Serving the needs of US Sephardic Communities

With the burgeoning growth of young Sephardic bnei Torah, one of the leading Sephardic rabbanim in Baltimore, Rav Emmanuel Goldfeiz, shlita, engaged in many conversations with Dr. Avrom Pollak, President of STAR-K, concerning the kashrus needs of Sephardic communities, during his weekly visits to the STAR-K forshaatnez checking.  As the presence of Sephadic communities grew, Rav Goldfeiz felt that the particular chumrot required by the Edot Hamizrach for centuries should be offered in the U.S., as well.  A logical extension of the growth of Sephardic communities would be caring for their kashrut concerns. During these discussions withRav Goldfeiz, Dr. Pollak realized that additional growing communities existed within the New York/New Jersey area that could also greatly benefit from such an effort – that of the Syrian communities in Brooklyn and Deal.  These communities have been developing with incredible speed and have become a juggernaut of bnei Torah, with representation in all the major yeshivot in the U.S. and Israel, including Baltimore’s Ner Yisroel.  With these two strong communities sharing common kashrut needs, a solution to this issue became practical.

With HaRav Moshe Heinemann,shlita’s bracha, Dr. Pollak and Rav Goldfeiz mapped out a plan to create a hechsher called STAR-S with the support of an international network of kosher certified companies.  The goal would be to address the necessities of those communities in need and provide them with much needed products at the highest standards, according to the time-honored minhagim of Sephardim as well as Bnei Edot Hamizrach. The mission of STAR-S is to provide consumers with products that meet Sephardic chumrot in four areas:

  • Bishul Beit Yosef
    While Ashkenazim require Bishul Yisrael, according to Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 113, the Rama permits foods cooked by a non-Jew as long as the fires are lit by a Jew.  Per Maran Beit Yosef, these foods are not fit for consumption unless at least the first third of the cooking was performed by a Jew.
  • Chalak Beit Yosef
    Rama permits animals with certain blemishes on their lungs; Maran Beit Yosef does not permit this. All Glatt Kosher lamb and veal should meet the standards ofBeit Yosef, however, beef products are generally not subject to this requirement.
  • Yashan
    While many Ashkenazic communities outside of Eretz Yisrael are lenient concerning grain products that are not yoshonMaran Beit Yosef and all Sephardic communities are machmir in this regard.
  • Hamotzi Bread
    Rama rules that all bread that qualifies as Turisa D’Nahama is considered to be HamotziMaran Beit Yosef rules that bread with sweetness or taste isMezonos.  Therefore, many challot and rolls are considered to be Mezonos by Sephardim.
  • Kitniyot L’Pesach
    STAR-S has pioneered domestic production of Kitniyot L'Pesach on a Mehadrin standard.
Star-K – Providing International Kosher Certification for over 50 years.

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