November 22, 2019

The Force of the Orthodox Union

The Orthodox Union (OU) is the leading organization supporting and building the American Orthodox community. Its teen and young adult engagement efforts stretch across North America through NCSY and JLIC; its lay and rabbinic community building efforts are significant, with its work in supporting synagogues around the country, those with disabilities through Yachad, and rabbinic leaders through the RCA; its advocacy work is also noteworthy, with significant resources devoted to domestic and Israel policy lobbying. Most recently“>Rav Menachem Genack,  is also (and most recognizably) the largest kosher certification agency in the world, certifying more than 500,000 food products in 80 countries. The OU helps to make it possible for religious Jews to survive and thrive in America.

With all leadership transitions, we can reflect upon our hopes for the next stages. The current prestigious president of the OU, Rabbi Dr. Simcha Katz of Teaneck, New Jersey, has been ” target=”_blank”>the right of every Jewish child to a religious education, and expanding accessibility to special education. He has been galvanizing everyone around this issue.

Dr. Katz has often decried the current day school tuition crisis, which threatens further erosion in attendance and community impact. While stressing that an ” target=”_blank”>Martin Nachimson of Los Angeles will be chosen as the new president. Dr. Katz will have made a significant impact at the O.U. and he will certainly remain a force in the community. 

The OU, like all major communal institutions, has a lot of potential for growth. It must set the example by leading not only to protect our own self-interest (Israel, day schools, kashrut, etc.) but also ensure that the Orthodox community is showing global leadership to protect the vulnerable and further more just societies. There should be more leadership on social justice and global issues, like ensuring that the American kosher industry operates justly with more concern for workers, animals, and the environment. ” target=”_blank”>Uri L'Tzedek, the Senior Rabbi at Kehilath Israel, and is the author of “” target=”_blank”>one of the top 50 rabbis in America!”