JKN Machane Yehuda Kashrut Walkers Hit the Pavement

Machane Yehuda Shuk tour 1 - Aug. 3, 2009

Machane Yehuda Shuk tour 1 - Aug. 3, 2009

It wasn’t too hot and 9:30am this morning and we gathered on Machane Yehuda Street as planned, preparing for the first-ever Jerusalem Kosher News Machane Yehuda Shuk kashrus tour. The event lasted about 90 minutes, and I am left with the impression that the approximately 20 participants are now a bit more aware, a more alert, and a bit more confident regarding kashrut situation in general, with an emphasis on Machane Yehuda. 

It appears a good time was had by all, and I use this forum to ask readers who participated in the event to please view the article on the website and to share their experience with readers in the “comments” section. This will assist many others who are deciding if this event is for them. I receive many emails asking questions regarding the event, so perhaps sharing your experience with readers will assist them too.

I think we did a fair job of covering ground, visiting the main streets and pointing out the major kashrut certificates, the many stores that do not have certificates, and took the time to discuss the many stumbling blocks that exist, primarily, what some of the participants used to think might have been kashrut certificates – now aware this is not the case.

On a positive note, we learned there are many places one can buy from, while some of the others may demand a bit of consideration, while others are simply no longer an option. This depends in no small part on each shopper’s own level, but now, the participants can arrive at that decision perhaps with a bit of confidence that they have a better understanding of the complicated situation.

Most of the group decided that the kosher certificates need to be larger, with expiration dates and store name information that is printed in larger clearer fonts. We also decided that some agencies, Agudat Yisrael for one example, needs to standardize its certificates as well as make them more official so a shopper can know if it is real, a photocopy for an outright forgery.

As such, I agreed to assemble a list of telephone and fax numbers of kashrut agencies to post to the list so readers may begin calling for action. We believe that if enough people call for implementing change, it will occur, we hope sooner rather than later.

If you are not one of the people signed up for the morning or evening shuk tours on Tuesday, August 11th, then continue monitoring the list for announcements of tours. I hope there will be others before summer’s end.

To the participants in the first group, permit me to thank you all, sincerely, for trusting and encouraging. Please take the time, a few moments perhaps, to share the experience on the website with other readers. I am not too faint of heart and honest constructive criticism is always appreciated!

To get us started, as promised, here is the information for those wishing to join the trumot & ma’asrot program under the auspices of HaRav HaGaon Yosef Efrati Shlita. One may call 02-651-7793.

This is the number of the     בית מדרש גבוה להלכה בהתישבות החקלאות

Alternatively, there is also the trumot & ma’asrot program of

Beit Ha’Otzar -Hakeren l’Hafrashot Trumot u’Ma’asrot
Tel: 08-684 7325
Fax: 08-684 7055

Following is contact information for a number of kashrut agencies to permit you, the consumer, to voice your opinion.

1.    Agudat Yisrael – 02-538-5251 (office) 02-538-5145
2.    Chatam Sofer Bnei Brak – 03-579-2601 (office) 03-579-5175 (fax)
3.    Chatam Sofer Petach Tikvah – 03-931-7040 (office)   03-904-4440 (fax)
4.    Chief Rabbinate Fraud Division – 02-531-3163 (office) 02-531-3169
5.    Chief Rabbinate Import Division – R’ Yitzchak HaCohen Artzi 02-531-3137 (office) 02- 02-537-7875 (fax)
6.    Eida Chareidit Vaad Kashrus – 02-670-0205 (office) 02-625-4975 (fax)
7.    Jerusalem Rabbinate Kashrut Dept – 02-621-4888 (office) 02- 02-621-4832 (fax)
8.    Landau, R’ Yehuda Leib (Bnei Brak) – 03-618-2647 (office)   03-579-8967 (fax)
9.    Nvei Tzion – 03-676-4494 (office) 03-674-2883 (fax)
10.    OU Israel – 02-563-0302 (office) 02-563-0061 (fax)
11.    Rubin, R’ Avraham – 08-939-0816 (office) 08-939-0818 (fax)
12.    Sheirit Yisrael – 03-677-3330 (office)   03-677-7030 (fax)
13.    Yoreh Deah (Rav Machpud) – 03-676-5888(office) 050-411-9007 (fax)
Yechiel Spira for Jerusalem Kosher News


  • Alizah Hochstead
    August 3, 2009 - 15:48 | Permalink

    I found the tour every enlightening and hope that in addition to tours like this we will also have lectures by some of the people who write for the web site to increase both personal and professional knowledge.

  • Harriet Mark
    August 3, 2009 - 16:04 | Permalink

    Dear Yechiel, Thank you so much for such an informative orientation to the kashrut issues of the shuk and kashrut in general in J’lem. I gained a baseline of information regarding certificates and some common practices here…. a good start, I am, however, aware that there is much more to learn while being constantly alert to change. Also, the liquores we talked about did (both) have the OU certification.
    Suggestion: At times it was hard to hear you, a microphone would be very helpful so we don’t miss a word! Also, perhaps you could offer a lecture/powerpoint presentation at the OU Israel Center with photos of the various certificates etc. I’m sure it would be well attended.
    Thank You again for this essential service so well done! Yasher Koach!!

  • Eli Casper
    August 3, 2009 - 18:56 | Permalink

    If you love shopping at “The Shuk”, & you aren’t so familiar with the Kashrus scene here in Eretz Yisrael, then this tour is for you. R’ Yechiel Spira is knowledgeable, intelligent, & sincere in his quest to be an informed Kosher consumer – not to mention a great tour guide, as well as familiar with “The Shuk”. He patiently answered our questions, as well as directed our attention to the in’s & out’s, as well as pitfalls (both real as well as potential), of “The Shuk”. I highly recommend this tour. Thank you R’ Yechiel Spira!

  • Miriam
    August 3, 2009 - 19:30 | Permalink

    I think you’ve gone ahead and created something wonderful for all people who live in, or visit Jerusalem, and it’s about time. I plan to join on one of the future tours. You should also set a price for the time and effort you put in. If it means an upgrade of Kashrut observance in the shuk, food stores and restaurants you deserve a major Yaasher Koach from everyone.

  • Zee
    August 3, 2009 - 21:00 | Permalink

    Thank you Rabbi Yechiel. The tour was informative and interesting. I learned a lot. An absolute must for everyone, even someone who has shopped the shuk for a long time and is knowledgable can/will gain a lot from the tour. R’ Spira is very thorough and scrupulous. I really enjoyed the tour and meeting you and your son. Thank you for all your good work!

  • Bluma Adler
    August 3, 2009 - 23:28 | Permalink

    Thank you so much for the very informative tour this morning, your wonderful work to enlighten & inform people about kashrut matters here in Yerushalayim is very important & very much appreciated,I especially enjoyed your pleasant & patient manner. May Hashem repay you tenfolds for your good work.

    August 3, 2009 - 23:28 | Permalink


  • yechiel-admin
    August 4, 2009 - 06:41 | Permalink

    A note to Zee – As I pointed out in the past, I am not a rabbi. Thanks for the encouraging words however!

  • Linda
    August 4, 2009 - 13:00 | Permalink

    Shalom, I was not zoche to join the shuk tour… I anxiously await hearing about the next one. But I just wanted to thank you for keeping this site going and for organizing the tour. We have gained so much valuable information from reading your newsletters – it is obvious that this work involves much time and effort on your part. Tizkeh l’mitzvot and thanks again, LD

  • Dovi
    August 4, 2009 - 13:52 | Permalink

    Can you add the email addresses for the various Kashrus agencies.

  • August 12, 2009 - 15:32 | Permalink

    is the content of your tour anywhere online?
    my wife and i love to shop in machne yehuda when we visit israel and i’d be very interested in what you have to say.

  • Comments are closed.