Until recently, Shabbos-compliant ovens were certified by the Star-K agency. As of Jan 2022, some of these appliances will come under the supervision of OU Kosher, the world’s largest and most recognized kosher certification agency.
The change to OU Kosher supervision has been in the works for the past few years, as OU Kosher collaborated with ZMAN Technologies of Clifton, N.J. and GE Appliances (GEA) on the development of new technology under the strictest laws of kashrus to make a line of refrigerators that qualify for Shabbos use. Now, after changing the landscape for kosher certification in refrigerators, GEA — with the guidance of OU Kosher — has now expanded to ovens, raising the bar even higher for Sabbath-permissible cooking appliances.
Working closely with engineers at GE Appliance Park in Louisville, Ky. Rabbi Tzvi Ortner, Director of OU Kosher Technology, assisted in developing technical specifications for the new “Shabbos mode” in GE Appliances ovens.
“With our halachic guidance, GEA has become more committed to developing advanced technology that continually raises the bar for Shabbos and holiday observance,” Rabbi Ortner said. “For the first time ever in appliance certification, we now have a full line of ovens and refrigerators that can be used freely on Shabbos and Yom Tov.”
Said OU Kosher CEO Rabbi Menachem Genack, “Increasingly sophisticated appliances have necessitated the need for more complex solutions to keeping Shabbos. Our partnership with GEA and ZMAN Technologies allows us to support the community far beyond food certification.”
Said OU Kosher COO Rabbi Moshe Elefant, “This collaboration between OU Kosher, ZMAN Technologies and GEA is yet another step forward in the development of software and hardware to help people better prepare for and enjoy Shabbos.”
Added GE Appliances’ Customer Marketing Senior Manager Kelly Hestern, “It’s amazing to see how such a major brand as GEA was able to recognize and address the needs of the Orthodox Jewish community.”
Not all appliances that were certified by Star-K qualify for OU certification; only those models that have the capabilities of the OU Shabbos Keeper – a separate attachment to ensure OU Kosher certification – will be OU Kosher-certified. These can be found at: https://www.zmantechnologies.com/store/ge-ovens-shabbos-keeper.html. This list will be updated as additional appliances achieve OU Kosher certification.
The GEA “Shabbos Keeper” for ovens uses an “Enhanced Shabbos Mode” that enables users to open and close the oven door without compromising or breaking any Shabbos laws, ensuring the appliances remain strictly kosher. With previous models, the oven door could only be opened once; the enhanced mode automates heating elements and flames so that user activity doesn’t affect the appliance or its functions.
Unlike standard Shabbos modes, the Enhanced Shabbos Mode fully controls door switches, including safety shutoff, lights, buttons and sensors so that the appliances aren’t affected by the user. The Shabbos Keeper also has a built-in function that syncs with the Jewish calendar to automate Shabbos mode each week and every Yom Tov – for the next 30 years.
While most of GEA’s appliances already use the “Shabbos Keeper,” the company also will launch a new generation of appliances that will be OU certified independent of the Shabbos Keeper.
Consumers seeking to purchase appliances compatible with Shabbos and Yom Tov are advised to select models certified by a reliable kashrus organization. Consumers who have questions or concerns may contact GEA directly at 1-800-626-2005.