Friday, March 24, 2023

STAR-K Kosher Certification’s back-to-back 19th Annual Kashrus Training Program (July 25-28) and Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar (August 1-3) attracted participants from as far away as Ramla, Israel; Lima, Peru; and Manchester, England; to its Baltimore corporate headquarters. Both certificate programs featured a Q & A session with STAR-K Rabbinic Administrator HaRav Moshe Heinemann, shlit”a, and a variety of lectures by STAR-K kashrus administrators, a hands-on vegetable checking practicum and tours of STAR-K-certified establishments.

For the past two years, Joe Malay worked as a mashgiach in catering, in addition to visiting several factories in Peru. His 3,545-mile trip, he shared, was well worth it.

“I signed up for the STAR-K Kashrus Training Program to learn more from an important institution and its expert rabbis,” Malay said. “Where I work, I must do everything … Now, I will be able to apply the experience and theory I learned.”

Rabbi Menachem Zev Kramer, rav of the Orlando Torah Center and member of the Orthodox Vaad of Orlando, noted: “The program provided a real taam and flavor and opened my eyes as to what to look for and how to plan…. Our kashrus division is very small, but what I learned enabled me to expand our vision in a very real way. IyH, the contacts I was able to make will be translated into tangible and concrete results down the line.”

As the mara d’Atra of Bais Torah U’Tefilah in West Hempstead, New York, and director of Pastoral Care at Gurwin Jewish Nursing Facility in Commack, New York, Rabbi Uri Lesser hopes to share his new knowledge with his community, as well as the mashgichim and dining service management at his facility.

“Through the kashrus training program, I gained a tremendous amount of both knowledge and practical advice in many different areas of kashrus … My favorite part of the program was the personal time spent with Rav Heinemann, shlit”a. It is not every day that a person gets to sit with a Gadol B’Yisroel and hear firsthand his thoughts and different calculations both in Halacha and hashkafa…. No amount of time learning sefarim or reading articles can compare to personally hearing and being involved in the transmission of our mesorah.”

Chaya Lew, a Brooklyn-based party planner, was one of five outnumbered women who attended the Food Service Kashrus Training Seminar.

“As a party planner, I find myself in many situations where I have had to call a rav or a mashgiach to find out an answer, and I felt such a course would help me become more educated and knowledgeable,” Lew said. “I am very grateful for this course. I really feel like I learned a lot. As I get older, and party planning gets more physically challenging, I am considering becoming a mashgicha—especially since I have a lot of experience working with numerous different caterers and shuls on many different types of events.”

How do the STAR-K rabbinic coordinators of these events sum them up?

Rabbi Sholom Tendler said: “It is always an honor to host these seminars. We get to meet and interact with people from such a wide array of backgrounds and experiences. Their interest in kashrus—and their questions—keep us on our toes. As much as they feel they gain from us, we also certainly gain from them.”

Rabbi Zvi Goldberg concluded: “We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the tzibur by teaching and demonstrating how kashrus works at a large agency … We very much look forward, iyH, to next year’s programs!”

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