Monday, May 18, 2009

The OU Is Popping Up All Over Israel!

24 of the Second Month 5769

Today, while shopping at the local "Yesh" supermarket in Ari'el, I noticed a new brand of meat being carried at the butcher's counter, "Fleish." What really caught my attention was the heksher, the kosher certification. It's from the OU.

Now, I had already heard about this brand, that it was OU-certified and that can be found in Jerusalem. I just hadn't yet see it with my own eyes. So, of course, I had to photograph it.

The butcher behind the counter asked me why I was photographing this meat.

I explained to him, that yes, I know it looks strange to photograph meat, but I wanted to show my friends this American te'udath kashruth (kosher certification) I had found in the middle of the Shomron (Samaria).

I'm sure he still thought I was nuts.

Months ago, when I first heard about the OU certifying restaurants, I asked one of their mashgihim (supervisors) as well as another representative from the OU in Israel, why the OU felt the need to provide certifications here.

The answer was simple. The OU symbol and standards are well-known by Americans. When they visit Israel, seeing the OU symbol saves them the guess work of sifting through unfamiliar, albeit reliable, te'udoth kashruth. The same goes for adding the OU certification to products marketed here in Israel.

There are actually 12 restaurants, food producers, and caterers listed in Israel bearing the OU certification. Yet, I happen to know of a few more, not yet listed.

Until recently, much of what was to be found in stores with an OU certification was overstock of items designated for export. Just like the Israeli Chief Rabbinate investigates the kashruth of products entering Israel, the OU sends its experts to factories around the world, preparing to send their products to North America.

For more information on OU-certified products and kashruth in general, visit

Click here for my Kashruth Certification Guide For Israel

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