If one had to choose a single word to describe an olive, it would be ‘versatile’. Olive oil was used daily to light the Menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh. Our first introduction to olive oil was the Shemen Hamishcha, an infused olive oil with a unique blend of spices used to anoint melachim, kohanim and klei haMikdash. Moreover, the yonah (dove) brought back an olive branch to Noach in the ark, and our baseline halachic measurement for eating something significant is a “k’zayis”, the size of an olive.1 The Gemara in Brochos tells us that if one sees an olive in a dream, it is a sign of peace; if one sees an olive branch, it is a sign of Torah scholarship.
There is an opinion in the Midrash that the fruit of the Eitz Hadaas, Tree of Knowledge, was from an olive tree. Additionally, Asher (one of Yaakov Avinu’s […]
How much must one eat to recite a brocha acharona? How much bread must one eat to fulfill one’s obligation of seudas Shabbos?
Although Chazal chose to describe measurements in terms of commonly used items or foods such as a k’zayis (olive) and a k’beitzah (egg), the size of a standard size egg 1800 years ago may have been larger than today’s egg. Similarly, there are many varieties of olives, and we are uncertain as to which one is used for the k’zayis measure. Therefore, shiurim must be defined in contemporary terms.1 The following is based on the psak of Rabbi Moshe Heinemann shlit”a.
I. K’zayis Measurement2 – 1.27 fl. oz. (38 ml) – If one eats a k’zayis3 of bread, he must recite birchas hamazon.4 Similarly, if one eats a k’zayis of any other food a brocha acharona must be recited.5
Our testing indicates that this is the approximate […]
Olive oil – the liquid gold of the ancients – was touted for its nutritional, medicinal, and cosmetic value. As a fuel, olive oil illuminated the home; as a food ingredient, it was a feast to the palate. Olive oil production is one of the world’s oldest industries which has not changed much over the millennia.
Numerous olive oil brochures of the Mediterranean coastal region proudly claim that the olive oil industry dates back to over 5,000 years. This is demonstrated by the discovery of a 5,000 year old olive oil earthenware vessel in Turkey. Shemen zayis, as mentioned in the Torah, is one of the seven special species of Eretz Yisroel. The Torah requires the purest of pure olive oil, shemen zayis zach, to light the Menorah. Olive oil was an integral part of the service in the Bais Hamikdash. The olive branch is considered a symbol of peace […]
Myth #1: Every oven that has a Sabbath mode is certified by STAR-K.
Fact: An oven that has a Sabbath mode may or may not be certified by STAR-K. In fact, the same company may manufacture some ovens which have a STAR-K certified Sabbath mode and other ovens with a Sabbath mode which do not have any certification at all. One can verify an oven is STAR-K certified by consulting the oven’s manual, calling us (410-484-4110), or looking at the list on STAR-K’s website (www.star-k.org/appliances).
Reason: STAR-K does not own the copyright to the term “Sabbath mode” and cannot prevent a company from using those words.
Myth #2: A person who does not intend to raise or lower the oven temperature may use any oven on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and there is no reason to use an oven which has a STAR-K Sabbath mode.
Fact: When using an oven on […]
The STAR-K Certification seeks an Experienced Commissary/Kitchen Mashgiach with familiarity in Hilchos Kashrus a must. A minimum of 2 years experience preferred. The candidate must be a dedicated, hardworking, and organized person who can assist and guide staff in the proper implementation of STAR-K policies and procedures. The individual must also be detail-oriented, self-motivated, a team player with a positive attitude plus excellent communication and critical thinking skills. Excellent pay. Compensation & Benefits commensurate with experience. Individual must be willing to relocate. Excellent opportunity for a married couple to share responsibilities. Please email cover letter, resume plus references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone calls will be accepted only after first receiving resume.
Over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products that have kosher certification are far and few between. That is why the announcement of the STAR-K certification of various Mylanta brand antacid and anti-gas products is monumental.
Kosher consumers can now find Mylanta Liquid Antacid & Anti-Gas (Maximum Strength Classic, Maximum Strength Vanilla Caramel, and Tonight Soothing Honey Chamomile) and Mylanta Gas Minis (Assorted Fruit, Cherry, and Mint Tablets), distributed by INFIRST HEALTHCARE under license from McNeil Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co., on shelves throughout the US at national retailers such as Walmart and Walgreens.
“Pharmaceuticals are the ‘last frontier’ of kashrus and, unfortunately, very few OTC pharmaceutical products are kosher certified, explained STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Dovid Heber. “Kosher consumers who require such products are often confronted with questions. A STAR-K certified OTC product is a guarantee for consumers that they are receiving a product that is 100% kosher. Furthermore, all certified products are manufactured only on kosher […]
We have received updated information that effective this Friday, July 1, 2016, all beers sold in Maryland that were part of our previous alert of being Chometz Sheavar Alav HaPesach, can be assumed to be from after Pesach and are permitted.
Note that all flavored beers or hard beverages require reliable Hashgocho. Check our beer listing for kosher approved beers and beverages.
It has come to our attention that two large beer distribution companies in Baltimore and the surrounding areas are Jewish owned. As such, many brands of beer sold in our area are chometz she’avar alav haPesach, and may not be purchased at this time. A complete list of the affected beers can be found here.
These companies are the exclusive distributors of these brands in the listed areas.
The distributors have informed the Star-K that the stock of beer that they owned over Pesach will not […]
If your kitchen is equipped with four ovens – for meat, dairy, pareve and fish you don’t need to read this article. However, if you do not have such a luxury, you will find various halachic details enumerated below quite relevant.
There are numerous factors involved in an oven “going back and forth” between meat and dairy or using an oven for fish or pareve.1 They include the following: a) The oven – Is it clean? Was it kashered? When was it last used? b) The food – Is it liquid? Is it covered? When was it prepared? c) Does the question arise to do the action l’chatchila (I can do this) or is it only okay b’dieved (it already happened)?
Note: The halachos addressed are based on the psak of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, Rabbinic Administrator of STAR-K Kosher Certification.2 The article addresses […]
Before one is permitted to indulge in kosher Jewish delicacies such as chopped liver, liver steaks and onions, or sauteed chicken livers, raw liver must undergo various processes before the liver is deemed fit for kosher use. First, as with all kosher meat, the liver must come from a kosher species of animal or fowl that has been schechted, slaughtered, in the proper manner prescribed by the Torah. If it is an animal liver, all the fat must be meticulously removed. Furthermore, the Torah forbids eating the blood of an animal or bird. Therefore, it is necessary to extract the blood from the kosher slaughtered meat or liver.
How is the blood removed? With meat, this process is commonly known as kashering and is accomplished by soaking the meat in water, salting it, and then rewashing it. With liver, this method of extraction is insufficient. Since liver contains such a large concentration of […]
Q: When is the brocha of Hatov Vehameitiv recited over wine?
A: Before drinking a cup of wine, one recites the brocha of Borei Pri Hagofen. Under certain circumstances, if a different wine is subsequently drunk one recites an additional blessing – the brocha of Hatov Vehameitiv.1 The brocha gives thanks to Hashem for blessing the person with a richness of wine. The Hebrew text of the brocha is
2ברוך אתה ה’ אלקינו מלך העולם הטוב והמטיב
This brocha is recited only if a number of conditions are met:
If the second wine is of lesser quality than the first wine, Hatov Vehameitiv is not recited.3 There is one exception to this rule. If the first wine is red and the second one is white (but not the other way around), Hatov Vehameitiv is recited even if the second wine is known to be of slightly inferior quality. This is because Chazal consider […]
Today, many appliances are designed and manufactured with a “Sabbath Mode”. The following clarifies how that mode is helpful to the kosher consumer:
The primary function of the STAR-K certified Sabbath mode is to override features of modern ovens and refrigerators that conflict with the needs of a kosher home, including:
Auto shutoff which shuts off the oven after 12 or 24 hours to conserve energy and/or prevent fires.
Lights and signals that go on or off when one opens and closes the door.
If these features are not overridden, serious Halachic issues will arise on Yom Tov as well as Shabbos.
Glass is one of nature’s most versatile products created from some of nature’s most prevalent raw materials: sand, soda and lime. In the food industry, glass applications are extremely diverse. Glass can be made into delicate drinking glasses, as well as tough heat resistant ceramic cooktops tops withstanding temperatures over 1000°F.
How is glass made? Basically, the raw ingredients are heated and melted in a large furnace. The molten glass is shaped, blown, or pressed into its desired shape. The finished product is then annealed in an annealing oven and tempered to give the newly formed glass strength and durability.
Although glass can be made to be stronger and less porous than steel, the halachic status of glass remains enigmatic. On the one hand, Chazal recognized the fact that glass is tough, resistant and non-porous. On the other hand, glass raw materials are the same as earthenware which is very […]
We have been advised that the following STAR-K certified Samsung gas ranges have a Sabbath Mode that does not work properly:
If you own one of these models, click here to contact Samsung for a fix.
Until you get the fix you need to install an oven “ShabboSwitch”. This device is available at your local bookstore or online. Any method of keeping the plunger switch on the frame of the oven depressed will work. If using tape, make sure it can withstand the heat of the oven. (Duct tape may not work.)
Please note that you still need to put your oven into Sabbath Mode before Shabbos or YomTov, even if you have installed a “ShabboSwitch”.
The Sabbath mode in all STAR-K certified Samsung electric ranges is fully functional and meets all our halachic requirements.
The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, famous for hosting the official inaugural balls for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, earned its newest claim to fame, March 20-22, when it hosted the largest Kosher event ever—the 2016 AIPAC Conference. Actually, the 2,300,000-square-foot facility in Washington, D.C., was not large enough for the event which was addressed by Vice President Joe Biden, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential hopefuls Senator Ted Cruz, Governor John Kasich, and Donald Trump. The 1,020,000 square foot field Verizon Center and the 105,000 square foot Marriott Marquis, were utilized, as well.
Here are just some of the stats so you can try to fathom what it took for the The Vaad Harabanim of Greater Washington (the “Capitol K”) to ensure the event was kosher: 18,700 attendees; 55 mashgichim; 10 kitchens; 4 caterers; 12,000 lamb chops; 5 actual days of catering; 14 carriers of Kosher […]
SAN DIEGO (April 5, 2016) – White Labs , the premier pure yeast and fermentation lab, is proud to announce that house yeast strains and enzymes produced in the company’s San Diego and Davis, Calif. facilities have been certified kosher by STAR-K. The official kosher certification logo, a star with a “K” inside, may now be seen on the back of all U.S. produced product packaging.
The STAR-K Kosher Certification is a guarantee that White Labs house yeast strains and enzyme ingredients meet all kosher requirements. Those requirements include the Jewish religion’s laws that determine which foods are acceptable and conform to the Jewish Code. To become certified, White Labs worked with STAR-K representatives to evaluate the company’s ingredients and products. As a condition of the certification, STAR-K audits the production facilities regularly throughout the year to ensure kosher compliance.
“Having our house yeast strains and enzymes kosher certified is an investment in our company that we hope our customers will appreciate,” said Chris […]
The following contains halachic guidance concerning some of the common issues that arise when conducting a Seder. In particular, it discusses preparation for the Seder, the four cups of wine, and the obligation to eat matza, marror, korech and afikoman. It is by no means comprehensive. For a more comprehensive guide, see HaSeder HaAruch by Rabbi Moshe Yaakov Weingarten (three volumes, 1431 pages).
As the Yom Tov of Pesach nears, and the diligent balabusta begins to tackle the challenge of preparing the kitchen for Pesach, undoubtedly the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine. Although moving into a separate Pesach home sounds very inviting, such luxuries are often not affordable and definitely not in the Pesach spirit. Among the basic mitzvos of the chag is the mitzva of “Tashbisu Se’or Mibateichem”, ridding one’s home and possessions of chometz. However, if we are to use kitchen equipment, utensils, or articles that can be found in our kitchen year-round, it may be insufficient to just clean them thoroughly. One is forbidden to use these items, unless they have been especially prepared for Pesach. This preparation process is known as kashering.
The Torah instructs us that the proper kashering method used to rid a vessel of chometz is dependent upon the original […]
STAR-K is happy to announce that ALL Alpine Valley Bread products baked after 3/16/2016 are certified pas yisroel. Products with the number Q076 or higher on the plastic bag fastener were baked after 3/16/2016
Alpine Valley Bread is available at Costco and other major retailers nationwide
On January 28, STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Sholom Tendler addressed the Shomrei Emunah Night Kollel, in Baltimore, about the practical halachos related to cholov Yisroel and its differing common practices in the field of kashrus. A PowerPoint production detailed STAR-K’s management of cholov Yisroel hashgacha at Kreider Farms.
“Rabbi Tendler’s presentation was the perfect complement for the night kollel’s study of the sugya of cholov Yisroel,” remarked Rabbi Shmuel Iser, Rosh Kollel. “His clear exposition of the halachos and valuable and in-depth knowledge of issues in the real life field of cholov Yisroel hashgachah were greatly appreciated by the fellows of the night kollel. It is always a wonderful thing when you can take a sugya you are learning and translate it into the real world.”
Rabbi Tendler was also invited to Detroit, on February 10, to present the latest developments in the world of kashrus and bug infestation, including hands-on cleaning […]
Catching a red-eye flight back to JFK after a business meeting in L.A.? Landing in Newark at 5:50 a.m., after a 12-1/2 hour flight from visiting the grandkids in Israel? Leaving for LaGuardia too early to eat breakfast before going on that long-awaited Saint Martin Island vacation? Have no fear, Fresko Green Label is here! Now the estimated 1.5 million kosher travelers who fly domestically and internationally from JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark airports, annually, can avail themselves of a large variety of kosher prepared food options packaged under the Fresko and Yummy Sandwich labels, under STAR-K Kosher supervision.
No longer do you have to subsist on pretzels and candy that, thankfully, are marked with a reliable kosher symbol! The STAR-K certified Fresko/Yummy Sandwich menu includes items such as: grilled chicken salad, southern honey BBQ chicken wrap, fresh roasted turkey sandwich, Cajun turkey sandwich, grilled chicken shawarma wrap, herb grilled chicken sandwich, tuna […]
While the act of shechitah itself is an exquisitely humane form of animal slaughter, the manner in which an animal is handled prior to reaching the shochet should also conform with the Torah’s sensitivity for tza’ar ba’alei chaim (the prohibition against causing unnecessary pain and harm to creatures). Our mission to certify meat products of the highest quality was recently enhanced when two prominent members of our meat team, Rabbi Zvi Holland and Rabbi Tzvi Shaul Goldberg, traveled to Iowa in order to take part in an accredited certification program through PAACO (Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization). Instructors included world renowned experts in the field of animal welfare such as Dr. Temple Grandin, professor of animal science at Colorado State University and consultant to the livestock industry. She is considered a leading authority on animal welfare.
Often when consumers purchase meat from a butcher shop, or eat at a restaurant or catered event, they are unaware of the original hashgacha that certified the meat as kosher at its point of origin. They place their confidence in the retail establishment’s kosher certification to determine the acceptability of the received product.
Some shoppers have a preference for meat produced by specific companies, trusting that this producer always conforms to a single set of kosher standards. However, unbeknownst to the consumer the company may actually produce their products at different locations, supervised by various hashgochos that do not all share the same standards. In January 2016, Congress repealed country-of-origin labeling laws for packaged meat products, making it more difficult for consumers to track where their meat comes from.
STAR-K certified meat/poultry companies and retail establishments consistently satisfy the requirements set by HaRav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, regardless of […]
All the knives of the shochtim must be checked to ensure that they are sharp and without even the slightest ‘pegima’. This must be done before and after the shechitah.
There must be a sink with running water near the place of shechitah for the shochtim to sharpen their knives.
Animals may not be prodded to the shechitah box with a plug-in electric prod.
The head restraint in the box which holds the animal during shechitah must be calibrated so that the animal’s head cannot move during shechitah, but not so tightly that it affects the animal’s breathing.
A system must be in place, to track any animal that becomes a nevaila.
Animals may not be stunned at any time after the shechitah.
No hot water may be used on the animals anywhere in the slaughter house.
No electric current may be applied to the animal at any point, including when used to tenderize the […]
It is written in our Torah, “Ubosor basodeh treifa lo socheilu” (Shmos 22:30), it is forbidden to eat treif meat. While the expression “treif” (non-kosher) has become the universal connotation for food that is not kosher, in truth, the word treif specifically refers to an animal whose flesh was torn or ripped. Technically speaking, if a kosher species of animal or fowl was attacked by a predator, the meat of the victim may be deemed treif. However, the meat of an animal improperly kosher slaughtered is not treifah, it is called a neveila. Technically, meat of a non-kosher animal species is the meat of a temeiah. Yet, the term “treif” has found its way through the portals of the slaughterhouse, as well as the aisles of the non-kosher meat section of the supermarkets. No matter what the name, all of these categories of meat are forbidden to be […]