Judaism and the Jewish way of life are full of cycles—from holidays that reoccur every year to the moon that renews each month; from milestones that mark significant events in one’s life such as birth and death, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, to marriage and family. Now, in July, an OU Kosher cycle will renew, the Harry H. Beren ASKOU program held every other summer, which for the tenth time will train kosher professionals to become experts in their fields. Applications are now being accepted for the ASKOU10 elite education program.
The purpose of ASKOU10 is to educate the new generation of kashrut professionals or to provide background for those who will not practice kashrut certification full time, but who will benefit in their daily work from advanced kosher education. As in past years, many of the full time professionals are expected to work for large kosher certification agencies or for their local Vaad HaKashrut.
Funding for ASKOU10 comes from the Harry H. Beren Foundation of Lakewood, NJ. The Beren Foundation provides financial support to a wide variety of OU kashrut education programs for all levels of knowledge and ages.
ASKOU10 (Advanced Seminars on Kashrut) consists of two separate courses of study: A three-week internship providing intensive kashrut education to 10-20 participants, which will be held from July 21-August 10; and a one week-program, providing an overview of the field for as many as 65 applicants, which will be held from August 2-6. The internship participants will also take the one-week session.
The ASKOU three-week program has close to 600 graduates from all over the globe, many of whom have gone on to take important positions in the kosher world.
According to Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Orthodox Union Director of Kosher Education, the three-week internship is intended for semicha (rabbinical) students or members of a kollel for post-rabbinic education.
The one-week session is intended for congregational rabbis, semicha students, kollel members or members of a local Vaad HaKashrut certifying organization, who take the program to refine their skills for use in their communities. Registration for the one-week program is $75.
Both the three-week and one-week programs will consist of classes and demonstrations held at OU Kosher headquarters in New York, taught by OU senior rabbis and visiting experts, together with field visits to plants certified by the OU. The three-week program, Rabbi Grossman explains, will be a more intensive version of the one-week session.
“ASKOU10 will take participants behind the scenes at the world’s largest kosher certification agency and give students the opportunity to witness the cutting edge of modern day kosher food technology,” declared Rabbi Grossman. He emphasized that although “kosher law is immutable, the technology is continually evolving, and OU expertise evolves with it.”
The programs will include:
- How to set up a local Vaad HaKashrut
- Basic treibering (the removal of veins and fats)
- Kosher issues related to bakeries, butcher stores, fish stores, pizza parlors, restaurants, and other food service establishments
- Factory supervision
- The basics of ingredients and biotechnology
- The halacha (law) of practical kashrut
- How to perform industrial and retail koshering.
Participants will visit the kitchen of an OU restaurant, a meat processing facility under OU supervision, an OU certified factory and a hotel kitchen, as well as other facilities.