Rabbi Chaim Moshe Levy, a Mesivta rebbe in Lakewood, New Jersey, knew it was coming, yet he still felt unprepared. In July, he received an overseas telephone call informing him that the time had come to take over the pulpit of his deceased father, Rabbi Daniel Levy, zt”l, as the Rav of I.R.G. (Khal Adas Yeshurun) in Zurich, Switzerland.
Rabbi Levy hoped to prepare himself for his new post by taking advantage of Star-K Certification’s unique educational program later that month. “I wanted to get some basic information about what is going on in the world of kashrus,” explained Rabbi Levy. “I also wanted to meet the various experts at Star-K, personally.”
Rabbi Levy was pleased with his decision to attend the Star-K seminar in Baltimore, Maryland. “The seminar was extremely informative, and the information was given over in a very organized manner,” said Rabbi Levy. “It was wonderful and covered all aspects of the kosher world, from production on. It is an intense program, but you can pick up a lot of knowledge as well as tip-offs such as how to manage mashgichim, companies that are not in compliance, and other practical tips.”
Rabbi Levy was just one of 26 participants, which included rabbonim, kollel fellows, and others serving in klei kodesh who have studied Yorah Deah. The intensive seminar featured lectures by Star-K’s rabbinic staff members, including Rabbinic Administrator Rabbi Moshe Heinemann and President Dr. Avrom Pollak.
Rabbi Heinemann spoke of the intricacies of bishul akum in his shiur, “Bishul Akum and Ne’emanus of an Akum”. Dr. Pollak discussed practical guidelines for setting up a local vaad hakashrus in his lecture, “A Certifying Agency’s Administrative Issues”, and gave advice for the decisions one faces.
Sessions covered various segments of the kashrus industry, including consumer inquiries and Sabbath mode appliances. They incorporated a Star-K produced audiovisual presentation of one of its Cholov Yisroel production facilities, as well as a hands-on practicum for vegetable checking. Field trips to a slaughterhouse, confectionery, restaurant, bakery, and the kosher kitchen of the Hyatt Regency rounded out the seminar experience.
Rabbi Zvi Goldberg, coordinator of the seminar and Star-K Kashrus Administrator, attributes the success of this program to a mutual zerizus. “The eagerness of the attendees to learn about kashrus was matched by the willingness of the Rabbis to give of their time and expertise. This is why the program is so successful.”