November 17, 2014

Party Planners in Crosshairs of Kosher Certifiers

Waynesboro, PA …The popular use of party planners at events such as weddings, engagement, bris milah, and bar mitzvahs is coming under increased scrutiny by kosher certifiers. It was one of the leading topics at the recent Vaadim Conference, sponsored by AKO (Association of Kashrus Organizations), which took place November 3 - 4th at the  Capital Retreat Center, near Baltimore. In one example given, a party planner routinely brings in her own pastries to decorate a reception area without first clearing it with the certifying rabbi for the caterer or the particular event. One rabbi told Kosher Today at a recent convention of Orthodox Jews that “while the party planners may be Orthodox themselves and be well-intentioned, the certifying rabbi must be in total control of the affair to assure the integrity of the kashrus.” The party planners say that they often work under very pressured conditions and are paid to enhance the affair, which the caterer cannot often satisfy. It is for that reason that a party planner might seek out decorative pastries that the caterer may not be able to supply. The rabbis say that the failure to communicate with certifiers is often the cause of friction with party planners, “a problem that can be avoided by simply consulting with the rabbi.” He added: “While the person making the affair often sides with the party planner so as not compromise the event, they too must understand that the rabbi must be fully aware of every item of food that is brought into the hall.”