Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher, was named to the Forward 50, one of the highest honors in the Jewish world today.
The feature is a compilation of what the paper calls “50 of the most influential members of the American Jewish community,” which includes top picks; politics; ideas and activism; religion; community; culture; and, philanthropy.
This is what the Forward 50 had to say about Rabbi Genack:
“As the top dog in the complicated world of kosher food inspection, Rabbi Menachem Genack usually works behind the scenes. But this year, a series of scandals forced him into the public eye to steady the culinary bedrock of America’s observant Jews. First, Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s worldwide Kosher Division, had to deal with complaints about the treatment of both animals and workers at the nation’s largest kosher slaughterhouse, the Iowa-based AgriProcessors. Later in the year, he was pushed into action after it was discovered that a kosher distributor in upstate New York was selling nonkosher meat. Each time, Genack reassured consumers in his quiet, scholarly way, without giving a free pass to the companies in question.
The tremendous success of the industry today is largely due to Genack, 59, who has been at his post since graduating from rabbinical seminary in the 1960s. Since then, O.U. Kosher has grown to a company with 550 employees overseeing 400,000 products. The problems of the past year suggest that supervision may not have kept up with the industrialization of the food industry. While it’s too early to tell if Genack’s interventions will heal the problems and maintain public faith, few doubt that if anyone can do it, it will be him.”