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New York - Remembering Kashrus Expert, Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech

Published on: January 22, 2018 03:04 PM
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FILE - (L-R)Rabbi Zushe Blech, poses with Anthony Mendicino, co-owner of the 7-Eleven store, Chef Sam Indig on Aug 7 2012. after reciving his Kosher certification. Photo: Sandy Eller FILE - (L-R)Rabbi Zushe Blech, poses with Anthony Mendicino, co-owner of the 7-Eleven store, Chef Sam Indig on Aug 7 2012. after reciving his Kosher certification. Photo: Sandy Eller

New York - Two days after his passing, Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech, a leading figure in the world of kashrus, is being remembered as a prolific author, a well known rav hamachshir, an expert food scientist and a widely respected lecturer.
A talmid of Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinicial College who received his semicha from Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, Rabbi Blech served as a technical and halachic consultant to numerous kashrus agencies and spent well over a dozen years with the Orthodox Union as regional director of the kashrus division.

“Rabbi Blech was an individual who was absolutely brilliant,” Rabbi Moshe Elefant, chief operating officer of the Orthodox Union’s kashrus division, told VIN News.  “When you read a report that he wrote you felt like you were in the factory yourself because he was able to give you such a clear and detailed picture of what you were looking at even though it was on the other side of the world.”


Rabbi Blech continued to keep his finger on the pulse of kashrus even as the field evolved and became more sophisticated, involving ingredients from remote areas of the globe.

“He spent many hours of his life on airplanes, traveling all over the world to see these factories, setting up hashgachos in the far corners of the world,” said Rabbi Elefant. “He never stopped even after he left the OU.”

In addition to giving a personal hechsher, which was well known throughout Monsey where he lived for years, Rabbi Blech gave a hechsher for EarthKosher, an international kosher certification agency. 

Highly regarded as an expert on biotechnology and enzymology, Rabbi Blech’s book, Kosher Food Production, was considered to be the definitive guide on kashrus certification, delving into a wide array of issues including food service, rabbinic etiquette and ingredient management.

On a personal level, Rabbi Blech, a prominent lecturer, was well known for his affable demeanor.

“Even when he disagreed with you it was always in a pleasant and mature way,” said Rabbi Elefant.  “He didn’t raise his voice or get angry and he never held grudges against anyone. He was really a very special person.”

Rabbi Blech, who was in his early to mid sixties, passed away suddenly shortly before past Shabbos, leaving a giant void in the world of kashrus, noted Rabbi Elefant.

“We are all very shaken,” said Rabbi Elefant.  “We are all just trying to come to terms with a world without Rabbi Zushe Blech.”

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Read Comments (1)  —  Post Yours »


 Jan 22, 2018 at 06:21 PM Frish Says:

ברוך דיין האמת I didn't know
w him personally but I hv high regard for mashgichim like Rabbi Blech a"h who delved into kashrus 100% which a very complicated field
יהי זכרו ברוך


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