A Chabad man from Chicago was named this week one of ten Jewish Chicagoans of the year.
The man, Rabbi Yaakov Yarmove, is known by the nickname “King of Kosher” in Chicago, since he runs the kosher departments at 1,300 supermarkets across the United States. In recent months he has also been behind the importing of a large variety of food products from Israel to the U.S.
Rabbi Yarmove was born in Cincinnati, where he served for years as a chaplain at a local hospital while studying in yeshiva. He later asked to be admitted into the U.S. Army as a chaplain, but when the army ordered him to remove his beard, he refused and chose not to join the army. This decision ultimately led him to work in the kosher food industry.
According to Rabbi Yarmove, the changes in the kosher food industry in the U.S. have been both dramatic and positive. He said that unlike ethnic food, kosher food can be adapted to any trends so long as the ingredients are kosher.
As an example, Rabbi Yarmove noted the increased popularity of sushi among Jews, saying, “Until a decade ago, Jews did not know what sushi was. Today, no kosher event is complete without glatt kosher sushi.”