A 30 Year Retrospective on Kashrus Kurrents

Published Summer 2008

Approximately thirty years ago shortly before “Pesach” 5738 Mr. A. J. Levin, a vice president of the Orthodox Jewish Council, began publishing Kashrus Kurrents. In that first issue, printed on the familiar yellow paper with the blue Kashrus Kurrents logo, it was deemed necessary to advise the Baltimore community that they cannot rely on labels or advertisements that merely states ‘Kosher for Passover’. From that same issue we learned that the fledgling Star-K organization had just inaugurated its kosher hot-line whereby one could get accurate kashrus information Monday through Thursday between the hours of 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

It’s Kosher on Paper Only

Published Spring 2008

If you have ever left cookies in the oven a little too long, and they became stuck to the pan, you know what a frustrating experience it can be.  Imagine multiplying that feeling hundreds or thousands of times, and you will begin to understand one of the major problems that commercial bakeries and food producers face all the time.  To avoid this problem, food manufacturers use release agents to grease the pans.  These agents are frequently found in a spray form, like PAM, and must always be kosher certified.  Paper pan liners may also be used as release agents, particularly in bakeries.  They provide more consistent browning and baking with no added fat or calories, and require less clean-up.  Pan liners are also used by candy makers, and may be used as cupcake holders or wraps for frozen gefilte fish.  Consumers are also discovering […]

McBiodiesel: New Not So Kosher Vistas for Spent French Fry Oil

Published Spring 2008

In an energy driven world with limited fuel resources, and a public that is totally enamored with its automobiles, industry is constantly looking for inexpensive new sources of alternative fuel.  Biodiesel fuel is one answer.  Biodiesel is a chemical process that separates vegetable oil or animal fats into two parts:  methyl esters – which is another name for biodiesel, and glycerin.  The biodiesel is then blended with alcohol to make biodiesel blends that can be used as a substitute for diesel fuel or other fuel substitutes.

Meat and Dairy-A Kosher Consumer’s Handbook

Published Spring 2008

One of the best known halachos of kashrus is that one may not eat meat and milk together.  One of the reasons that kosher symbols incorporate a ‘D’ onto the kosher certification is to notify the consumer that the product may not be eaten together with meat, or within six hours after eating meat.  Similarly, products containing meat as an ingredient will state “meat” next to the Star-K or other kosher symbol.

Star-K Side Bar Summer 2008

Other News From The STAR-K


Announces Monthly TeleKosher Conference Program for Local Kashrus Agencies

Rice: Natures Answer to Hashems Blessings

Published Summer 2008

It has been touted as nature’s most versatile food.  There is no grain that feeds more people worldwide, and can boast that it is free of gluten and allergens.  When the Gemara in Brachos discusses the blessings that are made before and after eating this grain, the mnemonic used to remember the Gemara’s conclusion is Amen,אמן : “נפשות ” , “מזונות ”, “אורז ” – “Orez”, “Mezonos”, “Nefashos”.  If you haven’t guessed by now, the grain we are discussing is Oryza Sativa, otherwise known in Talmudic terms as 1 “Orez“, “אורז ”. We know it simply as rice.

Beware: Glatt May Not Always Mean Kosher

Published Summer 2008

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” 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, non-kosher.  However, the meat of an animal improperly kosher slaughtered is not treifa, 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 […]

Creating a Round Cake Decorated as a Sun | Doing Dental Work on a Parent

Kashrus Kurrents Summer 2008

Inaugural Issue: Shailos From The Institute Of Halacha
Kashrus Kurrents is proud to launch a new column, “Insights from the Institute”.  In this regular feature, Rabbi Mordechai Frankel will share with our readership intriguing shailos from his email inbox. The following is a sampling of the types of interesting questions that will be addressed in future columns.

STAR-K Launches the Institute of Halacha

Summer 2008

The Mishnah teaches us, “appoint for yourself a rav,” a Torah guide from whom you can acquire clarity through wisdom.  But, what happens when you do not have a personal rav, or you live in a large Jewish community but your Rav is unavailable and time is of the essence for your halachic query?

STAR-K realizes that there is no substitute for a person’s own rav.  In an effort to offer a possible solution, it has launched its Institute of Halacha as a public service.  Over the years, the agency’s Kashrus Hotline has answered generic halachic questions from kosher consumers the world over, including inquiries regarding the kosher status of foods and certified Sabbath mode appliances.  The formation of a separate official division within STAR-K testifies to the need for addressing these issues.

The Institute of Halacha is directed by HaRav Mordechai Frankel, under the guidance of HaRav Moshe Heinemann, STAR-K’s […]

Star-K Side Bar Fall 2008

Other News From The STAR-K


TeleKosher Conference Program for Local Kashrus Agencies

STAR-K’s 5th Annual Kashrus Training Program

Published Fall 2008

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.

Profiles of Courage and Inspiration

Published Fall 2008

Part I – A Trip to the Otzer Bais Din
Dateline:  Erev Shabbos Kodesh, Parshas Balak, 8 Tammuz
Place:  Geula, Yerushalayim

Charting the Course of Shmitta

Published Fall 2008

The mitzvah of shmitta poses many challenges for those who live in Eretz Yisrael.  The main challenge, of course, is for the farmers.  However, the consumer has his challenges, as well.  It is always preferable to purchase produce from stores that have reliable kosher certification to ensure that there are no halachic problems.  If there is no such store available, one must be certain not to transgress the laws of shmitta in the purchase, consumption, or interaction with shmitta produce.  These are the different categories of halachos that one has to take into consideration:

Heating & Cooling – Using Ice from an Ice Maker on Shabbos | Using an Electric Hot Water Heater on Yom Tov

Kashrus Kurrents Winter 2008

Q: My freezer has an ice making machine, which has an arm that rises as ice is produced and lowers when ice is removed. I generally turn the machine off before Shabbos by lifting the arm until it is fully raised. If I forget to do this, can I remove ice on Shabbos from the ice maker?

A: There are various types of ice maker machines available, and they do not all work in the same way.  However, many of the commonly available models employ the following mechanism.  The ice making process begins when the ice maker signals the water valve to open, and a specified amount of […]

Birchas Hachama 5769

Published Winter 2008

To hear a comprehensive shiur on Birchas Hachama, click here.
Listen to a teleconference interview about Birchas Hachama, click here.

To see Sefer Shaarai Zmannim referenced in this article, click here.

Bayamim Haheim Bazman Hazeh: Olive Oil – The Contemporary Industry of Antiquity

Published Winter 2008

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.  Interestingly, much of this ancient industry has not changed over the millennia.