Communications, the backbone of commerce and human civilization since time immemorial, has taken huge leaps over the past two decades. With the advent of the World Wide Web and Internet protocol, what once took much time to dispatch information can now be accomplished almost instantaneously with the click of a button. The global economy has rapidly shrunk because of this, and the amount of information readily available for access is mindboggling. However, what has become the center of attention in this era of the Information Age is the portal that allows access to all this information, the website.
At the Orthodox Union, we are no exception and like most other organizations and companies throughout the globe we have developed numerous websites and applications for our clients and consumers. Primarily, the main web page at http://www.oukosher.org, serves as the gateway to a vast array of information regarding our kosher certification services. Recently, the home page went through a redesign to allow for a more user-friendly, eye-pleasing informative experience. The page was designed to bring together both consumers and companies, so that each may explore what the OU has to offer. With a wide collection of articles and audio-visual presentations, vast amounts of kosher information are easily accessible.
Additionally, as a service to OU certified companies, we have a Featured Companies section on the home page, which displays the logos and information about various OU companies. Furthermore, the page now has scrolling information such as Newly Certified products and establishments, OU News, and Kosher Alerts. Especially important to consumers is our new Product Search function, which helps verify for them if a product is indeed certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. For industrial applications that require an actual letter of certification, we have a link (called LOC Letters) on the top right of our homepage, which will allow interested parties to view and print kosher certificates of non-confidential OU certified products.
OU companies can garner tremendous exposure from their placement on our website. As described above, each time consumers log on to our homepage, they will automatically view the profile of various companies with links to their website. These profiles constantly refresh, exposing a wide range of OU Kosher clients to a vast array of food production corporations. Additionally, companies can find out the latest trends in kosher food production, as well as articles relating to kosher law. For companies and products requesting additional exposure, newly certified companies, products, and brands are periodically refreshed.
This is but the beginning of a constant redesign, redevelopment, and upgrades to our website. Essentially, in the digital era the World Wide Web serves as the main street of commerce, and home pages as the storefront. Featured elsewhere in this issue is information regarding oudirect.org, the powerful website that allow OU companies to manage and view their kosher programs and accounts. Coupled together with some specialty sites such as oupassover.org – our Passover site – and ou.org the site of OU Kosher’s parent organization, we are embarking on an ambitious plan to make OU Kosher information available to all.
Rabbi Eli Eleff is rabbinic coordinator and website administrator for OU Kosher. He graduated from the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem and received his rabbinic ordination from the prestigious Yeshivas Ohr Hachaim in Kew Gardens Hills, NY. Rabbi Eleff also earned both his BA and MS from Touro College in New York City.