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!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • 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.