Orthodox Union Sets Vote Amid Leadership Feud

Fight for Top Spot at Umbrella Group and Kosher Certifier

By JTA

Published January 20, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Orthodox Union has set a date to pick its next president in highly unusual contested elections.

The umbrella group of Modern Orthodox synagogues and organizations, perhaps best known for running the largest kosher certification operation in the world, announced on Jan. 17 its board will convene at the Sheraton Hotel in New York on March 10 to choose between incumbent Simcha Katz and former president Harvey Blitz.

A source told JTA that a meeting held between Katz and Blitz aimed at settling their differences ended inconclusively on Jan 15.

As previously reported by The Jewish Week and JTA, insiders say the organization has been gripped by a power struggle resulting in a recent succession of managerial changes.

In an email to JTA on Friday, the Orthodox Union took issue with the characterization of its leadership as being in a state of “disarray.”

“The OU is much more than kosher: it is teens, campus life, the disabled, public affairs, synagogue and community services and much more,” said Mayer Fertig, a spokesperson for the group. “Day-to-day operations in all areas are uninterrupted and the kosher division, in particular, is operating effectively under the leadership of its CEO, Rabbi Menachem Genack.”

Katz told JTA last week he would run on a platform of affordable tuition fees and upholding Jewish values, but he did not sound like he was preparing for a fight.

“[Blitz] is a dear and old friend and I hope he actually relieves me of the burden,” he said. “He is a tremendous person and would be a good caretaker for the organization.”

Blitz declined to be interviewed.

Fertig, the OU spokesperson, said the organization’s ability to hold an election with two contenders was proof it provided “an opportunity for an open and candid exchange of ideas and points of view, all for the betterment of Klal Yisrael.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.