Twenty-five years ago, Rabbi Moshe Fuller, z”l, a young Mexican student at Ner Israel Rabbinical College in Baltimore, filled a tremendous void in the world of Jewish outreach when he founded Or HaNer. Recruiting teenagers primarily from Central and South America, Rabbi Fuller provided them with the opportunity to come to the States and experience Torah-true Judaism during their summer and winter school breaks. Although the young husband and father passed away a few years ago, his dream lives on through the thousands of students he influenced, many of whom subsequently attended yeshivas. Today, there are yeshivas and learning programs throughout Latin America, and a kollel (institute of advanced Jewish studies) in Panama, thanks to Rabbi Fuller’s impact.
This was the third summer that STAR-K Kashrus Administrator, Rabbi Boruch Beyer, was asked to be a guest speaker at Camp Or HaNer boys’ campus on the grounds of Ner Israel Rabbinical College. The twenty or so high school aged campers hailed from Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile. Rabbi Beyer, an expert in industrial kashrus and an experienced high school instructor, gave an interactive hour and a half session on kosher basics and the challenges of keeping kosher, using a Spanish power point presentation prepared by STAR-K to augment his presentation.
“For many of the children this is the first time they can understand and appreciate all the work that goes into ensuring there is kosher food for them to eat,” says Rabbi Moshe Matz, director of Camp Or HaNer. “They really enjoy and grow from the Star-K presentation.”
Earlier this month, STAR-K Certification Kashrus Administrator, Rabbi Zvi Goldberg, was asked to give a shiur at Congregation Shomrei Emunah in Baltimore, Maryland, to the Blatt-a-Week learning program. About to complete the second perek of Avoda Zara, the shiur had been dealing with the sections of stam yainam, pas akum, chalav akum, bishul akum and simanim in dagim. Elly Lasson, a member of the program, approached Rabbi Goldberg about having a shiur to discuss some of the contemporary issues that emerge from the gemara. To benefit the most people possible, the shiur was opened to the entire Shomrei Emunah congregation. Rabbi Goldberg shared some guidelines of STAR-K’s policies of practical contemporary halachos of fish and bishul akum. Among issues discussed was STAR-K’s policy of insistence that the Mashgiach positively identify each and every fish by viewing its scales, as per the ruling of Rav Moshe Feinstein, z”l. The challenges of shopping in a store that uses the same knives to cut kosher and non-kosher were discussed, as well. The shiur was well-received and Rabbi Binyamin Marwick, rav of Congregation Shomrei Emunah, wrote a note of appreciation to Rabbi Goldberg, saying: “I heard very good feedback from those that attended. Everyone enjoyed and learned a lot. Thank you for taking the time to come-and I hope we can do this again sometime!”