STAR-K Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar Draws Attendees from Far and Near

Baltimore, MD – Aug. 4Yosef Cohen has been attending a community kollel in Raanana, Israel, for the past five years. He decided to sign up forSTAR-K’s Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar, held July 28-30, because he is considering moving back to the US and will need a parnasa.

“I was always interested in Hashgacha and have taken a Hashgacha course in Eretz Yisroel and received a certificate from Rav Efrati and the Rabanut of Israel,” notes Mr. Cohen, a first time STAR-K seminar attendee.  “The STAR-K training seminar was a great review of the pertinent Halachos, and gave amazing hands on information and tips for the seasoned and beginner.”

What Mr. Cohen found most helpful was learning how to deal with the vendors: “We learned to always be a mensch and remember that you are the Rabbi while on the job, whether you think of yourself like that or not, and to remember what responsibility you have.”

The seminar, held in STAR-K’s Baltimore offices, included sessions on Food Service Hashgacha, Kashering, Vegetable Checking, Raising and Maintaining the Standard of Kashrus Out of Town, Kashrus of Beer and Liquor, Important Differences Between Ashkenazim and Sefardim, and Practical Kashrus in Practice. Field trips included tours of Seven Mile Market, the Baltimore Convention Center, a catering commissary, and local eateries. At the conclusion of the seminar, certificates were awarded to all participants.

Jacqui Austen, a mashgicha in Baltimore, Maryland, said one of the reasons she signed up for the seminar was, ”to see how people who have been in this business for years have worked through all of the different difficulties that come with it. I really believe that everything that I learned and re-learned in the seminar was very helpful. In kashrus one can second guess oneself and worry about the different aspects that come with it, and in this seminar we were taught about situations and the different areas of the food business that most of us probably hadn’t heard of before, and they reassured us about all of them…. My favorite part of the seminar was getting to see the different facilities. Seeing things hands-on is really important because we won’t be working in a classroom, we will be working in kitchens and hotels, etc. I appreciated that they didn’t sugarcoat it, because, let’s be honest there is no way to do that with kashrus.”

Yehuda Nosenchuk, a mashgiach for Six Points Restaurant Group-a catering company in King of Prussia, PA, said, “I attended this program to keep up with the latest developments in the kashrus industry….The program was very informative and really beneficial for me as a kashrus professional.   It was a good review of everything a mashgiach should know and offered me an opportunity to get my questions answered and to network with others in the field. My favorite part of the program was HaRav Heinemann’s shiur;  I enjoyed the Halcha and Hadracha from a prominent Posek. I also enjoyed connecting with the staff of STAR-K and having the opportunity to interact with them.”

Michael Bolden traveled from Houston, Texas, to attend the seminar. He has been employed by Houston Kashruth Association for about 3-1/2, as a mashgiach.

“This was my first STAR-K training seminar, but hopefully not my last,” said Mr. Bolden. “I decided to attend the training because of the Vaad’s makpid policies on bug checking and the reputations of the Rabbonim involved. I learned so much from the seminar… The shiurim were informative and the speakers were very dynamic. There was no experience as grand as the Question & Answer session with HaRav Heinemann. He is a link to the previous gedolim and it is rare to have the opportunity to benefit from such chochmah and experience.”

Rabbi Yakov Teichman, Rabbinic Administrator of Vaad HaRabonim of MetroWest, traveled to the STAR-K Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar from Lakewood, NJ. It was a very thorough, all-inclusive seminar,” says Rabbi Teichman. “Great care was taken to discuss the whole picture from the large issues to the small nuances that can make or break the supervision…I learned how to convey to people all relevant information so that they can go and do their job responsibly.”

STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Sholom Tendler, coordinator of the seminar, commented: “Things are constantly changing in Kashrus, and although we always endeavor to make sure everyone is kept abreast of these changes, we feel this is the ideal forum to make sure everyone is up to date and on the same page. Our large national turnout will, iy”H, enhance the attendees’ abilities to perform their jobs professionally and effectively and achieve an overall enhancement of Kashrus on the community level.”