2010 Kosher Supervision Guide

27 Tishrei 5770
October 15, 2009

dscn0749I have received my copy of the 2010 Kosher Supervision Guide, which contains no less than 1,033 kashrut agencies. I must say that for me, this reference book is invaluable, as a quick reference and a simple but comprehensive directory to inquire regarding kashrut agencies around the world.

I would like to add, that while the found/editor-in-chief Rabbi Yosef Wikler does not require my endorsement, his pioneering efforts towards educating the public on kashrus issues are truly unsurpassed, encompassing this guide, as well as monthly updates, Kashrus Magazine and much more.

I must however add that to my dismay, it appears some items did get by the editing staff, in the Israel section. A number of the “unauthorized” agencies as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel are listed in the guide.

This is most unfortunate and I must point this out to readers to make you aware since I personally have checked some of these unauthorized agencies, which are nothing more than ‘certificates for hire’, and in no way represent kashrut on any level. As rabbi Wikler repeatedly points out in his publications, JKN as well does not seek to endorse agencies, but rather tries to present you with Orthodox kashrut agencies, and from there, perhaps in consultation with your rabbi, you must decide if a particular organization’s standard is suitable to your kashrut needs.

In the case of these unauthorized agencies, as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, NOT JKN, some lack the very basic infrastructure of a kashrut agency, including mashgichim and rabbonim; and they simply are a ‘no-show’ operation intent on making money and deceiving consumers.

I do not wish to end on a down note, so I truly urge anyone interested in kashrus to seek out this comprehensive guide, which can open a window of knowledge to the somewhat complex and increasingly confusing world of kashrut.

12 Comments

  • Eliyahu
    October 15, 2009 - 16:07 | Permalink

    And we can get this guide by…?

  • yechiel-admin
    October 15, 2009 - 16:14 | Permalink

    One wishing to obtain the guide may visit the Kashrus Magazine website at http://www.kashrusmagazine.com/

  • Adam
    October 15, 2009 - 16:26 | Permalink

    Any way of getting it if one doesn’t live in the US? i.e the UK?

  • johnq
    October 15, 2009 - 18:30 | Permalink

    “A number of the “unauthorized” agencies as defined by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel are listed in the guide”
    Yechiel, as you yourself always point out, the piece of paper is worthless, and it all depends on the person (Rav) standing behind it. And even then, you preach, one must ask questions, look around and ultimately make his own decisions.

    So why did you decide to become the devil’s advocate and start pointing out every time an agency is or isn’t authorized by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Since when did that become a requisite in halachos kashrus? Is the Chief Rabbinate of Israel the group that decides if something is kosher or not?

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I’m not mistaking, kosher is defined SOLELY by the shulchan auruch, and not by some government agency who crowned them self’s with the title “Chief Rabbinate”.

    Please keep your great blog “kosher” by keeping YOUR political agenda OUT of the reports.

  • Pith from Pinhas
    October 16, 2009 - 15:19 | Permalink

    Seems to me that johnq is the one with the political axe to grind here. I would say that the fact that the “guide” published in America seems unaware that there are bad guys out here in the Holy Land defrauding the public and fooling them that they are eating something they are not, means the “guide” is in fact misguided. JKN has got it right John, as anyone who does a fraction of the legwork its publisher does here in Jerusalem can tell you. See the next item where even the normally anti-Rabbi Court agrees!

  • johnq
    October 17, 2009 - 22:35 | Permalink

    You missed my point. Regardless if the guys are good or bad, this is not something the the ‘law’ can determine. Good vs. bad is decided by the torah. If these guys are following the halachos then everything is ‘good’, if they are not then everything is ‘bad’. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ‘LAW’ OR THEIR OPINION OF WHAT SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED

  • David
    October 18, 2009 - 11:00 | Permalink

    My answer to johnq:
    It is possible that “x” is a frum fellow and does (or tries and do) everything according to halacha, including of course in his eatery.

    I do not know “x” personally. I come to his eatery, and see that he does not have a Rabbanut hechsher, but only an unauthorized one.
    There is no way that I can know that “x” is doing everything correctly because, unlike the Rabbanut that has mashgichim who go around and check, the unauthorized ones just come once in a while to collect the payments (at least that is how it has been reported).

    Even in a situation that I do know “x” personally (he is my neighbor/he sits next to me in shul, etc.) and knows that he would not want unkosher food in his eatery and I would have no problems in eating in his home, I still cannot be sure that he knows the logistics of keeping kashrut for public establishment which is different from a private home. For example the need to check that the receipts of the delivery match the contents of the delivery.

    If “x” has a Rabbanut hechsher, then I can be rest assured that there is a mashgiach that can guide “x” on the correct procedures he has to implement, to maintain kashrut in his establishment.

    johnq might be correct, that kashrut is about following the shulchan aruch, and if “x” would have live chickens which he would slaughter himself, roast on the spit (don’t need the soaking salting and rinsing kashering if roasted this way) and sell, then every scenario might be gleanable directly from the shulchan aruch. Even then, adverts would go out telling us not to trust people like “x” if they do not have proper hashgacha because they are so busy that they might let the forbidden pass as permitted. (Like announcements that are made concerning using private shochtom etc. for kapparot or at Meiron on Lag B’Omer.)

    In practice, though life is more complicated as everything from shechita till it reaches the consumers is usually delegated to others and no one person has full control.

    Thus “x” would be as well to have a proper Rabbanut hechsher.

  • Shimon
    October 18, 2009 - 15:03 | Permalink

    The Chief Rabbinate represents Orthodox halacha. They are not a political group. To be authorized you must represent a valid position in Orthodox halacha. The Chief Rabbinate has never unauthorized a group based on its political positions. That is why the Edah is still on its list.

    Unauthorized services are completely bogus. They do nothing other than steal money.

  • mashgiach
    October 18, 2009 - 21:34 | Permalink

    conserv & reform are not listed in the ksg. i think they should so we can know whow they are. some have orthodox sounding names

  • johnq
    October 18, 2009 - 22:39 | Permalink

    @David, may I suggest that your logic is flawed? While your post reads nicely, it just doesn’t add up.

    “If “x” has a Rabbanut hechsher, then I can be rest assured that there is a mashgiach that can guide “x” on the correct procedures he has to implement, to maintain kashrut in his establishment.”
    If thats the case, then your basically relying on the Rabbanut for everything, thus totals alleviating the need for other hecsharim. If this were indeed the case, the Rabbanut would have a (de-facto) monopoly over kashrus and everyone else would be totally irrelevant. There is a demand for “x” BECAUSE PEOPLE (apparently) DONT RELY ON THE RABBANUT!

    “Thus “x” would be as well to have a proper Rabbanut hechsher.” So again, its the Rabbanut that is deciding if a person is worthy of giving a Hechsher! That is that point that I’m trying to make: IT IS NOT THE RABANUT’S AUTHORITY to decide who is kosher, who is worthy, and who isnt when it comes to giving hechsherim!

    Perhaps we should call out every Rabbi that does or doesnt approve of a hechsheir? Lets have the Satmer option of Belze every time Machzikei hadas is mentioned. Heck, why not bring up the whole Yeshivish vs. NCSY every time we mention the OU (even if its totally irrelevant)?

    The point is: there is only one person that can ultimately decide if he wants to rely on a hecsher or not: you. And it’s important not to try to influence public opinion by throwing a negative connotation out for personal and/or political gain.

    @Shimon: good point. I still fell that a distinction must be made between ‘unauthorized’, ‘not trustable’ and ‘I wouldn’t eat there, but then again I wouldn’t eat in your house either’.

  • mashgiach
    October 25, 2009 - 17:08 | Permalink

    you can get the guide by calling 718 336 8544
    eichlers on 13ave carries it

  • yechiel-admin
    October 26, 2009 - 08:15 | Permalink

    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

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