Just in time for the Torah portion of Shemini, to be read March 29 and which introduces the laws of kosher, OU Kosher will celebrate the production of the 100th and 101st Kosher Tidbits, the comprehensive series of 15-minute broadcasts by OU experts on a wide variety of kosher topics, and heard on OU Torah.
The century mark is reached by a program on Shemittah, the sabbatical year in Israel, recorded by Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer of OU Kosher; and the 101st on non-kosher kitchens, by Rabbi Eliyahu Ferrell, Rabbinic Consultant.
According to Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, OU Senior Rabbinic Consultant and Vice President of Marketing and Communications, who conceived the series and with Rabbi Ferrell puts it together, “The programs recognize that although kosher law is immutable, food technology keeps changing and the ancient must be applied to the new. How this is done is at the heart of Kosher Tidbits, and is greatly responsible for its success.”
In the series, which began in the fall of 2006, OU Kosher halachic consultants and rabbinic coordinators – all of whom spend their professional lives immersed in the complexities of kosher law — provide detailed yet understandable explanations of a wide variety of subjects for an audience ranging from those with minimal knowledge of the laws but seeking to learn more, to rabbis and rabbinical students. The programs have a worldwide audience of 20,000, with listeners in the United States, Israel, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Sweden, The Netherlands, Brazil, Chile and Germany, among other locales, with programs not only available on the website, but being downloaded onto listeners’ personal computers, ipods and other electronic devices.
Now, the first 100 Tidbits are also available on one CD, for those who do not have the Internet or would like to carry the set around with them wherever they go. It can be ordered at no charge from Rabbi Safran.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of OU Kosher declared, “The extraordinary range of knowledge and experience of OU Kosher rabbis is available worldwide, and not only to the companies they serve, through Kosher Tidbits. I congratulate the staff and Rabbis Safran and Ferrell on this extraordinary series, a source of great pride to all of us with any connection to OU Kosher.”
The most basic household products are explored in Kosher Tidbits, with a touch of humor accompanying profound Torah knowledge: “The ‘Hole’ Truth: Bagels and the OU,” “Let’s ‘Ex-Salmon’ the Kashrut of Fish;” “Kosher Yogurt: An Uplifting Cultural Experience;” “As the World Churns: Aspects of Kosher Butter Production,” “Trix of the Trade: The Production of Kosher Cereals,” and “Cracking the Mysteries of the Egg,” to name but a few, go into refrigerators and food cabinets to clarify the mysteries of kosher.
In one of the most meaty categories, there is a four-part series on “The Certification of Meat,” accompanied by “A Guide for the Perplexed – About Purchasing Meat,” by OU halachic consultant Rabbi Yisroel Belsky.
The program proceeds from the kitchen to the supermarket for labeling issues and ingredient panels; goes behind the scenes of kosher certification for “The OU Mashgiach: Partner or Patrolman,” looks at Practical Halacha and Hashkafa (law and custom), with “Mission Not Impossible: The Kosher Jew in a Non-Kosher Milieu,” and delves into Science and Kosher, with “Kosher Vinegar Manufacture: Where Divine Revelation Meets Ethanol Fermentation.”
A section on Passover, which has its own enormous set of kosher issues, explores “Kitniyos: The Next Best Thing to Chometz,” and “L’Chaim! Behind-the-Scenes at Kosher Wine-Making.”
New segments will be added all the time, Rabbi Safran promises. “We will never run out of topics because as long as people eat, there will be issues to discuss and explain,” he said. “All the experience our rabbis gain in the field and from their learning will continue to be available around the globe. Kosher Tidbits is more than just a series; it is thorough explanation of how a basic human need, eating, is raised to the level of the sacred with each bite we take.”