Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, 72, Leading Authority on Kosher Food Certification
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, who was known for his uncompromisingly high standards in the field of kosher food supervision, died on April 16, the final day of Passover.
He was president of the OK Kosher Certification company, whose initials stand for Organized Kashrus. Levy took over from his father a company founded in 1935 that was relatively small and helped grow it to its present day certification of 500,000 products, according to an obituary on Chabad.org.
Levy studied at the Philadelphia Talmudical Yeshiva as well as the Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, Israel. One of those who ordained him was the eminent Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. In 1970 he wed Malka Deutsch.
He had been studying in the Israeli community of Kiryat Malachi, when his father, Rabbi Berel Levy, asked him to return to the United States to assist in the running of the OK Kosher Certification company, which his father had bought and grown.
For a decade at the company, the younger Levy worked under his father who passed away in 1987.
Levy’s son-in-law, Rabbi Yitzchak Hanoka, the senior rabbinic coordinator of the OK company, called him a “scholar and a master of Torah,” according to Chabad.org. His knowledge of Jewish law and the contemporary science of kashrus supervision made for a powerful combination.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of Orthodox Union Kosher division, a business competitor, said, “We worked closely with Rabbi Levy and would discuss kashrus issues together. We had a wonderful relationship and he will be sorely missed both on a personal level but also for our industry as a whole. He left an indelible mark and legacy that will reach Jews around the world for decades to come.”
The online company page of the OK Kosher Certification company featuring its late president states, “Under the stellar leadership of Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, the future of the OK Kosher Certification could not appear brighter.” The industry certainly has lost one of its brightest stars.