Chicago…With every passing day, the role of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) takes on more importance, especially as kosher continues its dramatic growth. Its most recent 2022 Va’adim Convention (May 8-10) hosted by Kof-K in Iselin, New Jersey, generated more than 50 pages of notes on a broad range of topics. It was compiled by Rabbi Moshe Reich, Conference Coordinator and overseen by Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, the Executive Director of AKO. It has become a major resource for training mashgichim and of late has stepped up its education initiative with seminars and a successful new newsletter “Let’s Talk Kashrus.” Says AKO: “There are many Jewish people – religious or otherwise – who lack fundamental kosher education. The AKO Kashrus Awareness project aims to prepare videos and other training materials to close that gap. However, in many cases, it is not the lack of access to information that prevents people from being educated, but rather the lack of motivation to take advantage of those resources and learn more about this topic.”
AKO is also expanding its worldwide membership, welcoming such new members as Asian Kosher Services, which covers Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam; Thai Kashrut Services; Badatz Igud Rabbonim, founded 20 years ago by Rabbi Osher Yaacov Westheim, covers Israel and Europe; Top-K EUROPE, led by Rabbi Eliezer Wolff, world-renowned reference in the field; Vaad HaKashrut Shevet Ahim Panama; and Vaad Kashrus Mehadrin which operates in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.