STAR-K Kosher Certification’s Diverse Kashrus Administrative Staff Takes Kashrus on the Road

The field of Kashrus is diverse and multi-faceted. These attributes are mirrored in the multi-talented, eclectic STAR-K Kosher Certification’s Kashrus Administrators, who recently took Kashrus on the road to audiences in Baltimore, Lakewood, North Miami Beach, and Oak Park, Michigan. Their topics spanned everything from Astronomy to Kosher Organic Certification.

STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Dovid Heber, a much sought after lecturer who has spoken in over 20 states throughout the US, presented the Agudath Israel of America’s National Yom Iyun on Hilchos Brachos during Aseres Yemei Teshuva. More recently, he delivered shiurim on the Molad, International Dateline and the Kashrus of medicines at Kollel Bnei Torah, in Lakewood , and spoke to the tenth graders of Lakewood’s Oros Bais Yaakov about astronomy. He is the author of Sefer Shaarei Zmanim, the authoritative work on the Halachic Calendar, Zmanei Tefila, and Kiddush Hachodesh.

Rabbi Heber, who also serves as Rav of Kahal Ahavas Yisroel-Tzemach Tzedek, in Baltimore, presents a bi-weekly webinar series on Hilchos Brochos, which runs from Monday, December 17-February 11, at 12 noon EST. Topics include: Fruits, Vegetables and Processed Grains, Ikker v’Tafel, Cereals, Kadima, and What Hamotzi and Hagofen Cover.

In early December, veteran STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld was invited to participate in a panel discussion, “The State of Kashrut Today: A Symposium”, presented by the Young Israel of Greater Miami and Congregration Shaaray Tefilah, in conjunction with Kosher Miami (KM) and the Orthodox Rabbinic Board (ORB) of Broward-South Palm Beach. In addition to Rabbi Kurcfeld, whose topic was: “The Complexities in Providing Local Kosher Supervision”, the symposium hosted representatives of other major kashrus organizations.

Rabbi Kurcfeld, a specialist in the area of kosher catering and food preparation, as well as onsite kosher food services at colleges, hospitals and nursing homes, is often consulted by architects and planners regarding the planning and design-flow in kosher commercial kitchens. In November, Rabbi Kurcfeld oversaw the annual 2012 Jewish Federations of North America’s General Assembly (GA), held in Baltimore, Maryland, which hosted over 3000 attendees from across the US and Canada . This was a gargantuan undertaking, considering that it took place in two separate STAR-K supervised facilities–the 1,225,000 square foot, four-floor, two-block long Baltimore Convention Center and the adjacent Hyatt Regency, boasting 40,000 square feet of meeting venues.

On November 22, Rabbi Sholom Tendler, together with fellow Kashrus Administrators Rabbi Avraham Mushell (STAR-K’s India, China and Kosher Appliances specialist), and Rabbi Moshe Schuchman (STAR-K’s Kosher Organic specialist), addressed community members of STAR-K’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. A lively Q & A session followed. During “Behind the Kosher Kurtain”, held in Congregation Bnai Jacob Shaarei Zion, Rabbi Schuchman spoke about the nuts and bolts of the structure of a Kashrus organization starting from the posek at the top to the mashgichim in the field. Rabbi Mushell explained the complexities of industrial kashrus, the challenges of verifying kosher status halfway across the world, and issues of transporting kosher goods from place to place. Rabbi Tendler spoke about verification and enforcement and regaled the attendees with fascinating stories about issues that develop in the world of Kashrus supervision. He also discussed food service policies at length.

On December 30, STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Sholom Tendler took part in a Kashrus Symposium, at the Young Israel of Oak Park, in Oak Park, Michigan. His presentation, “Bugs, Pests and Insects”, covered the latest insights into vegetable infestation issues. He also conducted a hands-on workshop and bug checking demonstration. Rabbi Tendler joined Rabbi Shmuel Fuerst, Dayan, Agudas Yisroel of Illinois, and Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Yoshev Rosh, Vaad Harabbonim of Detroit, who also made presentations.

Mostly recently, on December 31, Rabbi Heber spoke to the tenth grade class of Reenas Bais Yaakov, which visited STAR-K’s Baltimore office from Edison, New Jersey. The topic was “The Kosher Certification Process”, and an interesting Q & A session followed. These are just some of the comments heard from the girls after the talk:

“Tons and tons of work go into a kosher symbol!”

“You get more of an appreciation of Kosher.”

“A kosher symboI helps people who are not even kosher observant, but need to rely on it.”

One of the students, Yehudit Shakarchi, mentioned, “I like the fact that all the kashrus organizations work together!”