Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Enforcement Division Update 009

9 Shevat 5772

February 2, 2012

chief-rabbinate-of-israel1Following is a translation of portions of the most recent Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Enforcement Division update, dated 8 Shevat 5772/February 1, 2012.

1. The Ashdod Rabbinate reports kashrus has been restored to the HaBaron Hall located at 1 Tzahal Street. The level of kashrus is listed as rabbinate mehadrin.

2. It has come to the attention of the Rabbinate that bakeries and others use cinnamon sticks. These are at times infested and required examination by removing a portion onto white paper. If that sample exhibits insect presence, then the stick must be broken open and cleaned well before it can be used.

3. Pic-Nic roll cakes filled with cream imported from Italy are being sold around the country. The wrapper is marked “kosher, dairy, afiyat yisrael (Jewish baking)” under the supervision of Rabbi Meir Karo Shlita of Italy and with permission of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.  The alert also addresses a caramel sponge cake under the name Moretta. The Chief Rabbinate Import Division reports the items were never granted permission and as such, they must be removed from store shelves.

4. The Carmiel Rabbinate issues a warning for the northern region regarding a butcher under the name Beit HaBasar Dabach Akrem, located at 3 HaMasger Street in Carmiel. The store has absolutely no supervision, and treif meat is sold on premises during Shabbos work hours.

5. Regarding a whole wheat cracker from South Africa under the name RUSKS, listed as “kosher/parve” with the hashgacha of the Beis Din of Johannesburg with permission from the Chief Rabbinate. In essence, the item is dairy and must be recalled and replaced with properly marked boxes.

6. As Tu B’Shevat approaches, there are many prepared packages of dried fruit assortments and/or items sold loose by weight, local items as well as imports, but without a hashgacha from a local rabbinate. These items may be tevel (untithed). Orla (prohibited first 3 years of trees’ produce), or contain non-kosher dies or other ingredients.

I would like to add that this is a basic translation and one must realize a number of things regarding these updates in general.

a) The state law demands that any product presenting as “kosher” must have a hashgacha from the appropriate local rabbinate. Failure to comply with this will compel a recall and items will be removed from store shelves, even if such an item has a legitimate hashgacha from a so-called badatz agency.

b) If an item is imported and has a hashgacha from its place of origin, but lacks permission from the Chief Rabbinate Import Division, it too is listed as taboo and removed from shelves.

My point is that one issue is compliance with the law, a serious matter, but another issue is compliance with Halacha, a more serious matter. That is to say that an item may be kosher and backed by an acceptable hashgacha, but still banned by the Chief Rabbinate for one reason or another.

Recent cases of this would include:

i) Ice cream which had a hechsher but contained liquid chalav akum, which is prohibited in Israel.

ii) Possibly number 3 this the update above. That is to say if the hashgacha from Italy is legitimate, then the recall is simply because it lacks the Chief Rabbinate’s import approval. Alternatively, it may be that the claim of kashrus from Italy is bogus, which is why unless one is an expert one is wise to adhere to the updates.

There are issues of kashrus and issues addressing policy, both legitimate, and knowledge of policy enables us to decipher where we draw our own personal line – once again signaling the need for transparency and publishing standards by hashgachas and the Chief Rabbinate alike.

I feel compelled to add that regarding the dried fruit alert, item 6, many/most people simply have not been trained to examine dried fruit properly, and as such, in an effort to honor the day, Tu B’Shevat, they may be transgressing Torah prohibitions chas v’sholom by ingesting insects.

Please, if you are not one of those who knows how to check the items in question properly, seek assistance or forgo the dried fruit. One is not compelled to eat dried fruit on Tu B’Shevat despite the fact the custom is widespread.

I will also add that for those in Eretz Yisrael especially, what is the point of eating dried fruit from Turkey or California. Perhaps give some thought to eating fresh fruit grown in the Holy Land instead.

To view the Hebrew report, 009, click on the hyperlink – 009d7a9d7a2d791

One comment

  • Concerned Jew
    February 3, 2012 - 17:33 | Permalink

    I am very happy to see the comment about a South African Product. There has been alot of concern in Johannesburg, to be exact on the actions of the Beis Din. There has been alot of mistakes that could be avoided and no one took notice and alot of people eat trief because of such careless actions. Thanx for watching our backs!

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