Thursday, January 20, 2022

If you are shopping anywhere in the world and not sure that something you want to buy is kosher, what do you do? There’s an app for that: Kosher Snap is an app designed to help people find kosher food in any shop worldwide.

Technology has changed our way of living and apps have become indispensable to people’s routines. So having a tailor-made high tech solution is helpful and often essential. Kosher Snap App was designed by a young software development company, Vizo, headquartered in Jerusalem. The app was initiated by community Rabbi Oriel Einhorn, who resides in Israel. He has traveled the world to more than 80 countries in the capacity of the leading rabbi and maven of kashrut. It is a solution for travelers that need a quick answer to their travel food needs.

“Most travelers are not aware of local kosher lists. They come in and out of a country and cannot be bothered with local kosher politics. They want to find products that fit their needs on the go,” said Rabbi Einhorn.

The Kosher Snap app works like this: The user scans the barcode of the product and takes a picture of the product front and back. This is then sent to the rabbi who is familiar with the manufacturing country. For example, if the product is made in Poland, it will be sent to rabbis in Poland. If these rabbis are not familiar with the product, the barcode of the product as well as the pictures move quickly within minutes, to rabbis in Europe and if they don’t respond, then everything goes to a pool of experts for answering. Once the request receives an answer it is in the system and next time a person scans the barcode they will get an automated answer.

Kosher Snap App is not under any central hashgacha. This is on purpose. The app utilizes the knowledge of approximately 120 local rabbanim from around the world, from Brazil to New Zealand. The app utilizes the local knowledge of rabbis who authorize products for their communities. It does not claim to be or serve as a kashrut organization. It does provide travelers in the country to which they are traveling a knowledge of what is available.

Different kashrut authorities in different countries have different opinions. Kosher Snap App tries to bring all opinions to the table and let the consumer decide what is best for his family. Jewish Orthodoxy is the guideline. The app has rabbis ranging from Belz Chassidim to Chabad to Modern Orthodox to other Charedi rabbis.

Kosher Snap App has more than 40 recognized hechsherim for the rabbis to choose from and identify, plus a category of Bechezkat kashrut for products that are deemed kosher even without a label, like olive oil in certain areas. Kosher Snap App, while emphasizing that it is not a kashrut organization, does provide the travelers in the country they are traveling to with a knowledge of what is available. In places like the US and Israel where most kosher products are labeled there is no need for it. But for the rest of the world it is crucial to be able to travel and scan products and travel with ease.

Currently the app is in beta testing with 30 rabbanim and 300 users. Once the test is finished, the plan is to launch it in full scale. However, anyone can download it now and give feedback. For more information, contact Rabbi Oriel Einhorn at [email protected]

Susan R. Eisenstein is a longtime Jewish educator, passionate about creating special, innovative activities for her students. She is also passionate about writing about Jewish topics and writing about Israel. Susan has two master’s degrees and a doctorate in education from Columbia University.

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