Insight into Ask OU: The World’s Premier Training Initiative

By Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer

As part of its ongoing professional enrichment initiatives, OU Kosher hosts two programs every other summer that are geared to enhance kosher certification worldwide and to cultivate the next generation of kosher professionals. These two acclaimed programs, the Ask OU Summer Seminar and Summer Internship, are the premier professional training events in the kosher certification industry.

Under the direction of Rabbi Joseph Grossman, Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator of OU Kosher, Ask OU, now in its 12th year, receives applications from rabbinical students and kosher professionals around the world, seeking close proximity to the OU’s expertise and educational offerings. Rabbi Grossman selects both those kosher professionals whom he feels would most benefit from the program’s mentoring, as well as a select group of post-graduate rabbinical students who show a genuine interest in kosher supervision and certification as a career.

As part of Ask OU’s global network, many participants hail from outside of the United States. Young rabbis and communal leaders from Mexico, Germany, Hungary, South America – and even Australia – have been welcomed as participants for recent sessions. They remain in touch with the OU well after the program concludes, as they bring their newly-acquired knowledge to their communities and beyond.

This year’s Ask OU Summer Seminar, ran for one week, had a record enrollment of 70; the Ask OU Summer Internship, which runs for three weeks, had a record enrollment of 25. As usual, the participants were extremely diverse geographically, ethnically, and experientially. The three-week group joined with the one-week students to learn together.

The participants enthusiastically attended detailed lectures from an array of senior OU professionals specializing in virtually every industry out there: emulsifiers, flavors, meat, dairy, produce, chemicals, snacks, bakeries, fish, seasonings, oils, vitamins, pasta, eggs, wines, food services, liquid beverages, stabilizers and powder blends, sweeteners, grains, bulk transport, and more. The students attended explanatory kosher audits of several OU-certified facilities, including major poultry and oil plants as well as a host of renowned OU-certified food service establishments in Manhattan.

The OU is proud to be able to play the leading role in enhancing kosher certification throughout the globe and mentoring and cultivating the next generation of kosher certification professionals. Actively pursuing its commitment to quality, diversity and enriching local and global communities, elevates the mission of the OU and brings greater strength to its esteemed brand.