Addressing the topic of Ingredient Panels (on food packages): Unraveling the Mysteries, Rabbi Richard Levine, Orthodox Union Rabbinic Field Representative for the Mid-Atlantic Region, will visit the Bensalem Outreach Center on Tuesday, November 14 to present the OU’s “Coming to a Yeshiva Near You” program. The event will be part of “Kosher Month,” being presented throughout November by the Center.
The OU program was established recently to shed light on the ever-more complex world of kosher certification in light of new foods, ingredients, and machinery which are continually coming into existence. It is supported by the Henriette and Gustave Jacobs Chair in Kashrut Education of OU Kosher.
The Bensalem Outreach Center, located at 2446 Bristol Road in the Philadelphia suburb of that name, serves the Bucks County and Philadelphia region. It is a kiruv organization – that is, one dedicated to reaching out to all Jews – with the mission, according to Rabbi Yechiel Mintz, its Director, “of spreading the beauty of Torah and of enhancing the Judaic knowledge of Jews of all affiliations.” The Center accomplishes its work, he explained, through a variety of programs including one-on-one (chavruta) learning sessions, lectures, classes, community holiday meals and parties, home study groups, women’s events and similar approaches.
According to Rabbi Mintz, the Center is launching “Kosher Month” in November “to educate and inform Jews of the importance of keeping kosher and how to do so, through a multitude of educational, informative and interactive programs.” The Center is planning a large publicity campaign to advertise Kosher Month, with a substantial attendance expected. The OU visit will be a highlight of Kosher Month.
“The OU, as the largest, best-known kosher certifying agency in America, is able to provide an educational, technical, informative, and in-depth look behind the scenes and up front on kosher supervision in today’s day and age, and to educate the consumer on the vital importance of keeping kosher,” Rabbi Mintz explained. “Our goal is to educate and heighten an awareness of kosher observance in Bensalem and the surrounding communities through a variety of interactive, educational programs, such as the one the OU will be presenting.”
According to Rabbi Dr. Eliyahu Safran, OU Kosher Senior Rabbinic Coordinator and Vice President of Communications & Marketing, “OU Kosher has recently undertaken a dramatic expansion of its educational programs for the broad Jewish community, including day schools and of yeshivas. We have initiated a program under whose auspices we will send our experts to schools to give seminars on the latest in kashrut halacha (the Jewish laws of kosher) and technology, or on a topic of the given school’s choice. The programs will be geared to the levels of participants.”
Rabbi Safran continued, “The halacha of kosher remains constant, but the conditions are constantly changing. Even yeshiva rabbis, with years of experience in teaching the laws, will be gratified to hear from OU experts about the latest developments, for unless you are involved full time in kosher certification – as the OU rabbis are – it is impossible to keep up with the changing world of food production.”
Rabbi Safran noted that the visit to Bensalem will be the first outside of the New York Metropolitan area, where the program was tested with great success at the end of the last school year as well as in the first weeks of the new school year, with several yeshivot welcoming OU rabbis to their kosher enrichment programs.
To bring an OU rabbi to your yeshiva/day school (or synagogues and community groups), contact Rabbi Safran or Rabbi Eliyahu Ferrell.