Rabbi Don Yoel Levy z”l

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It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rabbi Don Yoel Levy z”l. He was 72.

Rabbi Levy was born in 1947 to his parents, Rabbi Berel and Thelma Levy.

He learned in the Philadelphia Talmudical Yeshiva and later at the Yeshiva in Kfar Chabad, Israel. Rabbi Levy received Smicha from three leading gedolei Torah, among them Rav Moshe Feinstein.

In 1970, Rabbi Levy married Malka Deutsch of Yerushalayim. Determined to establish their life together on a strong spiritual footing, the young couple settled down in the Israeli community of Kiryat Malachi, where Rabbi Levy pursued his Jewish studies over a 7 year period.

In 1977, his father, Rabbi Berel Levy, asked Rabbi Don Yoel Levy to return to the United States to assist in the running of the OK Kosher Certification. Some 10 years earlier, Rabbi Berel Levy had purchased the OK, at the time a minor kosher certifying agency, from Abraham Goldstein. In a little over a decade, Rabbi Berel had succeeded in building the OK into a formidable force and leader on the kosher scene.

In 1987, upon the untimely passing of Rabbi Berel Levy, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy assumed leadership of the OK Kosher Certification.

As the head of the world’s most prestigious kosher agency, the OK Kosher Certification, Rabbi Levy was a renowned personality in the Kosher industry.

He was known for his vast scholarship and unshakeable principles, which drove his passion to expand and enhance the industry of Kosher certification to the highest standards. Under his leadership, the OK Kosher Certification has emerged as a trailblazer for the entire industry, establishing the standard for kosher in the United States, Europe and the Orient. Under his guidance the agency has led the development in a new era of global economic growth, advances in technology, and soaring demand for kosher food worldwide.

Rabbi Levy was also the Rov of Bais Eliezer Yitzchok Shul in Crown Heights.

He was also a renowned baal tzedaka, supporting many Jewish causes around the world.

He is survived by his wife Malka, and children Rikal Fogelman (Crown Heights), Yitzchak Levy (Miami, FL), Pnina Hanoka (Crown Heights), Menachem Levy (Crown Heights), Esty Scheiner (Miami, FL), Devorah Leah Chein (Crown Heights), Chaya Camissar (Miami, FL), Shmuly Levy (Miami, FL), and Berel Levy (Crown Heights).

He was predeceased by his daughter Rivka in December of 2018. His mother, Mrs. Thelma Levy, passed away several weeks ago.



  1. I am the great-grandson and namesake of Abraham Goldstein. (Just to correct the article, Abraham was long deceased when Rav Berel Levy bought the OK from my grandfather, George Goldstein, in 1968. Also, the OK was by no means a “minor” kashrus agency. In the 1950’s, it was larger than the OU, and even in the sixties, while eclipsed in size by the OU, which was also started by Abraham (!), the OK maintained prestige as a premier agency)
    I am sitting here, crying. For many years, I ran the Jewish Homemaker for the OK. I was privileged to watch Rav Don Yoel, zt’l, at work. But “work” is the wrong word. Rav Don Yoel saw his kashrus role as a sacred mission to bring more kosher food to more Jews. It was not work, it was a shlichus.
    Rav Don Yoel’s integrity was part of the fiber of his being. I don’t recall how often he turned down the opportunity to give a hechsher because he did not feel comfortable with the particular situation. Adding a client was nice, but maintaining kashrus standards, without compromise, was much more important.
    He traveled the world, logging countless miles, to insure that the companies under the OK were in compliance with its standards. And those standards were high, indeed.
    But as he traveled the world, he followed in his father and mother’s footsteps, helping bring authentic Yiddishkeit to far-flung communities.
    Rav Don Yoel was a talmid chacham of the first order. He was also a tremendous baal tzeddakah, and he was very careful in his bein adam lachaveiro.
    My heart goes out to his family. I know many of the children well, and I cry with them.
    Yehi zichro baruch.
    Avi Goldstein


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