It is with great sadness that Matzav.com reports the passing of Rabbi Dovid Steigman z”l, Senior Rabbinic Coordinator at OK Kosher, while traveling in Italy for kashrus inspections. He was 67.
Rabbi Steigman was a man of unparalleled character and knowledge. He demonstrated mesiras nefesh for kashrus, no matter what the personal cost.
Rabbi Steigman was a world renowned expert in all areas of kashrus, especially shechita and alcohol productions.
He worked at OK Kosher for 30 years and was respected and loved by all who knew him and had the honor of having him as a colleague, both kashrus professionals and employees of certified companies.
Rabbi Steigman grew up in London, England and learned in Chabad’s Tomchei Temimim Yeshivos in in Brunoy, France; Kfar Chabad, Israel; and, Yeshivas Toras Emes in Jerusalem, Israel.
As a bochur in yeshiva, he was trained in safrus and after yeshiva was trained in shechita, which would lead him on a life-long journey, becoming known for his expertise in the intricacies of kosher meat production and certification.
In 1969, he married his wife Shulamis Fucs, daughter of a respected Viznitz family in Bnei Brak. They settled in Lod, Israel, where he worked as a sofer (scribe), writing mezuzos, tefillin and megillos.
He first started working in hashgacha and kashrus in 1970 for London Beth Din and then worked as a shochet for many different companies, including Ribco in Rochester, NY, Falls Poultry, Sunflower in York, Essen Chicken in Boston, MA, and in Mexico.
Rabbi Steigman started working for the OK Kosher Certification in 1988, as a shochet in Boston, and was recognized for his excellent interpersonal skills. Rabbi Steigman lived in Crown Heights and later moved to Boro Park.
In his 30 year career at the OK, he served as a Senior Rabbinic Coordinator at OK Kosher and was also highly sought after for his vast knowledge of kosher beverages, including high end alcoholic beverages and the related kosher concerns.
“He has shown real mesiras nefesh for kashrus over the years by not being afraid of the most powerful figures in kashrus and always having the strength to stand up and speak the truth,” said Rabbi Don Yoel Levy, CEO and Kashrus Administrator of OK Kosher Certification.
“With all of Rabbi Steigman’s fine qualities, it is no wonder that he was especially well liked by my father, Rabbi Berel Levy, OBM. While standing up for halacha and the highest standards of kashrus, Rabbi Steigman has always displayed a certain charm that makes it impossible not to love him.”
With his vast knowledge in hand, and fueling himself on coffee, Rabbi Steigman worked with the largest companies certified by the OK, including Kraft, Snapple, ConAgra, Cargill, Kerry, DSM, Danisco, and others.
“I work with a great team of people to ensure that every product we certify meets our stringent kashrus standards and that our companies are provided with a high level of customer service,” he once described.
The Nirbater Rav, Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum, head of the Vaad Kosher Supervision, described Rabbi Steigman as “extremely knowledgeable in all areas of hilchos kashrus” who did not hesitate “to say that he does not know something and needs to find out about it.” He praised him for “his emes, fine middos and derech eretz towards others.”
Rabbi Chaim Fogelman, Director of Marketing and Education for the OK, said: “Rabbi Steigman radiated calm and was so well respected and loved by those with whom he interacted. He was an expert on kashrus and an expert on interpersonal relations. Rabbi Steigman’s warm and kind demeanor allowed him to present even the most challenging situations in a way that made it palatable, and even positive, to all those involved.
Yossi Pels, Executive Director of Chayenu publication, said he learned a vital lesson from Rabbi Steigman while working at the OK. “If we have respect and perseverance we can achieve anything we want to; respect for the many diverse people we deal with on a daily basis and perseverance in trying until we get it right. That is a formula for success.”
News of the sudden passing in Milan has shocked many in the kashrus community. “He passed away in middle of his holy work that he loved so much, while visiting factories overseas,” Rabbi Levy said. “He was loved and admired by all that knew him and he will be sorely missed.”
He is survived by his wife, Shulamis and children, Mendy Steigman – Boro Park, Rochie Kirszenberg – Midwood, Brooklyn, Effie Steigman – Crown Heights, Chumy Delevkovitz – Crown Heights, Chaim Meir Steigman – Crown Heights and Mechy Steigman – Midwood, Brooklyn.
Yehi zichro boruch.