Kashrus Magazine Responds

8 Cheshvan 5770
26 October 2009

Following is a response from Rabbi Yosef Wikler, editor of Kashrus Magazine.

kashrus-magazine-kashrus-guideIn deference to the rabbi’s veteran status as a leader in reporting on the international kashrus industry, i feel it appropriate to post his response to my article on the 2010 Kashrus Guide as a separate posting in addition to posting it as a comment to the same article.

Folowing are the rabbi’s unedited comments.

Yechiel Spira commented about KASHRUS Magazine’s “2010 kosher Supervision Guide” that, although it lists all (Orthodox) kosher supervisions in the world (now at 1,033), it has failed to screen out the Badatzim and Rabbonim in Israel which the Rabbinate has determined to be “unauthorized”. In fact, in KASHRUS Magazine we have already announced to our readers about the Rabbinate’s list of unauthorized agencies.

The purpose of the Guide, as stated upon each and every page of the Guide, is to provide “a comprehensive directory, not a list of recommended agencies… Ask your rabbi which symbols to rely upon.”  These are not recommended agencies nor are they guaranteed to be legitimate ones, but they are kosher agencies administered by Orthodox Jews, men who are supposedly committed to an Orthodox lifestyle and who eat kosher themselves. How well they adhere to proper kosher standards is beyond the scope of the Guide.

I would add that kosher agencies in general tend to piggyback one on the other. When you see two three, four or five kosher symbols on a product rest assured that there are not five mashgichim and five rabbinic coordinators all running about the plant. Usually, there is only one set of eyes supervising that kosher is maintained and that person is deemed acceptable by all five agencies.

Likewise, there are many times that kashrus agencies will deem a product as acceptable to use without first having visited the plant or will accept ingredients — those considered Group 1 (thought to be innocuous) — with no kosher supervision.

Who is “legitimate” is up to the individual kosher consumer and his rabbi to determine.

Anyone interested in receiving a copy of the 170 page “2010 Kosher Supervision Guide” can order on kashrusmagazine.com or write to me personally at kashrus@aol.com (Tel: 718-336-8544).

Rabbi Yosef Wikler
Editor, Kashrus Magazine

6 Comments

  • yechiel-admin
    October 26, 2009 - 09:11 | Permalink

    Dear Rabbi Wikler,

    Would you also put out a listing of rabbis and include people who are reform
    and conservative with a disclaimer that this is a comprehensive listing of
    rabbis and not a recommended listing ? Surely, a so called kashrus agency
    that has no acceptable standard has no right to be called a kashrus agency.
    Rest assured that no one, but no one, reads the disclaimer or takes it
    seriously anymore than anyone reads the disclaimers in the so called hareidi
    newspapers that they take no responsibility for all the ads for hotels here,
    there and everywhere that have so called hashgacha l’mehadrin min hamehadrin from people who as you put it, are supposedly committed etc. but in reality have no acceptable standards. It is high time that responsibility be indeed taken for any piece of information passed on to the general public of whom 90% (a conservative estimate) just read it without thinking and accept it.

    Kol Toov,

    Dovid Stein

  • Dov
    October 26, 2009 - 09:28 | Permalink

    Anyone who takes Kashrus seriously will already know the disclaimer, and will notice it when it’s printed. Kashrus magazine’s list is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants to figure out Kashrus in America, primarily to be able to look up new symbols in order to ask their Rav. Anyone who’s not serious with a magazine or web site is not serious with symbols or te’udot. Anyone serious enough to realize that not every K-in-a-fancy-symbol or te’uda-with-the-word-badatz is reliable is serious enough to check with a Rav before relying on either a magazine list or a web blog.

  • Pith from Pinhas
    October 26, 2009 - 10:24 | Permalink

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is a cop-out. With all due respect to Rav Wikler, some of these guys out there (and I have not seen which of them actually feature in the said list) are total frauds who issue impressive looking lies for cash. If they are on this list, the list is worthless.

  • Pith from Pinhas
    October 26, 2009 - 10:49 | Permalink

    PS does the Rabbi believe that a person living in a religious environment and wearing a certain uniform is ipso facto religious regardless of his actions?

  • Moshe
    October 26, 2009 - 14:42 | Permalink

    The Kashrus magazine in their kosher supervision guide includes NON orthodox “Hechsherim”, and says so explicity on the homepage under “about KSG”

    About The Kosher Supervision Guide

    …To make the guide as complete as possible, we have included non-Orthodox kashrus agencies in our list. Where known that an agency or the rav hamachshir is Conservative or Traditional (based upon synagogue affiliation, not ordination), it is noted.

    so I’m not sure I fully comprehend Rabbi Wikler’s reply above, unless of course the KSG is not under his charge.
    “…but they are kosher agencies administered by Orthodox Jews, men who are supposedly committed to an Orthodox lifestyle and who eat kosher themselves. How well they adhere to proper kosher standards is beyond the scope of the Guide.” ????????

  • mashgiach
    October 27, 2009 - 14:35 | Permalink

    response to Moshe, as of the 2010 guide Conservative Traditional reform & secular are not listed.

    response to yecheil, if you would like to see a comprehensive listing of Conservative Traditional reform & secular purchase the 2009 kosher supervision guide. (last years guide.)

    I would like to add the purpose of the guide is to know who the hechsher is without the guide I wouldn’t even know who the symbol is. there are even a few symbols that are look alikes.
    I would like to point out that the unauthorized badatzim were listed in the Israel alerts of kashrus magazine.
    I would also like to point out that there are many orthodox hechshrim in the USA that are much worse then the unauthorized badatzim. those places are also under the reg rabanut. I will post more details later

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