November 21, 2011

Kashrus Agencies Have Responsibility Beyond Core of Strictly Kosher Consumers, Rabbis Hear

New York … For 120 rabbis, some from as far away as Australia and Israel, the annual gathering of kashrus agencies and officials sponsored by AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations) is an opportunity to network and learn about the latest developments within the industry. But this year, the gathering held at the headquarters of the Orthodox Union on November 10th, left the gathering with more than new information on technology, spices, and new policies. They heard Rabbi Moshe Wolfson of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath shower accolades on the mashgichim (kosher supervisors) who help bring kosher to the masses. Following on the heels of a debate on the validity of cholov yisroel (higher standard kosher milk) in today’s world of technology, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky of the Orthodox Union and a dean of Yeshiva Torah Vodaath sought to define the responsibility of kashrus organizations. “There certainly is a need to uphold the highest standards for those in our community who seek it,” he said, “but in today’s world where so many eat kosher, we have a responsibility to make sure that kosher is accessible to everyone.” Rabbi Belsky’s message seemed to validate the certification given by most large kashrus agencies of “chalav stam” (kosher milk) recognized by a “d” or “dairy” on the label. According to Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, executive director of AKO, the annual conference has become the major event for some of the world’s largest kashrus organizations.