November 9, 2015

More Change Coming to Kashrus in LA With OK/Kehilla Merger

Los Angeles - The announcement that Kehilla Kosher would be merging with OK Kosher (Brooklyn, NY), believed by many to be the second largest national certification agency in the country, is once again changing the landscape of kashrus in one of the nation’s largest kosher markets. It was in the aftermath of the scandal at Doheny Kosher in March 2013, that the Orthodox Union (on behalf of the Association of Kashrus Organizations) stepped in to revamp many of the kashrus standards in the city. It served as a consultant to the Rabbinical Council of California.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Avrohom Teichman, Kehilla Kosher had grown to become one of the largest kashrus agencies in the city. Sources told Kosher Today that looking to the future, Rabbi Teichman had been looking for a strategic partner that subscribed to his standards of kashrus, ultimately settling on the OK. In a joint statement, Kehilla Kosher said that it welcomed “the opportunity through this merger to further its service mission in Los Angeles retail kashrus, in regional industrial kashrus, and beyond. OK Kosher is recognized and highly regarded as a global leader within the kosher food certification industry, and provides certification services on six continents.” Headed by Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, the OK employs some 300 rabbis and mashgichim around the world. In the statement, the OK notes: “As a symbiotic endeavor, the merged entity will be greater than the sum of its parts. With this merger, OK Kosher gains a leading, cutting-edge, West Coast regional Vaad HaKashrus partner to enhance OK Kosher’s mission of advancing kashrus around the world.”

Following the 2013 scandal, AKO and others sought to bring universal standards to the city in an effort to avoid any further possibility of a Doheny-like scandal in which a kosher outlet was caught bringing in non-kosher products into the store. Kashrus officials say that since then, the standards in the city have been greatly improved. The officials say that the merger will certainly “continue this pattern of improving standards in the city.”