March 28, 2011

Women Mashgichot a Success Story

Baltimore, MD…The growing trend of mashgichot, women serving as kosher supervisors, is a major success story. To accommodate this influx of femininity kashrus organizations have taken to organizing conferences for these working women, much like those that take place for men in the kashrus field. The Star-K held its first all-women’s conference in 2009 and plans to host a two-day conference for women mashgichot this upcoming fall at its Baltimore headquarters. In the past, the conference discussed key kashrus issues such as bug infestation, setting up kosher kitchens, and workplace relations. The women's conference differs only slightly from the men’s version in that most mashgichot oversee schools, restaurants, and catering halls as opposed to factories or slaughterhouses, and predominately work in smaller Jewish communities.


Sue Fishkoff, in her recent book “Kosher Nation,” discusses the rise in women in the kashrus field. According to Fishkoff, women in kashrut supervision have “the same legal status as men.” Rabbi Tzvi Goldberg, a kashrus official with the Star-K had only praise for the women in the kosher supervising workforce, lauding them for being “very meticulous and tough when needed” as well as being “very thankful for their addition to the kosher keeping community.” Rebbetzin (title for wife of a rabbi) Dorris Fine, a Mashgicha from Scranton, Pennsylvania told KosherToday that, “The Star-K seminar was a wonderful learning experience and I was very impressed and felt fortunate to be in attendance.” She added that, “as a woman, being in and around the kitchen comes second nature to me; professionally I feel a heightened sensitivity to the activities taking place there.”