When more than 5,000 emissaries of Chabad gathered in the New York area recently from every corner of the globe, it was a vivid reminder that many of these “soldiers” play a key role in the expanding presence of kashrus worldwide. Not only do the Chabad Houses serve as a home away from home for Jewish tourists and students, but the emissaries often serve as mashgichim – kashrus supervisors – in some of the most remote places, providing the kashrus agencies with the necessary manpower to certify plants almost anywhere.
The presence of the “shluchim” has helped the expanding kashrus industry to provide certification throughout Southeast Asia with China being a major source of many kosher ingredients worldwide. I know that we have frequently given them the recognition they deserve, but perhaps when the shlucim gather at this time of the year, it is appropriate to say thank you not only for their role in serving as islands of Judaism when you need it most, but also in helping kashrus grow globally. I am still grateful for the hot Shabbat cholent I received in places like Florence, Italy.