April 13, 2021

Rabbi Zecharia (Harvey) Senter, Head of Kof-K Certification Agency Passes Away at 84

Teaneck, NJ… Rabbi Zecharia Senter, founder and CEO of KOF-K Kosher Certification, passed away on the last day of Passover, one year to the day of the passing of Rabbi Don Joel Levy, head of the OK Kosher Certification. Rabbi Senter was 84 and was buried in Jerusalem on Har Hamenuchos.

Rabbi Senter was one of the central figures of the kosher community. He was an imposing figure at food shows and at kosher events like Kosherfest. “He was a true leader that while extremely kind, had the ability to show strength in tough situations,” said Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, executive director of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO). “He came from a source of seeking the truth and steadfast teachings from his great Torah teachers. His outstanding children, and specifically Rabbis Ari and Daniel Senter, are the biggest proof of how great a man he was.” Most kashrus leaders agreed that his leadership style earned him deep respect amongst his peers and beyond.

Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union (OU) called the late Rabbi Senter “a trailblazer in industrial kashrus.” Rabbi Elefant continued: “He taught us how to be professional and sophisticated. He was an expert in guiding flavor companies. Most importantly, he inspired us to work together despite being in different agencies.”

A Ph.D. graduate of Yeshiva University, Rabbi Senter was a devoted student of the late Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik, and was ordained by the late Rabbi Joseph Ber Soloveitchik. He established the kashrus organization in 1967 in his North Bergen house and began with the supervision of a local bakery. The iconic Howard Johnson’s ice cream was KOF-K’s first major kashrus supervision account. Today, it has 100 employees with 32 full-time staff in its Teaneck headquarters.