Manhattan Beer Distributors Honored at OK Kosher's Annual Mashgiach Conference
Rabbi Don Yoel Levy (center), CEO of OK Kosher, presents an award to Mr. Simon Bergson (2nd from left), CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors.

OK Kosher hosted its annual Mashgiach Conference Monday in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, gathering 140 OK Kosher personnel from around the world.  Manhattan Beer Distributors executive Mr. Simon Bergson was honored for his dedication to Mechiras Chometzthe legal sale of grain ingredients required by Jewish-owned companies before the holiday of Passover.

By COLlive reporter.
Photos: Shmuel Amit

The OK hosted its annual Mashgiach Conference Monday at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

The annual gathering of over 140 OK personnel, coordinated by Rabbi Chaim Fogelman and Dina Fraenkel, opened with remarks from Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, Kashrus Administrator of OK Kosher, and focused on the kashrus challenges of wine, beer and hard liquor.

Dynamic presentations were given by Rabbi Sholom Ber Lepkivker, Rabbi Yoni Rapaport, Rabbi Aryeh Taub, Rabbi Yitzchok Rosenfeld, Rabbi Yakov Teichman and Mr. Menachem Poznanski, LCSW, a social worker who specializes in helping those who struggle with addiction, [and co-author of Stepping Out of the Abyss: A Jewish Guide to the 12 StepsOK Kosher]. Rabbi Moshe Havlin, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Gat and Sderot, Israel, spoke about his experience with the courthouse and Kashrus in Israel and Rabbi Shimon Eisenbach, Chabad Shliach and Rabbi of the Shachamon neighborhood in Eilat, Israel, was in attendance. Mr. Neil Wasserman, CEO of Shevet Beer, a new OK certified company, also spoke about his product and his journey to kosher certification.

Mr. Simon Bergson, CEO of Manhattan Beer Distributors who recently made headlines when he sold his entire company’s chometz for the first time, along with his sons Alex and Mitchell, his brother Jerry, and his friend David, and Rabbi Nosson Sternberg (Rabbi Weinfeld’s partner in the Mechiras Chometz), were honored guests of the conference.

Mr. Bergson, a child of Holocaust survivors and a proud Jew, was honored for his dedication to observing Mechiras Chometz, the sale of Chometz before Pesach, in the most stringent way.

Following a heartfelt speech by Rabbi Kalman Weinfeld, Food Service Rabbinic Coordinator, about his friendship with Mr. Bergson and Mr. Bergson’s warm description of his introduction to Mechiras Chometz, Rabbi Weinfeld and Rabbi Nosson Sternberg took the Bergson family on an emotional tour of 770 and the Rebbe’s Library on Eastern Parkway. Mr. Bergson remarked, “How is it that I lived all my life in such proximity to such a center of Jewish life and I had never visited before today?”

Mr. Bergson and his guests all put on Tefillin with the help of Rabbi Mendel Weinfeld, son of Kalman Weinfeld and a new Shliach to Almond Valley, CA.

A sumptuous breakfast and lunch were beautifully catered by OK certified Bunch O Bagels, with a special dessert from OK certified The Boozery. A special “Tzeidah Laderech” of Rebbetzin Pnina Weinfeld’s kokosh cake (instrumental in the Manhattan Beer Mechiras Chometz!) was generously contributed by OK certified Glick’s Bakery.