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OU Tackles ME Politics, Cooking Oil

The Orthodox Union takes on Jewish issues ranging from the Iranian threat to kosher cooking oil.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 4/29/2010, 11:05 PM / Last Update: 4/30/2010, 11:10 AM

Flash 90

The Orthodox Union is known for dealing with a variety of issues relating to Jewish life, from granting kosher certification to providing online Torah classes to running its own job search board. This week the OU marked two unusual accomplishments, releasing a book that sets the industry standard on kosher oil, and hosting Israeli politician Danny Ayalon to talk about key diplomatic issues in the Middle East.

The OU's new book, OU Manual for the Oil Industry, seeks to set worldwide standards for kosher cooking oil and other edible oils. The book was written by an assortment of expert rabbis knowledgeable in both the laws of kosher food and the most up-to-date techniques used in oil production.

The manual focuses on three issues: the method of production, kashrut concerns that may arise and the way in which to supervise the production process, and relevant Jewish legal (halachic) rulings from Rabbi Hershel Schachter and Rabbi Yisroel Belsky.

A similar manual, the OU Manual for the Baking Industry, was released last summer. The OU is planning further books, including manuals focusing on fish and on food service venues such as hotels and catering halls.

On Thursday, the OU branched out into Israeli politics, hosting Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the former Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Ayalon was joined by his chief of staff, David Segal, and by Deputy Consul General in New York Benjamin Krasna.

Ayalon and the OU representatives discussed critical issues facing Israel and the Middle East, such as the Iranian nuclear threat and negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Talks also centered on ties between Israel and the US.