Is half Moon (Pregnant K) kosher?

It seems to have been inherited by OU. What that means for products now that only have that hechser? OU is managing the kashrus of its operations which is good. Sometimes OU keeps the original hechsher kind of as a band thing, but sometimes it differentiates slightly different kashrus standards. Basically at worst it depends on the product. An uncomplicated product would be ok for sure.

Funny, You don’t look Kosher

There’s never been a better time to be peddling mock meats. For British Columbia-based Yves Veggie Cuisine, the concept of a sandwich stuffed with meatless deli slices that merely look like bologna has proven to be popular with more than just vegetarians. Thanks in part to the Atkins-led war on carbohydrates, a seemingly endless string of food scares and the popularity of organic, heart-smart and low-sodium diets, the once-limited market for alternative and healthy foods has expanded into the mainstream. Recognizing this, Yves trumpets the fact that its line of meat impostors–including chicken, bacon and ground beef–are low in fat and made with the enlightened eater’s favourite ingredient, soy. In 1998, the company added another seal of approval to its already iron-clad reputation: kosher certification.

Meeting the standards of Jewish dietary laws is akin to an ancient food-safety program. From the Hebrew word meaning “fit” or “proper,” kosher refers to foods that meet the strict requirements laid out in the Old Testament. Rather than being “blessed” by a rabbi (a common misconception), kosher food has undergone an exacting process of inspection and supervision to ensure its journey from farm or factory to plate, and adheres to the laws of Kashruth (kosher). Basic rules prohibit pork or shellfish, call for the separation of meat and dairy products, and require that animals be slaughtered according to a set of humane rituals. Packaged foods are divided into three categories with corresponding kosher labels that indicate whether the product is considered meat, dairy or pareve, meaning neutral. The pareve symbol (sometimes called parve) identifies foods that contain neither animal products nor dairy ingredients, including derivatives such as rennet (animal-sourced curdled milk found in non-kosher cheese).

Companies like Yves are discovering this strategy yields unexpected fringe benefits, not the least of which is its popularity among non-Jewish consumers–a segment that now makes up the majority of the kosher market. According to Ken Miller, Yves’ marketing director, kosher certification performs two important roles beyond its appeal to the growing kosher market. First, it reinforces the message that Yves products are meatless. Second, he says, “it functions as a credible, third-party endorsement of ingredients.” As a result, kosher symbols serve as a kind of quality shorthand, like the Good Housekeeping Seal, helping consumers identify vegetarian or dairy-free products without having to get a degree in food chemistry.

Judging by the resistance of the companies contacted for this story to speak about the attractiveness of “going kosher,” it’s a concept considered either too “ethnically sensitive” or too strategically valuable for food manufacturers and retailers to discuss. Penny Chapman, president and co-owner of Chapman’s Ice Cream, was one of the few who spoke candidly. She says consumers can easily ignore the tiny kosher symbols, but for an increasing number of them who are food-label savvy, kosher trademarks give products an instant upgrade. “It shows consumers you’re concerned about standards and safety, and gives people the next level of trust,” says Chapman. While businesses see kosher as part of a product’s brand identity, others are quick to point out its religious significance. As a result, bridging the distance between biblical dietary laws and the competitive realities of 21st-century mass production sometimes requires a leap of faith.

Neil Ticktin isn’t surprised that North American brands like Yves Veggie Cuisine are going the extra mile when it comes to getting kosher certification. The CEO of Kosher World, a Miami- and California-based trade show, Ticktin says some businesses are just beginning to discover the market’s potential. While overall food sales are growing by about 1% to 2% annually, he says kosher food sales have increased more than 10% a year for more than two decades. The growth is attributed in large part to the so-called “crossover kosher consumer”–a group that includes not just vegetarians and the vegetarian-inclined, but vegans and people who are lactose-intolerant (estimated to be 20% of the population) or suffer from food allergies. “People that are milk-sensitive can use kosher as a way to identify products that are going to be easy to digest–that’s a really powerful thing,” says Ticktin. The strict regulations and labelling practices also appeal to religious faiths whose dietary demands overlap with kosher, he says; they include Hindus, Muslims and Seventh-day Adventists.

To meet the demand, in the United States there are now estimated to be more than 75,000 kosher consumer packaged goods (up from 60,000 in 2000), with sales of US$165 billion annually. While these oft-quoted numbers have attracted some critical scrutiny, everyone agrees that the interest in kosher is much more than a passing food fad. A consumer-trends study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed that kosher food sales in Canada grew almost 20% in one year, from $480 million in 2000 to $575 million in 2001. Those kinds of numbers are compelling enough to have driven mainstream giants such as PepsiCo Inc., Kraft Canada Inc. and Krispy Kreme to obtain kosher certification for some of their products in recent years. In 2003, the venerable Campbell Soup Co. introduced its first kosher product in the United States, after 107 years in the highly competitive condensed-soup category; kosher may represent one of the few opportunities left to expand the company’s market share.

Other companies have not waited as long to explore the benefits of appealing to kosher consumers. Procter & Gamble started advertising its kosher Crisco vegetable shortening in 1911. Coca-Cola received kosher certification in the 1930s. About the same time, the H. J. Heinz Co. created a kosher alternative to pork and beans for the predominantly Jewish immigrant population in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. But it wasn’t until Hebrew National, a line of prepared deli meats and frankfurters, came along with a popular advertising campaign in the 1970s that a product’s kosher qualities were used for product differentiation. Its tagline– “We answer to a higher authority”–put into words the reason why kosher products appeal to non-kosher consumers: an agency outside of government ensures that kosher food, especially meat, is double-certified safe. With more gentile than Jewish customers, Hebrew National can lay claim to being the first national brand to bring kosher to the mainstream.

While kosher’s hold is more pronounced in the United States, major Canadian supermarket chains are betting on its cachet. Loblaws has introduced more than 1,300 kosher products under the President’s Choice and No Name labels so far. It has also pioneered an ambitious kosher retail strategy: at least 10 outlets in Ontario and Quebec have full kosher departments, including kosher bakeries, butcher shops and deli counters with full-time kosher-dairy supervision on-site. Some of those stores offer kosher catering and cooking classes, as well, although the kitchens must be rigorously cleaned according to kosher laws, separate dishes must be used and operations must shut down for the Sabbath.

Like most mainstream kosher players, Loblaws is keeping hush about the impact of its kosher category on sales. Geoff Wilson, vice-president of industry and investor relations, won’t provide numbers but admits volume is up substantially. “We’re very pleased with our regular kosher food sales,” he says. Tonnage is one thing, profitability is another. While other specialty products demand a premium price, Wilson says kosher’s mainstream status is forcing retail prices down. “Now, with more and more retailers offering these items, they are becoming competitively priced; the customer wins,” he says. Even as margins shrink, Loblaws shows no sign of shying away from the kosher category. “Certainly, we will continue to add more specialty kosher areas in markets where we see a significant consumer demand,” says Wilson.

So what’s involved when a company decides to become kosher? It varies from product to product, but the basic route begins with the certifying agency. In Canada, there are kosher supervision organizations in almost every major city, including Montreal-based MK (Vaad Hair) and Toronto-based COR (Kashruth Council of Canada). In the United States and overseas, nearly 600 agencies exist; among the best-known are OU (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), Star-K (Star-K Kosher Certification) and KSA (Kosher Supervision of America).

For a product to be kosher, all of its ingredients must first be certified kosher. That’s often the simplest part of the process because the majority of food ingredients in North America (as many as 70% of them) already meet kosher standards. That doesn’t surprise Ron Wilson, president of Ottawa Valley Grain Products Inc. He began producing kosher barley five years ago after receiving a request from one of his customers. Once his plant was certified, all of his products were kosher, regardless of whether customers required proof of certification. “You’re either kosher or you’re not,” he says. Five years later, kosher certification has become the standard. “It’s something most of my domestic Canadian customers expect,” he says. That explains why it’s so common to see kosher certification on various brands in a product category (such as juice, cookies, pretzels or ice cream)–many food companies use the same raw ingredients and/or the same manufacturing plants as their competition. Once it’s kosher for one, it’s kosher for all.

The next step in the process is the initial inspection and assessment of the processing plant by a member of the certifying agency’s rabbinical staff. The basic annual fee for kosher supervision of packaged products ranges from about $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of supervision required. If the equipment had been used to manufacture any non-kosher products–even if it was 10 years earlier–“kosherization” will be required. The process of sterilizing equipment by bringing it to extremely high temperatures may involve the use of a blowtorch, hot coals or hot steam before the equipment can be used to produce kosher products. Rabbi Saul Emanuel at Montreal’s Vaad Hair says a company will be advised about what’s required for it to meet kosher standards. He says it’s extremely rare, but a company could decide not to go through with certification at that point. For instance, a non-kosher cookie company might have to kosherize its ovens and conveyor belts. “If it can’t be cleaned spotlessly, the belt might have to be replaced,” Rabbi Emanuel explains. “Sometimes the trays used in manufacturing are burned during the process of kosherization. That might mean replacing 600 trays, which could be quite expensive.”

For Yves, the experience of kosher certification was reasonably straightforward. Most of its ingredients were already kosher. The fact that its products were vegan (meat- and dairy-free) and manufactured in one plant meant the products were practically kosher by default. Once the rabbi’s inspection and kosherization was complete, all Yves products were granted the pareve designation.

At least that’s how it was until the company experienced first-hand what happens when innovation meets tradition. In April 2004 Yves introduced its first non-vegan product line, called Prima Veggie. Unlike other Yves products, these contain dairy products to enhance the taste and texture. The mashgiach (the Hebrew word for supervisor) insisted that all Yves products produced in its plant–even those without cheese–change from pareve to “kosher dairy” designation. Consumers who are interested in reducing their meat intake might not care if their vegan veggie dog was manufactured in the same plant as a veggie burger made with cheese–but 5,000-year-old biblical laws do. L’chaim!

Is Cosmetic Plastic Surgery allow By Halacha?

Cosmetic Surgery – Rabbi Chaim Jachter


Last week we introduced the question as to whether Halacha permits cosmetic surgery. We cited rulings by Rav Moshe Feinstein and Rav Yaakov Breisch who permitted a young woman who was experiencing difficulty finding an appropriate Shidduch to undergo cosmetic surgery to improve her appearance. This week we shall explore two other classic responsum (“shut”) authored by two major twentieth-century Poskim, Rav Eliezer Waldenburg and Rav Yitzchak Weisz (commonly referred to as Dayan Weisz). If you missed last week’s article it is available on our website,

The Procedures

Sometimes diet and exercise cannot remove excess fat and skin around the abdominal area. Other times, pregnancy leaves behind muscles that have permanently lost their form. Women whose abdominal muscles and skin have been stretched out from multiple pregnancies, as well as older women who have a loss of skin elasticity due to age or weight fluctuations, are ideal candidates.

Some parts of the body won’t budge no matter how many different types of exercises are employed. Thanks to genetics, both men and women tend to store stubborn fat in specific areas, including the hips and waist, resulting in saddlebags and love handles.

Liposuction has consistently been the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in the world for the past several years. It is a safe and effective method to reduce the overall number of fat cells and produce a better contour.

Rav Eliezer Waldenberg

Rav Waldenberg (Teshuvot Tzitz Eliezer 11:41) presents a radically different approach from Rav Moshe and Rav Breisch (Rav Waldenburg lives in Jerusalem and many of his Teshuvot are devoted to issues in Medical Halacha; he played a major role at Jerusalem’s Sha’arei Zedek hospital and the State of Israel’s Supreme Rabbinic Court). He seems to categorically forbid all cosmetic surgeries. He forbids a doctor to perform and patients to undergo plastic surgery. He forcefully argues that the aforementioned Divine license to heal applies only to curing an illness and not to alter one’s appearance. Rav Waldenburg even states that cosmetic surgery constitutes an insult to our Creator because it implies that His work as inadequate. Rav Waldenburg cites the Gemara (Taanit 20b) that relates that Rabbi Elazar ben Shimon met an exceptionally homely individual. Rabi Elazar asked the man whether all the people in his town are as ugly as he. The man responded that Rabbi Elazar had insulted Hashem by implying, “What an ugly vessel You have made.” Rabi Elazar sought forgiveness and the man refused to extend it until the townspeople convinced him to relent. Tosafot cite Masechet Derech Eretz that states that the ugly person was none other than Eliyahu HaNavi in disguise. Rav Waldenburg adds that it is certainly forbidden to risk one’s life in order to undergo cosmetic surgery, even though the risk is not great. In another responsum (Teshuvot Tzitz Eliezer 12:43) Rav Waldenburg addresses the question of whether it is permissible to undergo elective surgery on a Thursday or a Friday (due to concern that it may potentially interfere with Shabbat observance). Rav Waldenburg simply responds that Halacha never condones elective surgery. If a surgery is not necessary one may never undergo such a surgery. Rav Waldenberg’s strict stance is difficult to abide by. In fact, my cousin Rhoda Brandriss (who has worked at Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital for many years) informs me that Shaarei Zedek hospital maintains a plastic surgery department. This is noteworthy because I have heard that Shaaarei Zedek strictly adheres to Halachic norms. The hospital seems to be following the approach of either Rav Moshe or Rav Breisch. Finally, regarding the ruling of Rav Waldenburg, see the observations of Rav Immanuel Jacobowitz, Noam 6:273 and Dr. Abraham S. Abraham, Nishmat Avraham 2:49.

Rav Yitzchak Weisz

Dayan Weisz Zt”l (who I am personally visited him in Jerusalem for a medical question regards shaving in Yemei Bein Ha’meytzarim. He was Niftar in 1989) focuses on two issues, Chavalah and Sakanah (the prohibition to enter into a dangerous situation), regarding cosmetic surgery in a very brief responsum (Teshuvot Minchat Yitzchak 6:105:2). Dayan Weisz adopts the identical approach to Rav Moshe regarding the issue of Chavalah, namely, that it is not forbidden unless it is done in a belligerent or degrading manner. Thus the prohibition of Chavalah does not constitute an impediment to undergoing plastic surgery. However, Dayan Weisz believes that the danger (even though it is only a small risk) involved in any surgery is of major concern. Dayan Weisz refers to an earlier responsum (Teshuvot Minchat Yitzchak 1:28:2) where he forbids undergoing any surgery unless it is necessary to save the patient’s life. Accordingly, the rules that one may not undergo surgery to remedy a problem that is not life-threatening. In fact, Dayan Weisz (unlike his Mechutan, Rav Breisch) interprets the aforementioned Rama, who speaks of “cutting a limb,” to be referring only to a case of danger to life (this appears to be a difficult reading, as had the Rama intended this, it seems that he would have stated so explicitly). Accordingly, although Dayan Weisz acknowledges that in some cases the people who wish to undergo plastic surgery are defined as a Choleh (as Rav Breisch argues), nevertheless he hesitates to permit plastic surgery since they are not a Choleh Sheyeish Bo Sakanah (a sick individual whose life is endangered). Dayan Weiss concludes that he is unsure of this matter and remarks that with God’s help he might look into the matter further in the future. He does acknowledge, though, that Rav Breisch’s argument is a “Svara Gedolah” (a cogent argument), but he stops short of endorsing it. I find it illuminating, though, that Dayan Weisz does not raise any of the theological issues that Rav Waldenburg raises concerning plastic surgery. It seems that Dayan Weisz, as well as Rav Moshe and Rav Breisch, do not share Rav Waldenburg’s fundamental theological concerns about plastic surgery. One could argue that perhaps plastic surgery does not insult the work of the “Craftsman” because He also revealed to mankind the knowledge and ability to perform cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery might be viewed as part of our role as “junior partners” with Hashem in the ongoing creation of the world (see Shabbat 10a and Ramban to Bereshit 1:28).


The four classic Teshuvot that treat the topic of cosmetic surgery present significantly different approaches to this topic. Rav J. David Bleich (Judaism and Healing pp.126-128) concludes that it is permissible in case of great need. However, there appears to be no published ruling from a major Halachic authority that explicitly permits cosmetic surgery that is conducted purely for reasons of convenience. One who is contemplating cosmetic surgery should consult his Rav for a ruling on its permissibility. Next week, Bli Neder and with Hashem’s help, we shall discuss the issue of permanent and semi-permanent makeup.

Is Benadryl Kosher for Pessach?

If it is kosher for Pesach (Passover) – It is Kosher for year around, but never the opposite.


Allegra 12 Hr. & 24 Hr. tablets, Allegra Children’s Oral Suspension & tablets, Benadryl Children’s Allergy Chewables, Benadryl Allergy Ultratab tablets, Coricidin HBP – all types.

* May be use in Pesach if required

What could be wrong with Xanthan Gum?

What is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan gum is a white to the tan colored powder used in many food products.

How is Xanthan gum made?

Xanthan gum is made from the fermentation of carbohydrates (sugars). The bacteria strain Xanthomonas campestris is fed with carbohydrate and metabolizes the sugars into a liquid solution. The solution is mixed with alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol) which causes the gum to separate from the water. The gum is then rinsed, dried and ground.

Is Xanthan gum kosher?

Every fermentation process causes kosher concerns due to the ingredients that are used to make the fermentation more effective.

The alcohol is also a kosher concern. Ethanol can be derived from grapes (nesech), lactose (dairy), wheat and barley (chometz).


Xanthan gum must have a reliable kosher certification.


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What is Mashgiach?

A mashgiach (Hebrew: משגיח כשרות‬) is a Jew who supervises the kashrut status of a kosher establishment. A mashgiach may supervise any type of food service establishment, including slaughterhouses, food manufacturers, hotels, caterers, nursing homes, restaurants, butchers, groceries, or cooperatives. The mashgiach usually works as the on-site supervisor and inspector, representing a kosher certification agency or a local rabbi, who actually makes the policy decisions for what is or is not acceptably kosher.

The requirements for becoming a mashgiach are being Jewish, being Sabbath-observant (shomer Shabbat), being Torah-observant (shomer mitzvot), have Yirat Shamayim (fear of Heaven) and personally fulfilling the laws of kashrut (shomer kashrut).

A mashgiach takes on a great responsibility and the burden of a community. The mashgiach puts their good name and the name of the community on everything done on their watch.

Depending on the assignment, which usually divide into two tasks – Commercial and Restaurants; the mashgiach must be familiar with the halachos of slaughtering meat, cooking meat and fish, and separating meat and dairy. He must be knowledgeable about the way boilers and shipping vessels work, since high temperatures and long storage times can affect the status of kosher foods. It has been said that in addition to knowledge of Jewish law, a mashgiach must be familiar with “engineering, entomology, metallurgy, boiler treatment, food chemistry, and world market trends”.

A mashgiach is required whenever meat or fish is prepared or cooked. They check fresh eggs for blood spots before they are used in cooking, and must inspect all vegetables for forbidden insects before use.

The mashgiach is responsible for performing the mitzvah of challah, the tithe of dough set aside for consumption by a kohen. (Some perform this in the diaspora, whereas in Israel it is always burnt.)

The mashgiach must also light pilot lights and turn on cooking and heating equipment to satisfy minimum requirements of bishul Yisroel (food cooked by a Jew) and pas Yisroel (bread baked by a Jew), in a way that a Jew must be involved in the cooking of any kosher food “fit for a king’s table.”[3] To satisfy requirements for Sephardic Jews, the mashgiah may be required to play an even more active role in the cooking process.

One of the most pressing and often difficult jobs of a mashgiach, however, is the checking in and verification of shipments. The mashgiach must ensure that every food product that arrives at the facility has a reliable hechsher (certification) before it is used.  In addition to checking hechsherim, the mashgiach must also check that all meat products that arrive are Glatt (literally “smooth” with no Kashrus Issues) and double sealed, usually by inner and outer plastic bags or an inner plastic bag and a sealed box, and that all wine is kosher wine.

“Kosher for Pessach / Passover”

It is x 10 times complicated to be Mashgiach during and before Pessach / Passover. Stay tune for more articles to be posted about Pessach >>.

Traibering Deveining (Nikkur)

The process of removing the nerve is called Deveining or Traibering from an Aramaic word meaning fat, or Nikkur, meaning to clean, in Hebrew. This process is complicated and post the 13th century was rarely done, as there was an abundance of other meat cuts available. Nowadays, mainly in Israel, it has come back into practice, mainly due to the fact that some of the choicer cuts of meat come from the hind-quarters*.

Glatt Kosher of Hindquarter Meat

Exclude Israel there’s no national kosher certification in the U.S. is willing to supervise the nikkur of the more commonly eaten domesticated meats such as beef and lamb.

I found this Beit Din of the Sepharadi communities of Queens, NY do Kashering and selling this premium pieces of meat.

The removal of the gid hanasheh (Hebrew: גִּיד הַנָּשֶׁה‎) and chelev (forbidden fats) is called nikkur. Since it is labor intensive to remove all the forbidden parts of the hindquarters of an animal, the entire hindquarters are usually sold to the non-kosher market outside of Israel and a few other markets with sufficient Jewish populations to justify the expense.

* The typical hindquarter weighs around 175lbs hanging(Hanging weight is the un-cut un-boned weight).

Badatz Rubin Rechovot

Badatz Mehadrin – Rabbi Avraham Rubin
Home Badatz Mehadrin – Rabbi Avraham Rubin

Feel free to contact us 647-831-4916

Kashrus Administrator: Rabbi Yisrael Bernstein

10 Miriam Mizrachi St., 6th Floor, Room 18, Rechovot, 76106 Israel

(9728) 939-0816

(9728) 939-0818

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