabbi Luban said. “They went about their normal business and we shot each phase of production. The video provides a window of insight into how kosher production works and why it’s important to have reliable supervision. Even in a kosher audience, such as in the yeshivot, there is very little understanding of what is involved. It’s important for people to appreciate that the process of making a product kosher is very complex and involves much professionalism. Teachers will find the video to be very informative as well.”

According to Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator and Vice President of Marketing and Communications of OU Kosher, Kosher Kidz is but the latest in an ever-increasing series of educational initiatives of OU Kosher. They include dispatching rabbis to congregations, yeshivas, schools and seminaries across North America as part of the “OU Kosher Coming” programs, to lead sessions and to answer questions, as well as the ever-expanding “Kosher Tidbits” feature on http://www.ouradio.org, in which OU experts have recorded more than 90 broadcasts (with more being added all the time) on every aspect imaginable of kosher production and certification. The Kosher Kidz video will be posted to http://www.oukosher.org, where much kosher information is available and is constantly updated.

“The new video is part of a consistent effort to reach out with kosher education through a variety of means, for children and adults,” Rabbi Safran said. “It is part of OU Kosher’s responsibility of not only certifying food but of educating people about keeping kosher as well.”

Besides the ice cream, the star of the video is young Moses Bibi, of Atlantic Beach in suburban Long Island, NY, who sat in his own kitchen as Rick Magder, who produced and directed the video, put him through his paces. Playing a boy named Ezra, Moshe watches wide-eyed as the Safeway production process is shown, then asks questions of a mythical OU Kosher rabbi, played by OU staffer Rabbi Mayer Waxman, who responds to him through a computer monitor.

Madger, who co-wrote the script with Rabbi Luban, chose Moses after holding auditions with boys sent up by talent agencies. Moses has done some acting in the past; based on the way he appears in the video, he’ll do some more in the future.

“He has a real upbeat personality and gets really excited about what he’s doing,” Magder explained. A student at the Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway, not far from Atlantic Beach, Moses has also sung in the Yeshiva Boys Choir.

It didn’t hurt that Moses keeps kosher in his own home. “We were ideally looking for somebody who understands what we were trying to do,” Magder said. “He’s like a real professional, he learned his lines, and he ate lots of ice cream.”

Although the DVD is being distributed to schools affiliated with the various Jewish branches, OU Kosher will also provide a free copy to non-affiliated schools as well.

Families or individuals who want a copy can order one from OU Kosher for a $10 shipping and handling charge.

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