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Recordings, Articles, Procedures on Kashrus

RECORDINGS
Current Topics in the Kashrus World
Shiurim on Kashrus KOSHER ARTICLES AMI Magazine features the cRc Overview Drinks Fish Food Products Fruits and Vegetables Health and Medicine Hamodia 5770 Interview with Rabbi Sholem Yehuda Fishbane How Kosher Is Your Simcha (featured in Mishpacha Magazine) Hechsherim (Kosher Symbols) Miscellaneous Passover Scale Insects in Orange Juice Spices Shabbos and Yom Tov Shemittah Starbucks - Detailed Halachic Research Technical What Could Be Wrong With My Latte (featured in Ami Magazine) KOSHER PROCEDURES IN THE KITCHEN cRc Instructional Videos Kosher in the Kitchen cRc's guidelines for separating Terumah and Ma'aser cRc Guide to Tevillas Keilim and Hechsher Keilim (Kashering) cRc Guidelines for Kashering Livers FOR THE KASHRUS PROFESSIONAL Sappirim Newsletter Technical Articles Weekly Shiurim Sherry Casks: A Halachic Perspective Rav Reiss on HaSagas G'vul
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KOSHER ARTICLES

Overview Articles

What is Kosher?
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Kosher is a term that applies to foods that are fit for consumption by Jews in the observance of Jewish dietary law. These dietary laws originate in the Bible and have been observed by Jews for over 3,000 years. The laws relating to kosher foods are detailed and intricate, but a few basics can be easily understood...

Is Pareve Really Pareve?
Rabbi Simcha Smolensky
There are many consumers who depend on the kosher designation of pareve on food items they purchase. Obviously, the pareve designation is important to the Kosher Consumer, who looks for pareve items that may be eaten with any type of meal, whether meat or dairy...

Pas Yisroel
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

In the times of the Mishnah, and possible even earlier, Chazal forbade us from eating bread-like items that were baked exclusively by non-Jews...

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Drinks

Slurpees Slurpees Everywhere, Nor Any Drop To Drink?
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

The question is not, "Why do people drink Slurpees?" That has an easy answer: because they’re good. However, "Are kosher consumers drinking Slurpees?" does not have such an easy answer...

Fountain Soda – A New Hurdle for the Kosher Consumer
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Until recently, if the syrup was known to be kosher then there was no reason not to buy a drink from the fountain dispenser. However, over the past few months, 7-Eleven has introduced a new fountain soda machine into their stores which has raised doubts about these assumptions...

Benedictine Liqueuer
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Centuries ago a monk created a flavored whisky (i.e. a liqueur) that contained a blend of 27 herbs and spices, and the beverage was produced by his successors for a few hundred years.  Production was stopped around the time of the French Revolution, and it wasn’t until the late 19th century that a French wine merchant discovered the recipe and began manufacturing the drink once again....

Dairy Water
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Chazal forbade the creation and consumption of bread which is milchig, e.g. made of dough which includes milk, because they were concerned that someone might inadvertently eat it with meat; the same prohibition exists for fleishig bread...

Wine Tasting
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

A certified restaurant will be hosting a wine tasting party at which they will serve samples of many wines including some which are not mevushal...

Beer-Not What it Used To Be
Rabbi Akiva Niehaus
cRc Rabbinic Coordinator

As Purim preparations swing into full gear, a trip to the local liquor store is on many people’s lists. One of the common beverages purchased will likely be the iconic beer. While the general public assumes that all (or most) beers are kosher, some are highly problematic....

 

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Fish

On Kosher Fish - FAQ
Rabbi Chaim Goldberg
OU Rabbinic Coordinator

Q: How do we identify a kosher fish? A: The Torah (Vayikra 11:9) says that the simanim of kosher fish are “snapir v’ kaskeses”. However the Gemara (Chulin 66b) tells us that all fish that have “kaskeses” have “snapir”, ...

Kosher Fish for the Kosher Consumer
Rabbi Zushe Blech
Kashruth Consultant

The Torah requires that Kosher fish must have both scales and fins. The fact of the matter is that all fish with scales also have fins, so in practice Kosher fish are identified by their scales...

Kosher Sushi, Not Your Bubby’s Gefilte Fish!
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Jackie Mason once joked that sushi was created by a Jew who wanted to open a restaurant without having to cook anything in the kitchen. What the comedian didn’t know then is what has become an intriguing, multi-faceted issue now...

Fish and Meat
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

There’s a well-known prohibition against eating meat and fish together (Shulchan Aruch 116:2), and in recent years this issue has presented itself in three new ways – Worcestershire sauce, fish oil and marshmallows...

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Food Products

Bishul Yisroel of Blintzes
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

This document will discuss whether blintzes require bishul Yisroel. It will begin with a description of the process of creating a blintz at one specific company, which is reasonably representative of how blintzes are created elsewhere...

Crisped Rice
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Is there a concern of bishul akum on crisped rice? The finished product is clearly not oleh al shulchan melachim, but we'll see that there's an interim stage in the production which raises an issue...

Gevinas Yisroel on Acid Set Cheese
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Modern methods of cheese production have raised a further question within the lenient opinion.  Nowadays, it is quite common for manufacturers of acid-set cheese to add a bit of rennet into the milk to speed up the cheese-making process and to produce a somewhat firmer end product.  Does that change the cheese’s status to that of rennet-set cheese?...

Milk and Honey
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Consumers regularly call the cRc office to ask whether a particular food requires hashgachah.  As a rule, if the item is listed on the kashrus database as being a Group 1, we can tell the consumer that the item is acceptable without any certification.  This article is going to discuss two exceptions to that rule – milk and honey...

Mushrooms
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Button, Oyster, Padi Straw and Shitake mushrooms are commonly eaten raw and therefore do not require bishul Yisroel. The status of Chanterelles (Golden), Cloud Ear, Mixed Wild, Morels, Porcini, Portobello and Wood Ear mushrooms is more complicated...

Peppers
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Peppers come in many varieties from the mild common bell pepper to the very hottest pepper, known as the habanero pepper. ..

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Fruits and Vegetables

Can it be Kosher? Canned Vegetables and Fruit
Rabbi Tzvi Rosen
Star-K Kashruth Administrator

How often have we heard the question, "What's the problem with plain canned vegetables? It's only vegetables, water and salt in a can!" True. It's also true that today you can buy salt with a hechsher, water with a hechsher even cans with a hechsher! But can a kosher consumer buy canned corn off the shelf or should the kosher consumer beware?...

Dried Fruits
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Gone are the days that an innocent fruit was just that. Like everything else in the food industry simplicity is a rare find. For this reason I have compiled an overview of the most common fruit, in its various forms and with the possible kashrus concerns that can be present. This article should prove helpful to the kosher trade and the dedicated kosher consumer in pointing out just what to look for and how to get it...

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Health and Medicine

Evaluating Risk
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

We are all aware of the Torah imperative to avoid even the smallest chance of danger regardless of the financial or physical cost or even if it involves the violation of a mitzvah.  Yet, we intuitively understand that the Torah allows us to drive in a car even though in 2006, 1.42 people died for every 100 million miles driven...

Glucosamine and Chondroiton
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Oysters, crabs, lobsters, shellfish and sharks are all non-kosher, but there is a difference between oysters and the others.  Oyster shells are rock-hard and so clearly not a food that it is generally accepted that the shell itself is “kosher”; therefore, oyster shells are approved as a (very common) source of kosher calcium...

Kosher Body Soap
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Bar-soap has always been made from (non-kosher) animal fat and there are respected halachic authorities that hold that one should not use such soap for washing their body.  However, the common practice is to be lenient on this issue because...

Liquid Medicines
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Liquid medicines (e.g. cough medicine, liquid Tylenol) contain active and inactive ingredients.  The former typically pose no kashrus or Pesach concerns and have an unpleasant taste, while the latter are often food-ingredients which may be kosher-sensitive (and/or chametz) and have a pleasant taste... 

Over the Counter Medicine
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

The term “over the counter medication” (OTC) covers a whole gamut of pharmaceutical products used to help people overcome all sorts of maladies or discomforts.  Many of these items contain kosher-sensitive ingredients, and conscientious consumers regularly ask which of these items may be consumed...

Celiac - A Guide to Halachic Observance
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body reacts to the consumption of gluten/ gliadin, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. The celiac's (colloquial term for a person affected by celiac disease) body responds to the consumption of gluten in a manner which damages the small intestine, particularly the villi that line the duodenum (beginning of the small intestine). This, in turn, affects the celiac's ability to absorb calcium, iron, and a number of vitamins....

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Hechsherim (Kosher Symbols)

cRc Kosher - The Invaluable Edge!
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Americans visit supermarkets an average 2.3 times a week and each time enter a fascinating world full of secrets. The way a store is laid out, the way items are positioned on shelving, the whys and wherefores of display are all part of the grocer’s science...

Understanding the Reliability of Kosher Agencies
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Due to a growing world market and ever-changing technology, the food industry has become more complicated than ever, and the kosher food industry is no exception. At one time, a woman did all of her family’s food preparation in the kitchen...

The Hechsher of the “EEI”
Rabbi Zev Shandalov
There is one Hashgacha that people rely on that, in fact, is a very dangerous one upon which to rely. It is the hechsher of the "EEI." This acronym stands for "Everyone Eats It."...

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Miscellaneous

Just Another Eggsample
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

As the smell of a chicken farm accosted me from a few blocks away, I once again thought to myself "Hashgocha on raw eggs? What could I possibly look for, other than a few ostriches ducking for cover?"...

A Fresh Clean Look at the Kashrus Status of Toothpaste
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Imagine you are invited to a luncheon where a tube of toothpaste is the scrumptious main course. While this is (hopefully) only a bad dream, the question of whether, according to Jewish Law, toothpaste is considered a food is subject...

Backup Hafrashas Challah
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc

All cRc food service establishments are required to have a religious Jew separating challah from every batter of dough as it is kneaded.  In some cases, it is appropriate to setup the following “backup system” to guarantee that no food is inadvertently sold without hafrashas challah due to an unforeseen situation...

Benefitting From Non-Kosher Food
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

...however, the Mishnayos at the end of Temurah list quite a number of items which are also assur b’hana’ah (forbidden to have benefit/pleasure from them).  Many of the items listed there aren’t relevant to the average consumers, but the following are ones that any of us may encounter...

Doing Business Involving Non-Kosher Food
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 117 discusses the prohibition against doing business involving non-kosher food.  Among the practical points noted there and in the Poskim are as follows...

Eating at Trade Shows
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinic Coordinator of the cRc

The hundreds or thousands of booths at a typical trade show are all vying for the attention of the people “walking the floor”, and one sure-fired method of attracting visitors is to offer them something to eat or drink.  This is common at all trade shows, but it is even more prevalent at food shows, where the gastronomic enticement is likely to be the specific item being displayed by the vendor...

Grape Juice From Concentrate
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
Over the years, there has been considerable debate regarding the bracha on grape juice produced from concentrate, and whether such juice is suitable for Kiddush and daled kosos.  As many consumers use grape juice for exactly those purposes, it is crucial that any certified grape juice be suitable for those mitzvos.  This document will review the highlights of the primary opinions regarding this issue...

Pas Yisroel During Aseres Y'mei Teshuvah
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

...However, the time of year when most people are machmir regarding pas Yisroel is during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur> (Aseres Y’mei Teshuvah), based on Shulchan Aruch 603:1 who records such a custom...

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Passover

Alfalfa
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
...while alfalfa contains too much cellulose to be digested by humans, this article will address two ways that its use affects the kosher consumer.

Carbon Dioxide for Pesach
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc

There is little in life that does not have a halachic implication, and this paper will discuss whether carbon dioxide can possibly be forbidden on Pesach...

Coffee and Tea for Pesach
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc

What is in coffee and tea that might make them unsuitable for Pesach? Although coffee beans and tea leaves are inherently kosher for Pesach, we will see that there are three processes done to the beans or leaves...

Fenugreek for Pesach
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc
Although most consumers would never suspect it, it seems that it is quite common to use fenugreek in the creation of maple flavors.  Fenugreek is an inherently kosher item which doesn’t pose year round kashrus concerns, and this article will consider whether it should be classified as kitnios...

Hachanah in a Pesach Certified Hotel
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc
People prefer to begin their meals or Sedorim as soon as Ma’ariv ends on the eve of Shabbos or Yom Tov.  The same is true in a hotel which is certified for Pesach and naturally, the caterer will do anything in his power to keep his customers happy.  At the same time, it is the responsibility of the Mashgichim to enforce the halachos which forbid hachanah from one day of Yom Tov or Shabbos to the next...

Raw Frozen Fish on Pesach
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Of the many food items that grace our Shabbos and Yom Tov tables, almost nothing can spoil faster than fish. Even when the fish is no longer oif de velt, the enzymes that helped transfer the essential sugars and amino acids from the live fish’s lunch to its muscles do not die with the fish. These active enzymes rapidly bring out self-digestion...

Why Erev Pesach Rarely Occurs on Shabbos
Rabbi Dovid Heber
Kashrus Administrator, Star-K Kosher
The following is a transcript of a topic from a series of shiurim on the topic of zemanim delivered in Yeshiva Ner Yisroel (Baltimore, MD) by Rabbi Dovid Heber, a Kashrus Administrator at Star-K Kosher Certification...

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Shemittah

Greenhouse Produce of Shemittah
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc
...our discussion will focus on another possible benefit of growing produce in a greenhouse, namely, are they possibly free of shemittah concerns?  There are two possible reasons why greenhouse produce should not be considered “shemittah produce"...

Shemittah 5768
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc
In the last 200 years, as Jews have once again settled Eretz Yisroel, we have once again had the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvos of shemittah, the Sabbatical year...

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Spices

The Spice of Life: A Kashrus Overview of Salt & Pepper
Rabbi Zushe Blech
Kashruth Consultant

The use of spices in preparing food has played a role in history disproportionate to their nutritional value. A ransom paid by Alaric the Goth that included three thousand pounds of pepper delayed the attack of Rome for two years!...

Ta'am Tov B'Tuv Ta'am: A Flavorful Blend of Kashrus and Spices
Rabbi Tzvi Rosen
Star-K Kashruth Administrator

Unquestionably, the one area of food ingredients that attests to the global nature of the food industry is the spice trade. The Torah is replete with reference to the spice trade from the spice traders that carried Yosef to Egypt, to the incense that was fundamental to the tabernacle service. Spice trading has thrived from the beginning of commercial trade...

Spice Blends
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinatorof the cRc
Most individual spices do not require hashgachah, but many spice blends consist of more than just a few spices mixed together; therefore, the general rule is that spice blends require certification...

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Technical

Kosher & Computers - Luxury or Necessity?
Rabbi Simcha Smolensky
Much has been written in recent years about technology and kashrus. This has almost exclusively meant the discussion of various new food processing techniques and the implication of such techniques on kosher certification...

Daily Dumping Sheets and Kosher??
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Do the terms "Daily Dumping Sheets", "Certificate of Analysis", "Tanker Washout Tickets" or "Boiler Return Layouts" mean anything to you? Well, to a Rabbi making his scheduled (and unannounced) Kashrus visits to his plants these are some of the terms he must be familiar with in order to ensure a "Kosher" Kosher inspection...

Identifying Meat That Was Not Properly Menukar
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
Before a piece of meat is salted, certain fats, blood vessels and other items must be removed in a process known as nikkur/traiboring.  A professional menaker can easily tell whether a piece of meat was properly menukar, but just about anyone can easily learn to recognize some telltale signs of nikkur and notice when a piece of meat is sorely lacking those signs...

Hotel Kashering
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
This document will discuss the three primary halachic issues which have to be considered when determining how to kasher equipment in a hotel.  The three issues are cleanliness, choosing the method of kashering and aino ben yomo, and this document will focus how they apply to the following list of equipment which are commonly kashered at hotels...

Measuring Yad Soledes Bo by Hand
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
A popcorn company produces two types of popcorn, kettle cooked and air popped, and they produce two products on each line (kettle corn and white on the kettle line, and two variations of cheese corn on the air popped line)...

Temperature Recorder as a Kashrus Tool
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
There are many times when technology helps us improve our kashrus supervision, and we would like to present the following examples where relatively inexpensive temperature recorders have been used for exactly that purpose...

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KOSHER PROCEDURES IN THE KITCHEN

Kosher in the Kitchen
cRc's guidelines for making your kitchen kosher year round and for Passover. Our article reviews appliances, counter tops, sinks and more.

Taking Terumah and Ma'aser
cRc's guidelines for separating Terumah and Ma'aser from produce grown in Israel

cRc Guide to Tevillas Keilim and Hechsher Keilim (Kashering)
By: Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, sh'lita
Av Beth Din of the Chicago Rabbinical Council

cRc Guidelines for Kashering Livers
Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator of the cRc

Upon receiving the livers, any blood collected in the bag or container should be spilled out to avoid the livers sitting in the blood for 24 hours...

Kashering Knives and Grinders
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Adminitrative Rabbibnical Coordinator of the cRc

Typically, if a utensil is used with cold, non-kosher food, the utensil may be used for kosher food after it is thoroughly cleaned.  However, when a knife or other utensil is used to cut, chop, grate, or grind a non-kosher food, a residue of that non-kosher food remains on the knife even after the knife is “cleaned”....

Knife Sharpening
The following is a record of the presentation given by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt, Rosh of the Council of Orthodox Rabbis in Detroit, to the AKO Va’adim Convention in February 2009, as well as the comments of some of the participants...

Retinning and Reglazing
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Adminitrative Rabbibnical Coordinator of the cRc

There are two methods of refreshing the finish on a baking pan, retinning and reglazing, and this document will discuss whether these processes qualify as some form of kashering...

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Shabbos and Yom Tov

Amirah L'Akum Adatah D'nafshey
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
A non-Jew may perform melacha on Shabbos (or Yom Tov) if he is doing so for his own benefit (adatah d’nafshey), and the Jew merely has tangential benefit.  There are different ways of interpreting this leniency...

Ovens With Sabbath Mode
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc
Nowadays, many appliances, especially ovens, are sold with a “Sabbath mode”, and the following is an attempt to clarify how that mode is helpful to consumers...

Russian Samovar
Rabbi Dovid Cohen
Administrative Rabbinical Coordinator of the cRc

As a rule one is not permitted to put food onto the fire (or the blech) on Shabbos even if the food is fully cooked.  This prohibition is called chazarah and is based on two concerns...

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HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din

 

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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