Mar 22, 2012

OU To Hold Q&A Session for Pesach Kashrus

The OU is going to be holding a Q&A session regarding kashrus for Pesach at the OU Center in Jerusalem  this Sunday at 8 PM. Different rabbis from the OU, Rabbi Kuber, Rabbi Krakowski and Rabbi Bienenfeld, will be answering questions about how to kasher for Pesach, various halachachos of Pesach and whatnot.

If I was going to attend this session, which I think is very valuable to the community at large, I would ask why the OU was dropped from the recommended mehadrin list of hechshers of Pesach by the Rabbanut. I would ask for reassurances that despite the Rabbanut's move the OU standards have not changed or have improved. I would ask what the ramifications of the Rabbanut's decision are. I would ask what it even means, considering there is no legal definition or standard for mehadrin lashrus in Israel (let alone anywhere else where such a qualification is not even used except by a few small heimishe organizations).

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the session. If any of you do attend, I would appreciate if you asked, or if somebody asked, and if you could let me know what the OU has to say about this situation.

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  1. Shouldn't that question be posed to the Rabbanut?

  2. yes, but the Rabbanut isnt holding a Q&A session for the public.. :-)

    I am not attacking the OU about this, but I would like to hear a response and an explanation from the OU. I saw the Rabbanut's announcement, but I did not see a response from the OU.

  3. I've met New Yorkers who tell me that they don't hold by the OU either because
    1) it certifies stuff like non-pas Yisroel and non-cholov Yisroel products
    2) it certifies so much stuff there's no way they could be kosher without relying on too many leniencies.

    Maybe that's come to Israel?

  4. Garnel:
    1) doesn't make too much sense - no one is being forced to use those products.
    2) What is the connection between the number of products they supervise and reliance on leniencies?

  5. in Israel the standards are slightly different. only chalav yisrael. I do not know their policy on pas yisrael.
    In Israel they are fairly small, so the second concern should not be relevant. If anything, one should use that, if one was going to use such an excuse, to avoid the Badatz Eida or the Rabbanut - as those two are probably the largest hechsherim in Israel.

    The issue with the OU and the Rabbanut had to do with one of the rabbonim heading the OU that the Rabbanut was not satisfied with his level of involvement.

  6. The mehadrin qualification is not used in the US, however, it is used in other countries outside of Israel such as Australia.

  7. Does the Rabbanut distinguish between OU-supervised products made in Israel and those made in the US?

  8. sort of. for example, the rabbanut does not allow import of non-chalav-yisrael, except in powder form and even then only certain types, but the local OU doesnt certify those either.
    In other words, the rabbanut has its rules, and the local OU keeps them even when it means they are keeping a different policy than the parent OU in the USA..

  9. Frankly when it comes to chemical tracking, artificial flavors and colors, the O-U is the best in the world - with multiple food chemists on staff and a complete sourcing database.

    The O-U is well known to hold by their rules, always do appropriate unannounced inspections and manage pay of their inspectors and mashgichim via the organization - avoiding any hashash of influence by the producer.

    In Israel mashgichim are frequently paid by the people they are supervising (as a normal part of the system - not bribes, G-d forbid), surprise visits are rare, and rumors of problems being covered up are rife.

    While the O-U's standards are more lenient, their reputation is more consistent.


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