In response to an increase in questions from consumers, Orthodox Union (OU) Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency, has unveiled three new tools on its popular app. The new bug-checking, tevilas keilim, and pas Yisrael tools are designed to help clarify these three very important aspects of kashrus and make them more accessible through the app.

The new bug-checking tool offers a how-to, step-by-step guide, and breaks down the type of fruit or vegetable into categories: Canned vegetables, dried fruit, fresh berries, fresh vegetables, and frozen vegetables. Clicking on a category brings the user to a listing of specific fruits or vegetables and then to a detailed description of how to inspect for bugs and where to do so.

The new tevilas keilim tool offers a brief explanation of what needs and does not need to be toiveled in a mikveh and whether it requires a berachah. All kitchen cookery and utensils are listed in alphabetical order for the consumer’s ease.

“How and when to check for bugs and what appliances and cookware need to be immersed in a mikvah are two of the most common questions we receive. Technology is enabling us to provide faster and clearer information to consumers,” said OU Kosher’s director of operations, Rabbi Moshe Zywica. “Our goal with the OU Kosher app has always been to provide a central resource to address all of the community’s kosher-food-related questions, and we continue to look for ways to update it to meet the growing needs of the kosher consumer.”

The OU Kosher app for iPhone and Android is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play and offers a search engine to OU Kosher’s products index, new kosher product alerts, FAQs, and a hotline button where you can ask a question and someone from OU Kosher will respond. You can find links to download the app on OU Kosher .

OU Kosher Forms New Department to Focus on Education

OU Kosher has formed a new department focused on education and support of the community on kashrus-related topics. More than 1,100 people from 23 countries on six continents recently participated in the department’s first virtual event. Sessions focused on bedikas tolaim (checking for insect infestation) with real-time close-up video of bugs on vegetables, checking and identifying issues in chickens, actual kashering of industrial plants, and the cheese-making process.

Participants joined from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Germany, Gibraltar, India, Israel, Italy, Laos, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Peru, Philippines, St. Barts, South Africa, Serbia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

“As we continue to grow the reach of OU Kosher around the globe, there was a critical need to provide more education and other resources to consumers. We are very proud of OU Kosher’s new community relations department and the tremendous success of its first program,” said OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack. “More than 1,100 people from around the world gathered to discuss some of the most pressing kashrus-related questions.”

“We created the new community relations department in order to better serve the global kosher-observant Jewish community and its ever-evolving needs,” said OU Kosher COO Rabbi Moshe Elefant. “We wanted to create a communal hub which includes the OU Kosher hotline, speaker’s bureau, educational resources, consulting, conferences, and more. We’re pleased to share that Rabbi Eli Eleff, who has been a rabbinic coordinator/account executive with OU Kosher for more than 10 years, has agreed to serve as managing director of this new division.”

“Our vision for the community relations department is to provide the resources and tools for the community and to address their needs. This virtual conference was our first step in doing so, and it clearly demonstrates a very strong demand from the global Jewish community. We are here to work with you,” Rabbi Eleff said.

OU Kosher, the world’s largest kosher certification agency, certifies more than 1 million ingredients in 10,000 plants in more than 100 countries. The agency certifies two-thirds of all kosher-certified foods in the United States. For more information, visit OUKosher.org.

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