What Bracha Does One Make on Matza Brei?

Have you ever taken a bite out of a coconut macaroon and later doubted your choice of bracha? Was it really “haeitz” or is it “shehakol”? And, what about that matza brei or matzah lasagna? Do they require washing for a “hamotzei” or are they “mezonos”? Guess no more, thanks to STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Dovid Heber’s new Pesach App: “Common Pesach Foods and Their Brochos”:

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1.A brochah acharonah is recited when drinking at least a reviis (3.8 fl. oz.) within a 30 second span. If one drank between 1.0 fl. oz. (kzayis according to some opinions) and 3.8 fl. oz. (and cannot drink more) within a 30 second span a brochah achronah is not recited. However, if one also requires an al hamichyah or al ha’etz at this time, one can also include al hagefen. See Mishnah Brurah [M.B.] 208:82.

 2. This depends on the percentage of grape juice. If there […]

STAR-K Hotline’s Most Popular Pesach Questions

Over 30 years ago, STAR-K Kosher Certification recognized a deep community need for a hotline. Today, the STAR-K Kosher Hotline answers close to 100,000 questions, annually, from consumers calling in from around the world. It is comprised of a team of seven highly-trained receptionists who answer the questions from a written script. All answers are pre-approved by one of the STAR-K Rabbonim, who are available to elaborate on certain questions. As the phones continue to ring off the hook since Shushan Purim, the hotline has received close to 6000 questions, in addition to the many hundreds we received via email and our app. These are the top ten questions that have been asked.

If my oven is self-clean, do I just turn it on to kasher it?

It’s not enough since the door and opposing face of the oven don’t usually get hot enough to clean. First clean those areas, then turn […]

“Beer” Chometz – An overview of Beer Distribution in Baltimore and Chometz She’avar Alav haPesach

It is by now well known that much of the beer sold in Baltimore and surrounding counties is distributed by Jewish owned companies, creating a significant Chometz She’avar Alav haPesach issue for our community. The following is a brief explanation of the issue.

What exactly is Chometz?

The Torah[1] forbids eating any chometz – leavened grain products during Pesach. Simply defined, leavening is dough or batter that has increased in volume either through yeasts or chemical means. The process of how this happens is the following.

A chemical leaven such as sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) react with compounds naturally present in the dough to produce carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide (CO2) released from this reaction becomes trapped inside the dough, thereby causing the dough to expand – and rise.

Another way to cause dough to rise is through a process called fermentation. Yeast, a fungus naturally present in grains (or commonly added to assist […]

STAR-K Certification Lectures Cornell’s Didactic Program in Dietetics Students

A colorful, cutesy “Kosher Basics” PowerPoint was the springboard for a well-received interactive presentation made by STAR-K Kosher Certification Assistant Director of Supervision Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld for Cornell University senior dietetics students, on February 28. It preceded a tour of the STAR-K certified kosher kitchen on the Ithaca, New York, campus for the future registered dietitians.

The presentation topics included: The Torah basis for Kashrus, ingredient sources, ritual slaughter, dairy and meat, vegetable checking for infestation, grape and wine products, Bishul Yisroel, the role of a Kosher certification agency, how to set up a kosher kitchen, and the practical application of the Kosher rules. Chef Jason Haus and mashgiach Gavriel Ress were also present to provide a comprehensive overview of the Cornell Dining team who work together to accomplish STAR-K certified dining at Cornell.

“To make it practical for them, we formulated and discussed various menus,” notes Rabbi Kurcfeld. “I emphasized the […]

Chometz After Pesach Chart

The following chart offers guidelines for products that are ( חמץ שעבר עליו הפסח (שעה”פ . “Yes” next to a product indicates the product is subject to the halachos of חמץ שעה”פ . Following Pesach, one may purchase these products only from a Jewish owned store that properly sold its chometz, or from a store owned by a gentile. “No” next to a product indicates the product is not subject to the halachos of חמץ שעה”פ . These products may be purchased at any store after Pesach.

 

Product

Status

Barley (if pearled, raw and packaged)
No

Beer
Yes

Bran (Wheat, Oat)
Yes

Bread/cake/cookies
Yes

Cereal with primary ingredient of wheat, oats or barley
Yes

Chometz content is more than a k’zayis.
Yes

Chometz content in entire package is less than a k’zayis but is greater than 1/60 of the product (e.g., Corn Flakes cereal)
 Yes

Chometz content in entire package is less than a k’zayis but is greater than 1/60 of the uncooked product
 No

Chometz content is less […]

Kitniyos And Other Products Customarily Not Eaten on Pesach

NOTE: Products bearing STAR-K P on the label DO NOT contain Kitniyos or Kitniyos Shenishtanu (kitniyos that have been manufactured and transformed into a new product)

 

 Anise4
Dextrose (possibly chometz)
Peanuts 2 and Peanut Oil

 Ascorbic Acid1,3 (possibly chometz)
Emulsifiers 3
Peas 

 Aspartame1
Fennel 4,6
Poppy Seeds 2

 Beans (including Green Beans, Edamame, etc.)
Fenugreek 2,6
Rice 5 and Rice Vinegar

 Bean Sprouts
Flavors3 (possibly chometz)
Sesame Seeds

 BHA (in corn oil)
 Glucose3 (possibly chometz)
Sodium Erythorbate1

 BHT (in corn oil)
Guar Gum 3
Sodium Citrate1 (possibly chometz)

 Buckwheat (Kasha)
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (possibly chometz)
Sorbitan 1

 Calcium Ascorbate1,3  (possibly chometz)
Isolated Soy Protein
Sorbitol 1

 Canola Oil (Rapeseed)
Isomerized Syrup 
Soy Beans and Soy Bean Oil

Caraway Seeds 2
 Lecithin 
 Stabilizers 3

 Chickpeas
Lentils
Starch (possibly chometz)

 Citric Acid1,3  (possibly chometz)
Maltodextrin1 (possibly chometz)
String Beans 

 Confectioner’s Sugar  (possibly chometz, look for KFP symbol)
Millet 
Sunflower Seeds

 Coriander4
MSG3 (possibly chometz)
Tofu 

 Corn and Corn Oil
Mustard (flour, prepared seeds)
Vegetable Oil 3

 Cumin4
NutraSweet1
Vitamin C 1,3(possibly chometz)

1. Kitniyos Shenishtanu
2. Should be avoided on Pesach.
3. Unless bearing a reliable Passover certification.
4. Only acceptable when the certifying agency has documented that all chometz issues have been resolved.
5. Those people who […]

What Should I do If I Find Chometz On

Erev Pesach (after the time of Biur Chometz)

If you find chometz on Erev Pesach after the latest time for biur chometz:

If you sold your chometz earlier that morning: You should move the chometz that you found to the place that you are storing the chometz that you sold.
If you did not sell your chometz earlier that morning: You should burn it.

First day of Pesach

If you find chometz on the first day of Pesach: You should cover it with a utensil.

Second day of Pesach

If you find chometz on the second day of Pesach, or if you found chometz on the first day of Pesach and had covered it:

If you sold your chometz before Pesach, or you said ‘Kol Chamira’ before Pesach, or the chometz that you found was less than a kezayis: You should cover it with a utensil if you find it on the second day, or keep it covered […]

Pesach and Shabbos/Yom Tov Guidelines for Hotel Guests

Kashering – A hotel kitchenette requires the same method of kashering for Passover as a home kitchen. Please consult the “STAR-K Pesach Kitchen”  for more information. Kosherization must be completed before Passover.

Bedikas Chometz – One who is staying at a hotel and did not bring any chometz into the room should perform bedikas chometz without a brocha.1 Some hotel rooms have a “mini-bar” that is pre-stocked with drinks and snacks by the hotel. If there are food items in the mini-bar which are not kosher for Passover, one should ensure that the staff removes those items. Alternatively, the mini-bar should be sealed off and the staff informed that the guest bears no responsibility for those items.2 Ice from the icemaker may be used, but the ice bucket in the room should not be used. The coffeemaker also may not be used.

Kiddush– In a hotel there is often a Kiddush after […]

Appliance Pre-Purchase Advice

Cooktops

Electric smoothtops may present a problem of kashering for Pesach. Check with your rav.
Electric cooktops may pose a problem with adjusting the temperature on Yom Tov.
Electronic ignition may pose a problem with initiating a flame on Yom Tov.
Cooktops (gas or electric) may have a light or light bar that turns on when the burner is turned on. Some of these light bars also increase or decrease as the temperature setting is adjusted. Some cooktops may also have simmer lights that turn on and off as one enters or exits a very low setting.
Avoid electronic controls. After return of power from a power failure, these units will probably stay off.
Avoid induction cooktops. They work well, but are not usable on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
12-hour cutoff – should have a way to disable or override.

Ovens
12-Hour Cutoff

Should have a way to disable or override.

Temperature Adjustment on Yom Tov

If you desire to change the […]

Oven Kashrus For Yom Tov Use

Yom Tov celebrations could never be complete without the traditional piping hot delicacies from past generations. However, the kosher homemaker must be well educated on how to prepare Yom Tov meals without fear of transgressing a Torah or rabbinic prohibition.
When mentioning the prohibition of work on Shabbos the Torah writes, “Do not do any melacha (work prohibited on Shabbos).”1 This prohibition applies to melacha performed for food preparation, as well as other non-food purposes. In stating the prohibition of melacha on Yom Tov the Torah writes, “You shall not do laborious work.”2 In addition, when giving the initial command about the Yom Tov of Pesach the Torah writes, “No work may be done on them (first and seventh day of Pesach), except for what must be eaten for any person, only that may be done for you.” (Shmos 22:16) The Ramban explains that the contrast of terms (work versus […]

Pesach Kitchen Checklist

The following is a checklist reviewing items commonly found in the kitchen and how to prepare them for Pesach.

Utensil

Preparation

Baby Bottle
Since it comes into contact with chometz (e.g., washed with dishes, boiled in chometz pot), new ones should be purchased.

Baby High Chair
Clean thoroughly. Preferable to cover the tray with contact paper.

Blech
Libbun gamur. Should preferably be replaced

Blender/Food Processor
New or Pesachdik receptacle required (plus any part of unit that makes direct contact with food). Thoroughly clean appliance. The blade should be treated like any knife and should be kashered through hagola.

Can Opener
Difficult to clean properly. Should be put away with chometz dishes.

Candlesticks/Tray
Clean thoroughly. Should not be put under hot water in a Kosher for Pesach sink.

Coffeemakers
Metal coffeemakers that have brewed only unflavored pure coffee. Clean thoroughly. Replace with new or Pesachdik glass carafe and new filters.
Metal coffeemakers that have brewed flavored coffee should be cleaned thoroughly. Do not use for 24 hours. […]

Common Pesach Foods and Their Brochos

Food

Brochah Rishonah

Brochah Achronah

Gefilte Fish (with or without matzah meal)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Grape Juice
Hagefen
Al Hagefen
See footnotes #1 and #6

Grape Juice mixed with water or other beverages
See Footnote #2
See Footnote #2

Kneidlach (matzah balls)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Macaroons (from shredded coconut – still nikker3)
Haetz
Borei Nefashos

Macaroons (from ground coconut or paste)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Matzah (wheat, whole wheat, oat, spelt)
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Brei
See Footnote #4
See Footnote #4

Matzah Cereal (from matzah meal)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah, Egg5
Mezonos5
Al Hamichya5

Matzah Kugel/Stuffing
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Lasagna7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Matzah Meal Cake
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Meal Rolls8
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Matzah Pizza7
Hamotzi
Birchas Hamazon

Potato Kugel (made from shredded potatoes – still nikker3)
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Potato Kugel (from potatoes ground into pudding-like substance so potatoes are no longer nikker3)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Potato Starch Cake
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa (cooked)
Hoadama
Borei Nefashos

Quinoa Flour Products (e.g. quinoa cake and cookies, quinoa pancakes)
Shehakol
Borei Nefashos

Taigelach (matzah meal cooked in sweet syrup)
Mezonos
Al Hamichya

Wine
Hagafen
Al Hagefen See footnotes #1 and #6

A brocha acharonah is recited when drinking at least a reviis (3.8 fl. oz.) within a 30 second span. If one drank between 1.0 fl. oz. […]

Bedikas Matzos: Inspecting your Matzos

The production of Kosher for Pesach (KFP) matzos involves a great deal of meticulous work. The process begins with the inspection of wheat kernels to ensure that they have not been adversely affected by moisture in the air or prematurely sprouted. Grinding of the grain must be performed according to the dictates of halachah, which precludes any pre-grind soaking of the grain and requires special preparation of the milling equipment to ensure that no contamination exists from non-Passover flour in the grinders and filters. The KFP flour is then loaded onto trucks, either pneumatically or in bags under controlled conditions, and shipped to the bakeries.

A bakery which has been kashered for Pesach will have already prepared special water (mayim shelanu) to be used for Pesach matzos. Hand matzah bakeries do not use regular municipal water for fear that the chemicals added to the water may affect the leavening qualities of […]

Mesivta Ne’imus HaTorah Bochurim Learn Shechita Basics at STAR-K Kosher Certification

When Mesivta Ne’imus HaTorah Menahel Rabbi Laib Schulman approached STAR-K Kosher Certification about teaching a few of his students some Kashrus basics, the non-profit agency was eager to comply. Rather than start off with something as simple as what is behind a kosher symbol or basic kitchen kashrus rules, STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld went with his gut feeling—literally and figuratively—planning a memorable once-in-a-lifetime presentation. He wowed the boys at STAR-K’s Baltimore offices, on January 4, with his three different-sized chalafim (shechting knives), two cow lungs, and a cow’s hoof!

In addition to demonstrating the chalaf sharpness test on a student’s nail and explaining which knife is used for which type of animal, Rabbi Kurcfeld discussed the five basic halachos of shechita, mentioning the types of animals that need to be schechted. He also reviewed the split hoof and fish scale kosher criteria, the difference between a neveila and a […]

Shaimos Guidelines

The Torah forbids discarding holy objects by throwing them into the trash. Some objects always have kedusha and must be placed in shaimos. Other objects gain kedusha once they are used for a mitzvah and need to be treated with special care.

SHAIMOS
Objects which have innate holiness, kedusha, are shaimos. This means that, when discarded, they must be wrapped in plastic and buried. The following objects are included in this category:
1. A Sefer Torah.
2. Sefer Torah covers.
3. Tefillin, tefillin bags, mezuzos, and mezuzah covers.
4. Siddurim and bentchers.
5. Seforim, whether handwritten, printed, photocopied or downloaded and printed (e.g., chumashim, siddurim, machzorim, seforim, Gemara, Shulchan Aruch, etc.).
6. A quote from tanach, chazal, Rishonim or Achronim, that has been printed or written with the intention of explaining Torah, or to teach us how to conduct ourselves according to hashkafos haTorah.
7. Invitations from organizations and individuals that […]

Balsamic Vinegar: Sour Grapes or Sour Sweet Success

Vinegar is one of nature’s most unique and versatile products. Folklore maintains that vinegar was discovered quite by accident, when wine was inadvertently left to sour. This resulted in the first batch of full-bodied wine vinegar. Indeed, the word ‘vinegar’ is derived from the French word vinaigre, which means sour wine. Euphemistically, the Talmud refers to a ne’er-do-well son of a righteous father as a Chometz Ben Yayin, “vinegar son of wine.”
Folklore aside, vinegar was well known in the time of Tanach. The Torah forbids a Nazir to drink wine vinegar or eat other grape and wine products. In Tehillim,1 Dovid Hamelech asked to drink vinegar when he said, “Vlitzmaie Yashkuni Chometz”. In Megilas Rus, Boaz’s workers dipped their bread in vinegar.2
The Hebrew term for vinegar, chometz (pronounced ch-oh-metz), is similar to the word chametz (pronounced ch-aw-maitz), leavened bread products. This etymological similarity underscores the correlation between the […]

Kashrus in the Workplace

The new food trends that have been embraced by society at large have led to a similar preoccupation with food within corporate America. This development has obvious ramifications for the kosher consumer at the office. The following is a guide to dealing with kashrus issues in the workplace.1 While it is impossible to address all the kashrus issues that may arise, this article provides an overview. As with all halacha, when questions arise, one should consult his rav.

1) Eating in a Cafeteria Shared with Co-Workers Who Eat Non-Kosher – Food on a plate, may’iker hadin, may be eaten even when placed on a non-kosher clean table. The Baday Hashulchan2 notes that today, the general custom is to use a napkin (or a placemat or something of a similar nature) when eating on a non-kosher table, even if it is clean.3 Although, in many cases a “heker” is required4 when individuals […]

STAR-K Kosher Certification Goes Ivy League: Cornell University’s 104 West

The logistical challenge of feeding 400+ Cornell University students and staff members Rosh Hashanah dinner in “Trillium at Kennedy Hall” and an overflow in an outside tent–in addition to two daily meals throughout the school year– was one that STAR-K Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Mayer Kurcfeld was up for. Cornell’s 104 West! and It’s Kosher– the campus’ satellite kosher dining station at North Star Dining Room—is presently the sixth college kitchen under this campus kashrus expert’s supervisory guidance.

Cornell upperclassman Sam Baer, president of the college’s Center for Jewish Living, first approached STAR-K Kosher Certification in March, 2015, about the possibility of certifying an on-campus kosher kitchen. After making three 12-hour roundtrip drives from Baltimore to the Cornell campus in Ithaca, New York, the STAR-K and STAR-D logos were awarded in time for the Fall Semester.

One of the factors unique to certifying a college kitchen versus a restaurant is finding just the […]

Insights from the Institute – Fall 2016

Q: Do potato chips need to be bishul Yisroel (cooked by a Jew)?

A: The Shulchan Aruch states that there is a rabbinic obligation that food be cooked through bishul Yisroel if both of the following conditions are met: (i) The food is generally not eaten raw, and (ii) The cooked food is something that would be served at a shulchan melochim – a king’s table.1 Since we are no longer ruled by royalty, we cannot observe what is served at a king’s table. The modern-day equivalent to a king’s meal is an elegant meal, such as that served at a wedding.2  This second condition is met whether the food is served at a shulchan melochim as part of the main course or as the dessert. In either case, if the food is generally not eaten raw it needs to be bishul Yisroel.3

The Aruch Hashulchan proposes that potatoes are peasant food and are not […]

Terumos and Ma’asros

INTRODUCTION
Eretz Yisroel has the unique privilege of being the recipient of the Ribono Shel Olam’s brochos throughout the year. Its agricultural industry continues to grow and flourish. Some consumer products imported from Eretz Yisroel, such as Jaffa oranges and grapefruits, are very well known to the American marketplace while other products including clementines, carrots, red peppers, jams, jellies, tomatoes, olives, and pickled products are not as familiar. Finally, there are a host of industrial products like orange oil, lemon oil and parsley that provide a steady supply of raw materials.

Besides all the general consumer kashrus concerns regarding ingredients, processing and certification, there are additional kashrus requirements that apply to foods grown and produced in Eretz Yisroel. For instance, one must be sure that terumos and ma’asros have been properly separated before consumption. Furthermore, one needs to ensure that the fruits do not come from trees that violate the conditions […]

Candy Take a Shellacking

Someone gives you a choice between two items, seemingly identical. Their only difference is that one is dark and dull, the other is bright and shiny. Which one would you choose? A tarnished penny or a gleaming one? The odds favor the latter. Food stylists and advertisers know this well. Look at any magazine spread and see how the careful lighting adds to the appeal of ordinary foods. There is probably no food item that better epitomizes the concept of a ‘shiny’ food than candy. Think glossy lollipops, satiny Mike and Ikes, gleaming M&M’s . . .

Candy manufacturers value eye appeal and they do get their candy to shine. How do they do it? What do they use to achieve their goal? In the industrial world, it is called shellac and in the candy
community it is known as confectioner’s glaze. What is confectioner’s glaze? Where does it
originate? How is […]

Proper Schach Storage

Stored improperly, schach can become a target and breeding ground for insects. These insects could then drop onto the table and into your food.

When schach is wrapped in plastic or any similar non-breathing material, ambient temperature changes may lead to development of condensate inside the wrapper. This can create a moist environment ideal for breeding insects.

People tend to keep schach mats in their original bags and then store it in areas that are not climate-controlled (e.g., basement storage rooms, garages, sheds). These types of conditions often lead to infestation.

While we do not have statistics to show how often schach is infested, it would seem prudent to prevent schach infestation by not storing it in plastic. If you must wrap it, use paper, or leave the plastic open so it can vent. Under dry conditions – whether temperatures are cool or hot – insects won’t thrive.

If you are concerned your schach […]

STAR-K Certification Kashrus Seminars Will Benefit Kehillos from Lakewood to Louisville

Portland, Oregon and Richmond, Virginia, were just two of the locales that participants traveled from to attend STAR-K Kosher Certification’s back-to-back seminars in its Baltimore offices. The 13th Annual STAR-K Kashrus Training Program was held August 1-4, followed by the Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar, August 8-10. Both certificate programs featured a Q & A session with STAR-K Rabbinic Administrator Rav Moshe Heinemann, as well as a variety of lectures by STAR-K Kashrus Administrators, tours of STAR-K-certified establishments, hands-on vegetable checking practicums, and an optional visit (led by Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar coordinator, Rabbi Sholom Tendler) to Kreider Farms—home of Pride of the Farm milk–in Lancaster, PA. The first seminar even included a live nikkur demonstration of a calf.

Rabbi Yitzy Mandel and Rabbi Simcha Snaid, kollel yungerleit of Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim in Queens, New York, found the Kashrus Training Program invaluable in preparation for their post-Tisha B’Av move to […]

Yoshon Updates – as of September 6, 2018

Yoshon season has officially started. Many people get confused about what the terms Yoshon and Chodosh are. Here we present a brief explanation of each, followed by some product information.

For the STAR-K Yoshon Quick Reference Guide click here

For a Yoshon/Pas Yisroel List of Local Establishments, click here

The Torah (Vayikra 23:14) states that the new(i.e., Chodosh) crop of the five grains may not be eaten until after the second day of Passover (i.e., in Israel; in the Diaspora, not until after the thirdday). This means that the grain harvested this summer would not be allowed until after Passover of next year (i.e., 2019/5779). The term Yoshon (literally, old) refers to crops harvested last summer that became permitted after the following Passover. Thus, the 2017 crop of grains, harvested in the summer of 2017, became permitted after this past Passover (i.e., 2018/5778). Grain planted at least two weeks (see Dagul Mervava Y.D. […]

Greek Table Olives: Yaft Elokim L’Yefes Vishkon B’SHULCHONEI Shem

If one had to choose a single word to describe an olive, it would be ‘versatile’. Olive oil was used daily to light the Menorah in the Bais Hamikdosh. Our first introduction to olive oil was the Shemen Hamishcha, an infused olive oil with a unique blend of spices used to anoint melachim, kohanim and klei haMikdash. Moreover, the yonah (dove) brought back an olive branch to Noach in the ark, and our baseline halachic measurement for eating something significant is a “k’zayis”, the size of an olive.1 The Gemara in Brochos tells us that if one sees an olive in a dream, it is a sign of peace; if one sees an olive branch, it is a sign of Torah scholarship.
There is an opinion in the Midrash that the fruit of the Eitz Hadaas, Tree of Knowledge, was from an olive tree. Additionally, Asher (one of Yaakov Avinu’s […]

K’zayis: A Guide to Halachic Food Measurements

How much must one eat to recite a brocha acharona? How much bread must one eat to fulfill one’s obligation of seudas Shabbos?
Although Chazal chose to describe measurements in terms of commonly used items or foods such as a k’zayis (olive) and a k’beitzah (egg), the size of a standard size egg 1800 years ago may have been larger than today’s egg. Similarly, there are many varieties of olives, and we are uncertain as to which one is used for the k’zayis measure. Therefore, shiurim must be defined in contemporary terms.1 The following is based on the psak of Rabbi Moshe Heinemann shlit”a.
I. K’zayis Measurement2 – 1.27 fl. oz. (38 ml) – If one eats a k’zayis3 of bread, he must recite birchas hamazon.4 Similarly, if one eats a k’zayis of any other food a brocha acharona must be recited.5
Our testing indicates that this is the approximate […]

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

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 which has not changed much over the millennia.
Numerous olive oil brochures of the Mediterranean coastal region proudly claim that the olive oil industry dates back to over 5,000 years. This is demonstrated by the discovery of a 5,000 year old olive oil earthenware vessel in Turkey. Shemen zayis, as mentioned in the Torah, is one of the seven special species of Eretz Yisroel. The Torah requires the purest of pure olive oil, shemen zayis zach, to light the Menorah. Olive oil was an integral part of the service in the Bais Hamikdash. The olive branch is considered a symbol of peace […]

Ten Myths about STAR-K Sabbath Mode Ovens

Myth #1: Every oven that has a Sabbath mode is certified by STAR-K.
Fact: An oven that has a Sabbath mode may or may not be certified by STAR-K. In fact, the same company may manufacture some ovens which have a STAR-K certified Sabbath mode and other ovens with a Sabbath mode which do not have any certification at all. One can verify an oven is STAR-K certified by consulting the oven’s manual, calling us (410-484-4110), or looking at the list on STAR-K’s website (www.star-k.org/appliances).
Reason: STAR-K does not own the copyright to the term “Sabbath mode” and cannot prevent a company from using those words.

Myth #2: A person who does not intend to raise or lower the oven temperature may use any oven on Shabbos and Yom Tov, and there is no reason to use an oven which has a STAR-K Sabbath mode.
Fact: When using an oven on […]