Sunday, January 06, 2008

Kashruth Certification Guide

29 of the Tenth Month 5768

This guide is meant for tourist and resident alike. Even if you can't read Hebrew, you can use this guide as a visual comparison when shopping or dining out, if you are concerned and/or confused about kashruth certification in Israel.

For starters, you can use this guide to begin to identify the various kashruth certifications in Israel.

Once in a while, Americans will bump into familiar friends such as the O-U and Star-K (Rabbi Heinemann) and British will see their familiar London Beis Din and BaDa"Tz Manchester (Rabbi Westheim) on food labels, in candy stores, and even at few restaurants in Jerusalem.

However, these familiar faces are not nearly as prevalent as the certifications by the following rabbis and organizations.

Kashruth Certifications
(click on the image to enlarge it)

Rabbanut Yerushalayim
BeDa"Tz Mehadrin
Rav Rubin
Rav Kook
Rav Landa
B'nei Braq
BeDa"Tz Bet Yosef
BeDa"Tz Mehzikei Das
BeDa"Tz Eidah HaredisBeDa"Tz Agudas YisroelO-U Mehadrin

BeDa"Tz Neveh Tzion

Hasam Sofer
B'nei Braq

Hasam Sofer
Petah Tikvah
BeDa"Tz She'eris Yisroel

Starting out with visual recognition of certifications, or te'udot in Hebrew, will assist you in feeling more comfortable and independent while shopping and dining out in Israel. If you feel you need to ask a rabbi or friend in Israel about a certification, or which gift of food or wine your host be most comfortable receiving, use the above chart to identify the name of the certifications in question.

Yoreh De'ahI only recently found a copy of Rav Shlomo Mahpud's shlit"a "Yoreh De'ah" kashruth certification symbol. So I am adding it to this post. You can find Rav Mahpud's certification on bakeries, meat, meat restaurants, and on natural and alternative medicines.


Asher said...

so who needs all these different types of Kosher?
Really, it's impossible for a few people to go eat something without having to decide which certification.
If it's good enough to get "chief rabbinate" certification, it should be good enough for everybody. Full stop.
The fact is (suprise) it's a money-spinner (ie a protection racket) not to put too fine a point on it!

Esser Agaroth said...



This is only a guide. Many Jews from outside of Israel are not familiar with what these certifications look like. When they come here my suggestion was to look at the picture, which helps even those who are unable to read the Hebrew.

Unfortunately, there have been a rash of fake certifications out there {ie. the scams you mentioned}. I have listed most of the standard, well-established ones so that visitors will worry less about such things, and focus more on enjoying their time in Israel.

Regular Rabbanuth certifications are not listed here, as they are easily recognizable and in English as well as Hebrew.

Jews who have customs regarding shchitah and Bishul Yisrael will already be familiar with most of these.

Another reason I posted this is to encourage Jews to do further research, as which time they will find that there isn't much difference amongst these, save for shchitah and Bishul Yisrael.

I also want to encourage Ashkinazim {still the majority of Jews in the U. S.} to get over themselves and realize the silliness of not eating Sefardi and Yemenite certified foods.

Sorry, but "Chief Rabbanate" just means it not likely to be treif. The mashgihim do not check as often as the daily checks of mehadrin certification services, which also includes employee training.

According to some poseqim like the Ramba"m, one may not ingest halav nochri. The Rabbanuth accepts it. It is also less strict regarding orlah, as certainly shemitah.

Are there dairy animals on your qibbutz? Are you sure that the milk taken on Shabbath it discarded?

The Rabbanuth does the best it can to stay out from under the control of the "almighty" state, and as such much be lenient in many ways, mostly assisting Jews to refrain from eating treif mamash.

For many of us who know and understand halachah, no it's not good enough. Although the Rabbanuth should be applauded for its efforts.

Asher said...

I won't get into the whole slew of topics, just let me tell you about my kibbutz (with a "k").
Actually, I am one of the last die-hards who still does a "toranut" on Shabbat.
I am allowed to bring the "behemot" from the sheds to the corral, to put iodine solution on the udders, and wipe off so it doesn't get into the milk, and re-apply iodine after the milking. Apart from cleaning up afterwards that's all I do.
All the rest is done by Thai workers, all good Buddhista (the most idol-worshipping religion I know of) who don't know what a day off (apart from the birthday of the King of Siam) is. My every move is recorded by an array of CCTV cameras so that the Masgiah can "earn" his money by watching videos of me on Motzei-Shabbat.
So, the milk is Kosher because Buddhists milk it, work that one out. That's Zionism?

My other grudge is that in the quest to be more Machmir than the next guy, we can't sit down and eat something together, as I (for example obviously...) am Badaz Beit Yosef and she is Hatam Sofer. Who wins out (as per usual)? The so-called Machmir Mehadrin min ha Mehadrin.

Urgwently needed, especially with regard to Shmitta (which a lot of"Rabbis" bought Mercedes as a result of, was that the intention?) is a voice of reason. I'm glad that you wrote "The Rabbanuth does the best it can ... and as such much be lenient in many ways, mostly assisting Jews to refrain from eating treif mamash."


Esser Agaroth said...

1. Of course, you're allowed to do all of those things on Shabbath, to prevent tza'ar ba'al hahayim.

This blogger lives on one {of the surprisingly few} yishuvim that uses only Jewish labor, many residents are involved in some way with agriculture, including a few shepherds.

2. I am also against silly humroth, and trying to be more mahmir than the next Jew. I AM for knowing the actual halacha. The Ramba"m does not allow halav nochri, but also believes it's sufficient for a Jew to be standing outside of the refeth. These days with threats of poisoning by Yiishma'elim, I recommend a higher level of vigilance when working with them. Of course, I believe that Jews should do their own milking, for halachic, economic, and social psychological reasons. So, no, using Thai workers is not Zionist in the least, not by left wing standards or {true right wing} standards.

3. I use the "q" to distinguish the qoof from the kaf, two letters which should be pronounced differently.

For more on their proper pronunciation and authentic Jewish practices, see Lashon HaQodesh - Loshon HaKoidesh" at Machon Shilo.