|STAR-K’s Fifth Annual Kashrus Training Seminar is Worth the Trip
by Margie Pensak
What do Plano, Texas; Thornhill, Ontario; and Olney, Maryland have in common? They are just some of the hometowns of STAR-K’s fifth annual Kashrus Training Seminar participants.
Held in STAR-K’s corporate office in Baltimore, Maryland, July 28-31, participants included: rabbonim, kollel fellows, and others serving in klei kodesh. In the case of Rabbi Chanoch Oppenheim, the seminar served to further prepare him for the kashrus challenges he will no doubt face as the new Rav of the Charlotte Torah Center in North Carolina.
Also in attendance were Rabbi Boruch Hirschfeld, Rav of Ahavas Yisroel in Cleveland Heights, Ohio and a Rabbinic Administrator of Cleveland Kosher. “The program was excellent,” said Rabbi Hirschfeld. “It is quite clear that the entire staff is under the stewardship of Rabbi Heinemann. They are eminent rabbis in their own right and show tremendous respect for each other.”
Rabbi Hershel Becker, Rav of Young Israel of Kendall, and Rabbinical Board member of Kosher Miami, found the experience invaluable. “To see the extensive, vital operation and how STAR-K is set up and compartmentalized, and the interaction among the staff, was so worthwhile,” said Rabbi Becker. “I personally gained a lot in halacha and in practical applications from the superb presentations, and I appreciated meeting people I never met, making contacts from all over.”
In addition to STAR-K kashrus administrators’ presentations, Rabbinic Administrator Rabbi Moshe Heinemann presented a shiur entitled, “Shmitta 5768 and Beyond,” and President Dr. Avrom Pollak presented, “A Certifying Agency’s Administrative Issues.” Furthermore, Rabbi Mordechai Frankel discussed the shaila, “If a consumer eats non-kosher bearing a hechsher, does he have to do teshuva?” STAR-K produced audio-visual presentations about chicken shechita and insect recognition, along with hands-on vegetable checking. Field trips to a slaughterhouse, confectionery, restaurant, bakery, and the kosher kitchen of the Hyatt Regency, as well as an optional eruv tour, rounded out the seminar experience.
“Kashrus is all about the halacha and its interaction with the metzius, practicality, of food production,” sums up Rabbi Zvi Goldberg, STAR-K Kashrus Administrator and coordinator of the seminar.