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St. Julian Winery Brings Back Sholom Concord Kosher Wine (Detroit News)

Posted on: January 24th, 2023 by Kosher Michigan

St. Julian’s brings Sholom kosher wine back
Greg Tasker
Special to The Detroit News

St. Julian’s kosher wine — Sholom — is back on store shelves across Michigan after a two-year hiatus.

St. Julian has partnered with Rabbi Jason Miller and Kosher Michigan to resume the production of Sholom Concord wine.First introduced in the mid-1940s, Sholom has long been a popular offering from St. Julian Winery but has not been available since 2020. The long-time friend and rabbi the winery had worked with for years died. To be deemed kosher, wine must be made under the supervision of a rabbi, include only kosher ingredients and must be processed using equipment rabbinically certified to make kosher wines.

Sholom, a sweet concord wine, is made in Michigan at St. Julian Winery.
“Kosher certification is something we take very seriously. We want to be respectful of different communities and know that we are providing a legitimate option for those looking for kosher qualification,” said Apollo Braganini II, who is president of the family-owned winery, one of Michigan’s largest.

Thankfully, Rabbi Jason Miller, founder and director of Kosher Michigan, a kosher certification agency in West Bloomfield Township, approached St. Julian.

“Over the past few years, many people — including a local Michigan rabbi and his wife, David and Alicia Nelson — reached out to me about Sholom wine, telling me that they love the product but that it wasn’t available anymore,” said Rabbi Miller, who lives in Metro Detroit and started the kosher certification agency in 2008. “I reached out to the team at St. Julian and they also said they’ve heard from many fans of Sholom who miss it and want it back. We began discussing whether it would be possible for me to certify the wine as kosher.”

After visiting the Paw Paw winery and meeting with the team this past summer, Rabbi Miller agreed to a partnership to assist St. Julian in the production of Sholom.

St. Julian has partnered with Rabbi Jason Miller and Kosher Michigan to resume the production of Sholom Concord wine.

Sholom is made from Concord grapes grown in southwestern Michigan. Braganini describes Sholom as a sweet red wine, reminiscent of the company’s Sweet Revenge. The company describes Sholom as having a bright bluish-purple hue with vibrant grape aromas. The wine is 10% ABV.

“A lot of people were bummed when we didn’t have it. We’re very excited to have this product again,” said Braganini, noting the company produces about 5,000 cases of Sholom in a typical year. “It’s been a very popular product in Jewish communities. We haven’t changed anything.”

Working with St. Julian, Kosher Michigan is following the exact same kosher supervision procedures as the rabbis who previously certified Sholom wine for decades. Rabbi Miller oversees the entire process, from the harvest in September to the crushing and fermentation process. St. Julian has designated a single tank in its operations for Sholom. Miller returns later to oversee the bottling.

His goal is to make sure no additives, coloring, “or something that would make the wine not natural” are added, he said. Its kosher designation means the wine has been supervised as a kosher production. Wine is used for blessings, blessings on the Jewish Sabbath and major Jewish events like Passover and Rosh Hashanah.

“While this is the first wine that (Kosher Michigan) has certified in its 15 years of existence, it just feels like this is the right one to start with. There’s such a rich history of Sholom, a huge following, and a local Michigan connection,” Rabbi Miller said.

St. Julian has partnered with Rabbi Jason Miller and Kosher Michigan to resume the production of Sholom Concord wine.Kosher Michigan certifies thousands of products throughout North America, India and the Middle East. Kosher Michigan’s hekhsher (seal of approval) can be found on food products on supermarket shelves throughout North America.

Rabbi Miller believes Sholom is the only kosher wine produced in Michigan.

Sholom wine is part of St. Julian’s long history, though it’s uncertain how its production initially came about. The company, however, has been producing altar wine since its founding in Canada in 1921 during Prohibition. The company relocated to Detroit after Prohibition and eventually moved to southwestern Michigan to be closer to the source of grapes. St. Julian still produces altar wine, once famously served when Pope John Paul II held mass at the Pontiac Silverdome during a visit in the late 1980s.

Today, St. Julian is the oldest continuously operating winery in Michigan, now home to about 170 wineries across the state.

For Rabbi Miller, certifying Sholom as a kosher wine was something of a coincidence. Earlier in his vocation as a rabbi, someone gave him a metal sign advertising Sholom wine and Paw Paw. “I’ve had it all these years,” he said. “I built a bar in my basement and hung it on the wall. I never thought it would be my signature on those bottles of wine one day.”

The Sholom label includes his signature and the Kosher Michigan symbol, certifying that it is kosher.

Home-Grown Wine | Sholom Concord Wine is Back (Detroit Jewish News)

Posted on: January 24th, 2023 by Kosher Michigan

Home-Grown Wine
By Barbara Lewis

Kosher wine is again made in Michigan.
If Michigan-made sweet kosher wine pleases your palate, thank Alicia and David Nelson for making it available.

Alicia discovered Sholom, a kosher sweet Concord wine, soon after her husband retired as rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in 2003.

In retirement, Rabbi Nelson officiated several times a month at Temple Israel in Bay City (now merged with Temple Beth El of Saginaw to be Temple Beth Israel). The congregation used Sholom wine at the after-service kiddush. The Nelsons liked the taste, and they liked the fact that it was Michigan-made. Working with a drugstore in Oak Park, the Nelsons would buy a case several times a year.

Sholom Wine Rabbi

The Nelsons were nonplussed when the store told them a year or so ago that Sholom wine was no longer available.

The wine had been produced by St. Julian Wine Company in Paw Paw, Michigan, a town the Nelsons pass through frequently as they drive I-94 to their second home in Bridgman, near Benton Harbor. They visited the company’s store and talked to the manager. They learned that the Chicago rabbi who for many years had supervised the production of the kosher wine had died, and no one in his family wanted to take over that responsibility.

St. Julian traces its origins to 1921, during the Prohibition era when Border City Winery was founded in Ontario. The St. Julian Wine Company broke off as a separate entity in 1941, headquartered in Paw Paw.

The winery is headed by Apollo Braganini II, the great-grandson of the founder, Mariano Braganini, and his wife, Avelia. During World War II and well into the 1950s, the company built its volume on juice-grape-based wines, particularly Concords.

Mariano engineered a method for shipping tankfuls of wine — 1,000 to 3,000 gallons at a time. The company would ship bulk quantities of its Concord wine to a well-known New York winery to supplement its production of kosher wine. Eventually, St. Julian started making its own-label kosher wine, Sholom, producing 5,000 cases annually.

Sholom wine gained enthusiastic customers in Detroit and Chicago, which have large Jewish populations, but it is shipped to almost every state. “This particular wine has one of the strongest followings in our customer base,” said Apollo Braganini II.

Alicia Nelson asked the company’s managers if they’d be interested in finding another mashgiach to supervise the production of the wine, and they were. She contacted Rabbi Jason Miller, head of Kosher Michigan, a kashrut supervising agency, who agreed immediately.

“Someone gave me a metal sign with the Sholom wine logo on it. It has hung on the wall by the bar in my basement for several years,” said Miller. “I never thought that my signature would appear on the label of this iconic bottle of wine!”

Rabbi Jason Miller - Kosher Michigan - Sholom Concord Wine - St Julian Winery

 

For a wine to be certified kosher, its production has to be supervised by a trained Jewish person from start to finish. Miller started last summer by overseeing St. Julian’s Concord grape harvest and the heating, fermentation and filtration of 20,000 gallons of juice to make sure no preservatives or artificial colors were added. He personally turned on the machines that heated the grape juice and supervised the rest of the production process, which took 40 days.

Sholom wine’s labels now say the product is “Certified by Rabbi Jason Miller, Kosher Michigan Kosher Certification Agency,” with a replica of his signature.

Sholom Wine - Concord Grapes 2022 (10)“Kosher Michigan is following the exact same kosher supervision process as the rabbis who previously certified Sholom wine for many decades, so there should be no concern that the highest kosher standards are not being followed,” said Miller.

Kosher Michigan certifies thousands of products throughout North America and India. Miller said he hopes to certify other St. Julian products as kosher. “I look forward to a longtime relationship with the winery,” he said.

As for the Nelsons, they purchased a case of Sholom from Lincoln Rx Pharmacy in Oak Park as soon as they could. They serve the wine on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and have given some to friends. They were happy when Congregation B’nai Shalom in Benton Harbor, where Nelson officiates once a month, also started using it again.

St. Julian has a Detroit-area tasting room and retail store in Troy. Other outlets, in addition to the one in Paw Paw, are in Dundee, Frankenmuth, Rockford and Union Pier.

The Kosher Status of Cultivated Meat

Posted on: January 23rd, 2023 by Kosher Michigan

Israeli Chief Rabbi Issues Religious Ruling On Cultivated Meat
BY WILLIAM DELONG

Cultivated meat, also known as lab-grown meat or cultured meat, continues to evolve. What started with a lab-grown hamburger worth over $320,000 in 2012, according to WebMD, has become a stronger presence in the food industry in 2023. In November of last year, Time said more than eight dozen companies were vying to expand their market share of cultivated meat. One such company is Israel-based Aleph Farms, a firm that made the world’s first cultivated steak in 2022.

Kosher Status of Lab Grown Meat - Cultivated Meat and Kashrut

A major concern of the cultivated meat industry comes from the perception that their type of food will be less than ideal for consumers. The relatively new process, which involves growing animal proteins from small amounts of stem cells in order to approximate traditionally produced meat, is very expensive. Another hurdle is regulatory approval. As of early 2023, just one company has been approved by the FDA to produce cultivated meat for human consumption.

But the question of acceptability isn’t limited to regulatory approval. Agricultural companies, farmers’ unions, and advocates of alternative proteins disagree on how to classify cultivated meat, per Food Dive. Beyond industry insiders, there are social and even religious dimensions to consider when attempting to categorize this high-tech method of meat making. A recent statement made by Israel’s chief rabbi, notes Food Dive, may have proved a bit more clarity on how it could be perceived and classified by some groups of people in the future.

Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau released an 11-page statement after visiting Aleph Farms, based in Israel, and observing how the beef is produced, per Food Dive. In a portion of the statement that was translated from Hebrew to English, the religious leader reportedly stated, “As long as cultured meat is defined and marketed as a vegetable product [that is] similar to meat, and there is supervision over the rest of its ingredients,” it can be labeled as kosher (via The Jerusalem Post). This does not officially make it a kosher product, which must be determined by a kosher-certifying organization. But it could influence future decisions on the matter.

Reuters notes that under Jewish law, kosher meat must be made from an animal that was ritualistically killed, and it cannot come into contact with dairy products. Time says that the stem cells used to grow cultivated meat don’t come from the killing of cattle. They are harvested while the animal is still living and grown with the aid of nutrient baths.

Of course, a preference for kosher foods doesn’t necessarily mean someone is following Jewish dietary restrictions. Around 80% of people who consume kosher products don’t subscribe to the Jewish faith, OK Kosher’s executive manager of certification claimed in an interview (via Food Dive) Some consider it healthy due to the certification process. Whether people will one day view cultivated meat the same way remains to be seen.

Kosher Sholom Concord Wine is Back

Posted on: November 21st, 2022 by Kosher Michigan

St. Julian has partnered with Rabbi Jason Miller and Kosher Michigan to resume the production of Sholom Concord wine.

First introduced in the mid-1940s, Sholom, a deliciously sweet wine made from 100% Michigan Concord grapes, has been a popular offering from the Michigan winery. It ceased production in 2020 due to the loss of the winery’s longtime friend and rabbi. In order for a wine to be deemed kosher, the wine must be made under supervision of a rabbi, include only kosher ingredients and must be processed using equipment rabbinically certified to make kosher wines. The kosher certification allows many different communities to enjoy its fresh grape flavors and aromas.

“Kosher certification is something that we take very seriously. We want to be respectful of different communities and know that we are providing a legitimate option for those looking for kosher qualification,” explains Apollo Braganini II, President at St. Julian Winery.

Rabbi Miller visited St. Julian Winery this past summer. After meeting the team and touring the location, he agreed to a partnership with the winery to assist in the production of Sholom.

S

LEFT TO RIGHT: ST. JULIAN PRESIDENT APOLLO BRAGANINI II, ST. JULIAN WINEMAKER NANCIE OXLEY, RABBI JASON MILLER

“Over the past few years, many people – including a local Michigan rabbi – reached out to me about Sholom wine, telling me that they love the product but that it wasn’t available anymore. I reached out to the team at St. Julian and they also said they’ve heard from many fans of Sholom who miss it and want it back. We began discussing whether it would be possible for me to certify the wine as kosher.”

“After a visit to the winery and more in-depth discussions, it began to seem like a reality that Sholom wine would be in production again. Kosher Michigan is following the exact same kosher supervision process as the rabbis who previously certified Sholom wine for many decades, so there should be no concern that the highest kosher standards are being followed.”

“While this is the first wine that KM has certified in its fifteen years of existence, it just feels like this is the right one to start with. There’s such a rich history with Sholom, a huge following, and a local Michigan connection” explains Rabbi Miller.

CKosher Michigan is a kosher certification agency founded by Rabbi Miller. KM certifies thousands of products throughout North America and India. Rabbi Miller is from Metro Detroit, Michigan and has served on several local and national boards. He is also an alum of the Rabbis Without Borders fellowship through the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, among many other accolades.

Sholom can be found at St. Julian’s online store, their 6 tasting rooms, and at select retail partners.

SH


ABOUT ST. JULIAN

St. Julian is Michigan’s largest and longest-operating winery and has been family-owned since its founding in 1921. In addition to the winery in downtown Paw Paw where they produce hundreds of award-winning wines, sparkling juices, spirits and hard cider, St. Julian also offers tasting rooms in Dundee, Frankenmuth, Rockford, Troy and Union Pier and distributes to thousands of retail partners throughout the midwest.

ABOUT KOSHER MICHIGAN

Kosher Michigan was founded in 2008 by Rabbi Jason Miller with the express mission of increasing the number of kosher options in the community. Today, KM is the world’s largest non-Orthodox kosher agency certifying food products, bakeries, cafes, restaurants and more throughout North America and India. Kosher Michigan prides itself on offering a more business-like and transparent kosher certification process for business owners.

Kosher Certification Has Gone Mainstream

Posted on: April 14th, 2022 by Kosher Michigan

Republished from Food Safety News

By Cookson Beecher on April 19, 2022

For the approximately 15.2 million Jewish people in the world, this is a time to celebrate Passover — the festival commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery in the 1200s BC. This year the holiday runs from April 15 through April 22.

As with other holidays, food is an important part of this annual celebration, with the main observances centering around a special home service called the seder, which includes a festive meal. The foods served must all be kosher.

Kosher Certification Agency Near Me - Kosher Supervision

Derived from Hebrew, kosher means to be “pure, proper or suitable for consumption.” It’s a term that describes foods that comply with dietary guidelines set by traditional Jewish law. Not only do these laws set forth which foods may be consumed, but also how they must be produced, processed and prepared. And which foods should not be eaten.

With the extra supervision required to be accepted as kosher, with oversight by rabbis for example, kosher food is perceived by many people — Jewish and non-Jewish alike — as being healthier and cleaner.

No wonder then that a kosher label on food attracts shoppers of all kinds. In fact, according to research in 2017 by Kosher Network International, the global market for kosher foods was worth $24 billion, with growth expected to hit 11.5 percent by 2025.

OK Kosher, one of the largest kosher certification organizations in the world, has certified about 700,000 products made by 4,000 manufacturers, which include Kraft, Heinz, Kellogg and General Mills. Even Coca Cola has gone Kosher.

Rabbi Eli Lando, executive manager of OK Kosher, said that by and large, “consumers see a kosher certification as a verification that a product is healthy, clean and safe. And while the certification has roots in religious traditions that are thousands of years old, it now speaks directly to the modern consumer’s demand for wholesome foods.”

Although there are 6 million Jews in the United States, according to World Population Review, Lando said Jewish people represent only 20 percent of the kosher product consumer base.

In other words, kosher has gone mainstream, with social media helping to boost people’s awareness of it.

Roger Horowitz, author of “Kosher USA,” describes a Kosher seal as a “silent salesman.

“It may seem ancient,” he said, but the people doing it are modern and in the modern marketplace.”

What’s kosher and what isn’t
Food that is kosher must adhere to specific Biblical-based dietary laws. Some of these rules require only eating animals that are kosher — cloven (split) hooved mammals that chew cud. These include cows, sheep, goats, lambs, oxen and deer. Cuts of beef from the hindquarters of the animal, such as flank, short loin, sirloin, round and shank, are not considered kosher.

Some meats, such as meat from pigs, rabbits, squirrels, camels, kangaroos and horses are not considered kosher.

Pigs? Pigs can transmit trichinellosis, or trichinosis, a disease transmitted by eating raw or undercooked pork contaminated with the parasite Trichinella, which is not visible to the naked eye. Symptoms range from nausea to heart and breathing problems. In the past, trichinosis was fairly common and can still be a problem in rural areas.

The best way to prevent trichinellosis is to cook meat to a temperature of 71 degrees C (160 degrees F). Freezing, curing or salting, drying, smoking, or microwaving meat may not kill infective parasites. Of course, In the case of kosher, you can prevent infections by not eating pork altogether. In Biblical days, this was a practical safeguard against it.

Certain domesticated fowl, such as chicken, geese, quail, dove and turkey may be eaten. But predator birds such as eagles and hawks may not.

Fish is considered kosher only if the fish has fins and scales. This would include tuna, salmon, halibut and pickerel. But shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster and other types of shellfish are not permitted. That’s because they have spread typhoid and are also a source of a type of hives.

Meanwhile fish and eggs and plant-based meats are classified as “neutral,” meaning they don’t contain milk or fish.

Fruits in their unprocessed forms are kosher but they can’t contain insects, which means they must be inspected to make sure no insects or larvae are present before being sold or eaten. Specially trained rabbis do the inspections.

Nuts and seeds and the oils from them are kosher, although sometimes the processing of these foods can make them non-kosher because of possible cross-contamination from equipment that was used for meat or dairy products.

Also, under kosher rules, meat and dairy may not be made or eaten together. In other words, it’s one or the other at mealtime. This is based on the belief that dairy foods and meat digest at unequal rates, which is hard on the body.

Grains for the most part are fine. But during Passover, all leavened grain products — those made with yeast or a leavening substance — are forbidden. But unleavened breads such as matzo are allowed.

Kosher slaughtering . . . and after
Kosher requires that an animal or bird be slaughtered by a trained kosher slaughterer. The process involves severing the trachea and esophagus with a special razor-sharp knife. This also severs the jugular vein, which kills the animal or bird instantaneously and is said to cause a minimal amount of pain to the animal or bird.

After the animal has been slaughtered, the internal organs are inspected for any abnormalities that would make the animal non-kosher. The lungs are also checked for abscesses and other health problems.

The blood, which is a medium for the growth of bacteria, is drained. Meat must be “koshered” within 72 hours after slaughter so that the blood won’t congeal. Eating the blood of an animal or bird is forbidden.

Labeling is important
Because foods nowadays can contain so many different ingredients and also because of the complexities of modern food processing, it would be hard for a consumer to know if a product is kosher or not. That’s where labeling comes in. A kosher label on the packaging indicates that the product has met all of the necessary requirements. For those who want to adhere to kosher dietary guidelines, the advice is to choose only foods with these labels as a way to avoid accidentally eating something that isn’t kosher.

In North America, kosher certification ranges from around $5,000 to $15,000 for annual certification. As well as regular inspections, unannounced inspections are also part of the certification process. Rabbis are involved throughout the certification process. This gives consumers added trust in kosher products because an extra set of eyes are involved.

According to the JIFA, the Jewish Initiative for Animals 74 percent of Americans chooses kosher based on concerns for food safety. In fact, of the people who buy kosher products, the majority point to food safety as their key concern. And previous research has shown that American shoppers believe that kosher food is safer.

Washington state dairyman Dick Klein, who isn’t Jewish, is one of them. He said he always buys kosher, if it’s on sale, because “it’s healthier and safer.”

Some problems
Meanwhile, JIFA, says that despite the fact that people think kosher food is inherently better, this is despite the fact that almost all kosher and non-kosher meat, poultry, dairy and eggs come from animals raised on factory farms, which raises concerns about the overuse of antibiotics.

When it comes to how kosher animals are bred and raised, JIFA says that kosher certification has no relationship to antibiotic use, health genetics, confinement, or access to pasture.

Food safety enters the picture
Although many people consider kosher foods to be safe when it comes to standard food-safety requirements, that isn’t necessarily the case.

Kosher Check, a Canadian certifying company, is a full-service certification agency — but one with an important difference, according to its website. While kosher agencies worldwide aim to certify that the ingredients and manufacturing processes of their clients follow the Jewish laws of kosher as set out in the Torah (the Jewish Bible) Kosher Check goes further.

Formerly BC Kosher, it was the only agency in the world that required its clients to be in good standing with all applicable food safety rules as a condition of kosher certification.

Now Kosher Check certification has been introduced for those manufacturers that want to promote not only their kosher compliance but their commitment to food safety as well.

The company says that certification of a company’s products and manufacturing processes by Kosher Check is a mark that “not only guarantees your ingredients and products kosher status, it also acts as a mark of assurance that food safety laws have been strictly followed to a minimum level of HACCP compliance.”

Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance requires businesses to identify potential food safety issues and review their entire food storage and handling processes and procedures. The goal of using HACCP is to ensure a business is HACCP compliant. Compliance implies all aspects of food storage and handling are conducted in a safe manner.

Kosher Check says it can work with companies that don’t meet this standard to achieve it.

The company’s website also says that this double-layered guarantee formalizes and reinforces the widely-held belief among consumers that Kosher products are safer to consume. Besides attracting Jewish shoppers, the Kosher Check label will attract “the throngs of shoppers concerned about food safety issues,” thus greatly expanding the market for a company’s kosher products.

Kosher Foods Industry Grows in U.S. and Globally

Posted on: January 17th, 2022 by Kosher Michigan

The awareness regarding health and wellness is rising rapidly. This trend has caused the demand and availability for various types of kosher food to grow speedily in the past several decades. This growth is expected to continue to rise over the next decade and beyond.

The global kosher food market is expected to reach a market size of $28.85 billion by 2028, and project a CAGR of 4.16% during the forecast period, 2019-2028. The base year considered for the market study is 2018, and the forecast period is between 2019 and 2028.

Key factors fuelling the global kosher food market growth: High prevalence of lactose intolerance, the demand for kosher food products among non-Jewish consumers, and an increase in the number of health-conscious consumers.

Rabbi Jason Miller of Kosher Michigan Kosher Certification Agency

 

In the 1990s, only 18 kosher certification agencies were functional across the world. With the expansion of the global kosher certification industry, the current number is estimated to be over 1,600 kosher certification agencies led by rabbis. Of this number, approximately 600 are found in the United States. Of the 600 kosher certification agencies in the U.S., the vast majority are run by Orthodox rabbis. Since the mid-2000s, a small number of U.S.-based kosher certification agencies have been started by non-Orthodox rabbis, including Rabbi Jason Miller of Michigan, the founder and kosher director of Kosher Michigan — KM Kosher Certification Agency, based in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Rabbi Miller’s kosher organization now boasts hundreds of clients around North America plus dozens more in India. While Miller faced much pessimism when he launched KM back in 2008, he was determined to grow his kosher agency, which is now the largest non-Orthodox kosher certification agency in the world.

What has fueled the growth in the kosher market?

This growth is primarily attributed to customer demands for allergen-free, clean labels, organic, and vegan foods. As companies are continually adapting to kosher certification, it has become mandatory for raw material suppliers to be kosher certified. This upsurge in demand for kosher food products around the world has renewed prospects for enterprises, including raw material suppliers and kosher food manufacturers.

The consumption of kosher food by non-Jewish consumers is also propelling market growth in the kosher segment. The snacks and savory, bakery, and confectionery product segments, under the product category, are estimated to witness a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the forecast period. Snacks and savory items comprise rolls, wraps, sandwiches, bread, nachos, crackers, chips, gushers, and peanut butter, among several others. Bakery and confectionary products like cookies, pies, pastries, and muffins are usually prepared using flour. The growth of these segments is driven by emerging and new market players, and assorted food items.

The North American region is estimated to be the major contributor to the global market in terms of market share. The United States is second to Israel in terms of Jews and is one of the most lucrative markets for kosher food manufacturers. Therefore, the presence of Jews in the United States and Canada bolsters the kosher food market growth in the North American region. Furthermore, the adoption of kosher food by the non-Jewish community, owing to its benefits, is anticipated to offer potential expansion opportunities for the market players in the region.

The global market is witnessing potential lucrative opportunities, owing to the rising presence of varied kosher food products. The professional culinary sector has emerged as a positive trend, increasing the popularity of kosher food. Chefs are the key cuisine trend drivers. Online shopping is one of the leading distribution channels for kosher food products as a result of consumer behavior, availability, and variety.

Former Boxing Champion Yuri Foreman Gives Kosher Certification to Donut Store

Posted on: December 9th, 2021 by Kosher Michigan

Fom the JTA

Yuri Foreman’s professional peak as a boxer arguably came 11 years ago, when he faced off against Miguel Cotto in a marquee boxing match at Yankee Stadium.

The match, dubbed the “Stadium Slugfest,” was a super welterweight title fight that had been promoted on huge posters at subway stops around the city. Foreman was a world champion who had won his belt the year prior. Cotto was one of the best boxers in the world, and won the fight by technical knockout in the ninth round.

For most boxers, it would have been a tough break. Luckily, Foreman had a backup plan: He was also studying to be an Orthodox rabbi. He was ordained in 2014 but kept training, fighting and teaching self-defense classes. Now, a decade later, he’s putting his ordination to use — with a twist.

Like many rabbis, he’s using his expertise to provide kosher certification to eateries. Unlike most rabbis, however, he’s only going to certify vegan restaurants.

Oh, and he’s also mounting a boxing comeback at age 41.

Yuri Foreman Kosher Certification

 

“People know quite a bit of the ‘sweet science,’ which is boxing because we’ve been punching each other for thousands of years,” Foreman told the New York Jewish Week when asked why he started a vegan kosher agency. “We know way more about the sweet science than the science of food…. It’s horrific, what people do to themselves. Even though we say Jewish law says ‘don’t harm animals,’ we’re harming ourselves every single day.”

Foreman’s journey to veganism was gradual — but now he’s a true believer. He likened it to his experience of becoming Orthodox after growing up in a secular family that immigrated from the Soviet Union. One transformation flowed from the other: learning to keep kosher, he said, taught him to be more selective in what he ate. That led first to vegetarianism and then veganism.

His conversion to veganism was due at least in part to the influence of his wife, Shoshana Foreman, a physician’s assistant who became vegan well over a decade ago while working at a health food store. Her secret, she said, is to ask someone what their favorite childhood dish is, and then make a vegan version of it. For Yuri, whom she married in 2018, she made vegan pelmeni, Russian meat dumplings.

In May of this year, the Foremans established VBR Kosher — which stands for “Vegan Boxing Rabbi” — as a limited liability corporation. Since then, the couple has certified one establishment: Dun-Well Doughnuts in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. The small shop now bears a certificate in the window with Foreman’s signature, certifying that Dun-Well’s offerings are “strictly vegan, kosher and pareve.” Foreman hung the sign after checking the shop’s kitchen at the end of November, ensuring that all of the ingredients — hence all of the food being sold — met the standards of Jewish dietary law.

This week, Foreman helped Dun-Well co-founder Daniel Dunbar hang mezuzahs on its doorposts.

Around noon on a mild fall day, Foreman and Dunbar affixed the small case bearing a scroll to the doorpost of the red-brick building and recited the appropriate blessing word by word. It now hangs somewhat above a bumper sticker reading “LOSERS WEAR FUR TRIM.”

“I like making a product that’s accessible to everybody,” said Dunbar, who is of Jewish descent and identifies as secular. “We get asked a lot, ‘Are any of your donuts vegan?’ and when we tell them they’re all vegan, they’re very excited. Now I get to do that with people that are seeking kosher options and it’s really nice to be able to say, ‘Yes, you can have anything in this shop.’”

Dun-Well may be the first vegan establishment certified kosher by the Foremans, but they hope it won’t be their last. After all, vegan dining is on the rise in New York City; according to Eater, a string of restaurateurs are opting to go vegetarian or vegan both to save money and shrink their carbon footprint.

The couple hopes to supplement the kosher certification with online content — videos, posts, a podcast — about keeping kosher and being vegan.

“Our goal is to put this content out there for people to see, and to teach by example,” Shoshana Foreman said.

Being vegan is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not popular among the couple’s Jewish friends in their Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Shoshana Foreman said friends were adjusting to their diet, though from time to time they need to decline invitations to meals on Shabbat.

“The short answer is, we stopped being invited,” Foreman joked.

At VBR Kosher, the Foremans are working with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, an Orthodox rabbi who works at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, an LGBTQ synagogue in Manhattan. Moskowitz has decades of experience in kosher supervision and provided certification to Dun-Well several years ago before the certificate lapsed.

Because Dun-Well’s products contain no meat or dairy, kosher supervision is easier there than at many restaurants. But there are still things to look out for, like whether the food colorings and other ingredients are certified kosher. Dunbar said he had to switch out his soy milk to maintain the certification.

Moskowitz and the Foremans understand that some observant Jews may not recognize or trust their independent authority, as opposed to the imprimatur of a large and well-known kosher certifier like the Orthodox Union. But they’re confident that it will make a difference to some people.

“For people who feel that they know the people here involved and they trust them, then each person should do things that make them feel comfortable,” said Moskowitz. “I don’t feel kosher supervision is there to be persuasive. It’s meant to be transparent and educational and give people the opportunity to make informed decisions.”

Avrom Pollak, president of Star-K, a large kosher agency based in Baltimore, said that because the kosher certification can be so complex, a lot of kosher eaters may be hesitant to trust a new certification.

“A lot of the kosher consumers are very discerning,” he said. “They want to know who stands behind that certification and they want to know if a problem does arise, are they going to deal with it in an honest and forthright manner?”

For now, Foreman considers VBR Kosher something of a passion project and isn’t charging for the service. In any case, it’s not his main gig. These days, he wakes up at 5 o’clock every morning to run eight miles or lifts weights. He trains at a boxing gym in Sunset Park. He said he wants to get back in the ring because he feels good and doesn’t want to regret passing up an opportunity. And at a time when antisemitism is rising in New York, he added, he wants to show that Jews can be tough.

“I don’t want to be years ahead [and] be disappointed that I stopped doing this because a lot of people told me I’m old,” he said. “And partially, being a Jew, we need an image of Jews being descendants of freaking warriors, kings, priests. But we are definitely not a weak people.”

Foreman’s dual career does present a bit of a contradiction. How does he reconcile the violence of boxing with the rabbinic teachings that drew him to a peaceable vegan diet?

Shoshana Foreman  — who is also her husband’s boxing manager — pointed out that, in boxing, both fighters have consented to the potential bloodshed, which isn’t the case with animals at a slaughterhouse.

Plus, Foreman said that he’s an old hand at separating his work in the ring from his life outside of it. “I’m wearing two personalities,” he said. “In boxing, I have to be a different person. I cannot be a husband in the ring, right? Or a father in the ring. Otherwise, I’m gonna get beat up completely. So I have to be that person who is about to punch someone in the face.”

Kosher Food Industry Set to Expand Greatly

Posted on: November 12th, 2021 by Kosher Michigan

Kosher Foods Market to See a Big Increase in 2023 and Beyond

“There’s no question that the kosher food industry has already grown significantly and is on a path toward historic expansion,” said Rabbi Jason Miller, a Conservative rabbi and the founder of Kosher Michigan. Kosher Michigan is a kosher certification agency based in Rabbi Miller’s hometown of Metro Detroit, Michigan. Launched in 2008, Kosher Michigan (KM) has seen immense year-over-year growth in both the number of kosher clients as well as the shear number of food products KM has certified as kosher. An expansion to India and some Far East countries in 2015 has led KM’s advancement in the spice and dry foods industry.

Rabbi Miller, the kosher director of Kosher Michigan Kosher Certification Agency, referenced a recent competitive landscape summary of the “Kosher Foods Market” report that detailed the essence of what is driving the record numbers of growth in the kosher food industry. The report Rabbi Miller referred to evaluates historical data on the kosher foods market growth and compares it with current market situations.

Rabbi Jason Miller of Kosher Michigan Kosher Certification Agency

 

Further information about the Kosher Food Industry report also focuses on market share, the highest growth rate of emerging players, business strategies, production, and prospects. The report provides data to the customers that are of historical & statistical significance informative. It helps to enable readers to have a detailed analysis of the development of the market.

The Kosher Foods market report provides a detailed analysis of the major market players with the overall market overview of their business, recent developments, expansion plans, gross margin, profit status, and strategies. Additionally, this report includes the current market opportunity of the market. The research report contains development restraints and challenges faced which can control the market growth and risk. The company profile discovers a business overview and financial information include economic growth and recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kosher Foods Market Segment and Scope:

The Kosher Foods market report growth depends on product application, type, technology, and region. This report covers a comprehensive outlook on market size, regional sales, growth rate, global opportunities, and manufacturing costs in the respective regions. It provides detailed information on emerging trends, leading competitors based on the technology-oriented innovations to demonstrate the Kosher Foods market growth and portfolio strategies. Each market segmentation allows readers to grasp the difficulties of the current market situations. Our report provides insights into the financial fluctuations of all the major players, along with its product benchmarking and SWOT analysis. The competitive landscape includes development strategies, market share, and market ranking analysis globally.

The global Kosher Foods market report provides a holistic evaluation of the market for the forecast period (2021–2027). The report comprises of various segments as well an analysis of the trends and factors that are playing a substantial role in the market. These factors; the market dynamics, involves the drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges through which the impact of these factors in the market are outlined. An extended view of regional analysis aims to bring readers closer to market opportunities and risks. It also examines the economic scenarios with the impact of Covid-19 analysis is expected to grow the market on a large and small scale.

Geographical Analysis:

The global Kosher Foods Market research report provides compressive data of the current market, geographical regions, and sub-regions are worldwide. This report gives market size estimates and forecasts in different countries. The report focuses on quantitative records with applicable qualitative insights. The report highlights the significant regions are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa, South America.

Some of the key questions answered in this report:

What will the market growth rate, growth momentum or acceleration market carries during the forecast period?
Which are the key factors driving the Kosher Foods market?
What was the size of the emerging Kosher Foods market by value in 2021?
What will be the size of the emerging Kosher Foods market in 2027?
Which region is expected to hold the highest market share in the Kosher Foods market?
What trends, challenges and barriers will impact the development and sizing of the global Kosher Foods market?

Michigan Prisoners’ Attorney Objects to Conservative Kosher Certification Agency

Posted on: March 4th, 2020 by Kosher Michigan

DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Attorney Daniel Manville says an Orthodox agency must provide kosher certification to prison kitchens.

A Conservative rabbi cannot certify Michigan prisoners’ meals as kosher, according to an attorney representing incarcerated Jews who sued the state corrections department.

Two weeks after observant Jewish prisoners in Michigan won the right to eat meat and dairy kosher meals in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan, the plaintiff’s counsel, Daniel Manville, claims the Michigan Department of Corrections is violating the terms of the settlement by contracting with a Conservative-run kosher-certification agency instead of an Orthodox one.

As part of the settlement, MDOC either had to provide prisoners with pre-packaged and wrapped meat or dairy kosher meals or have their kitchens certified as kosher. MDOC decided to certify its kitchens.

“To plaintiffs’ dismay, the defendant has obtained illegitimate kosher certification of its prison kitchens by a Conservative rabbi,” Manville wrote Feb. 25 in a motion to enforce the settlement agreement. Kosher Michigan, which won the MDOC contract, is owned and operated by local Conservative Rabbi Jason Miller.

Prior to the settlement, MDOC provided its kosher-observant prisoners with vegan meals, as well as the option to purchase prepackaged kosher meat and dairy products in the commissaries.

According to Chris Gautz, spokesman for MDOC, the settlement agreement that requires prisoners to be provided with kosher meals does not cover meat and dairy kosher meals. “That issue was litigated by the parties separately,” he said, adding that MDOC offered to arrange loans for prisoners who could not afford to purchase the kosher meals through the commissaries.

“Plaintiffs claimed that making them buy the meat and dairy at the commissary created a substantial burden on their ability to exercise their religion,” Gautz said. “After a trial, the court sided with plaintiffs. MDOC plans to appeal this decision.”

MDOC and Kosher Michigan

According to Gautz, Miller has certified four of MDOC’s kitchens as kosher and notice was given to plaintiffs’ counsel as required. The Michigan Attorney General’s office had learned about Kosher Michigan during the legal proceedings and passed it along as an option for MDOC to contract with.

“After receiving notice, plaintiffs have an opportunity to inspect the kitchens with their own expert. Instead of coming out to inspect the kitchens, plaintiffs’ counsel filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement,” Gautz said.

But Manville argued in the motion that kosher certification from a Conservative rabbi does not comply with the settlement agreement because the plaintiffs are Orthodox Jews.

Manville is asking the court to issue an order that “certification from a Conservative rabbi will not accommodate plaintiffs’ sincere, Orthodox Jewish beliefs and continues to impose a substantial burden on their beliefs.”

Manville argues that the plaintiffs’ Orthodox beliefs rely exclusively on the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) and require a qualified mashgiach tmidi (continuous kosher supervisor) during kosher-sensitive production, rather than the Magen Tzedek protocols established by prominent leaders of Conservative Judaism. Kosher Michigan follows Magen Tzedek in its certification process, according to its website.

Miller objected to Manville’s argument.

“The claim that a non-Orthodox rabbi cannot establish a facility or product as certified kosher is completely unfounded in Jewish law and is used as an unfair business practice to maintain a monopoly in the kosher-certification industry by a handful of established kosher-certification agencies,” Miller told the JN. He declined further comment due to the pending litigation. (Miller is also a JN contributor.)

MDOC maintains it has held up its end of the settlement. “The word ‘Orthodox’ does not appear anywhere in the document and was not negotiated by the parties,” Gautz said.

But Manville said that when he received notice from MDOC that several of its facilities had been certified by Kosher Michigan, the plaintiffs’ expert, an Orthodox rabbi, said it would be futile to inspect a kitchen that had not been certified by an Orthodox rabbi.

What Comes Next?

MDOC has until March 5 to file its response to the motion. Plaintiffs then have five days to reply, after which a hearing will be scheduled, Manville said.

Manville wrote in the motion that he realizes on-site supervision would be a daunting (and expensive) task for Michigan’s prisons. But he believes the problem could easily be solved with pre-packaged kosher meals. He said he’s willing to provide MDOC with a list of potential Orthodox food providers.

“But if [MDOC] insists on certifying its kitchens, it must do so to Orthodox standards,” he wrote.

MDOC has until March 28 to appeal the court’s decision that Jewish prisoners should be provided meat and dairy kosher meals, Manville said.

Flavors of Diaspora – Interview: Rabbi Jason Miller, Kosher Michigan

Posted on: June 28th, 2018 by Kosher Michigan

Interview by Jonathan Katz, Flavors of the Diaspora Blog

Rabbi Jason Miller is the founder and director of Kosher Michigan, the world’s largest non-Orthodox kosher agency. He received his semichah (ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. He and his colleagues supervise the kashrut of food, kitchen products, and ingredients that are produced not only in Michigan and elsewhere in the Midwest, but across North America and even now in India. A number of years ago, he authored a popular article about the Orthodox domination of the kosher system and the “keeping up with the [frum] Joneses” culture around kashrut that it encourages. “Ending Kosher Nostra” is one of the best Jewish food articles I have read, and I strongly urge you to read it.

One of Rabbi Miller’s former students, Dr. Samuel Zerin, put me in touch with Rabbi Miller when I was soliciting stories for my pieces on institutional cooking. Rabbi Miller was very gracious with his time and allowed me to interview him by phone one recent evening. The transcript of the interview, slightly redacted for readability, is here.

A note to readers: there is a lot more Hebrew and Yiddish in this than in past pieces. Though normally I translate words into English, I kept the words here in my notes to preserve the integrity of the interview. I have provided or linked to definitions for all terms.

Katz: Tell us a bit about your background, and how Kosher Michigan got started.

Miller: I was ordained as a Conservative rabbi in 2004 from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. While I was in rabbinical school, I served as a mashgiach in the cafeteria. In the course of rabbinical school, you have classes on hilchot kashrut [laws of keeping kosher], but you don’t learn how to be a mashgiach unless you’re a mashgiach in the cafeteria. At the time, Rabbi Joel Roth was in charge of the hashgacha [kosher certification], and he would lead seminars only for the mashgichim. So that’s where I learned to be a mashgiach.

In 2007, I was hired by one of the largest Jewish camps in the country, Tamarack Camps in Michigan. For many decades, it was under the [kosher] supervision of the Detroit Orthodox va’ad [rabbinical council], which was well known. Around that time, the camp made the decision to no longer be under the supervision of the va’ad, and that a Conservative rabbi would be hired year-round to be the mashgiach for the kitchen, which is the largest kosher kitchen in Michigan. So I was hired, and 50% of my job was to oversee the kitchen. I learned how to handle the hashgacha for a year-round institution – there are camps, events, and programs all year, not just during the summer.

This made news in Michigan, that the va’ad was out and a Conservative rabbi was in. For many people, it was the first time that they heard that a Conservative rabbi could be a mashgiach. The va’ad made a public statement that was in support of Tamarack’s decision, and that they felt I would uphold the standards of kashrut and support them. Besides, the va’ad did not want to continue sending Orthodox mashgichim to this liberal progressive camp.

Many local businesses read this news, and contacted me, saying “we are a bakery, or a bagel store, we want to be kosher, but we met with the va’ad and they said no, or it was too expensive. We read that you did this for Tamarack, can you do it for us?” Initially, I said no, because I didn’t want to get into supervision politics. But people in the community pressured me, because they felt it would be great for the community. So in Summer 2008, I agreed to give certification for a bagel store and a bakery. I kept the price low, and I did not want to do a shakedown. At the last minute, someone asked “what is your hechsher [kosher seal]?” So I got on the computer and made one with a K and an M. It felt too self-serving to make the M “Miller,” so I said it was “Michigan.” And that’s how Kosher Michigan was born.

Katz: Here in New York, the Orthodox va’adot [councils] are very particular about who they support regarding kashrut, and invariably it is other Orthodox rabbis. I find it really interesting, in a good way, that they support you.

Miller: Well the va’ad has not been 100% supportive, because in the past decade we’ve now become a major competitor. But at the time they were supportive because they didn’t want to deal with the camp. It was difficult to find Orthodox mashgichim to go to this progressive Jewish camp, with all this gender mixing, girls in swimwear at the beach – and Camp Tamarack is 45 minutes from Metro Detroit, which has the closest synagogues.

Katz: I have friends who grew up in Orthodox Jewish areas of Southfield, so I’m a bit familiar with gender politics.

Miller: Yes. It was not a comfortable situation for them. So they were not interested in doing more. I would say they knew that a Conservative rabbi would uphold the standards they were used to. That was the promise I made to them and the community, and one I still keep now.

Katz: But that’s still really interesting that it was possible. As you know, in New York, we have a lot of people who have a “frummer (more religious) than thou” attitude to kashrut, where certain hechsherim (kosher seals) are and are not okay, and Conservative kashrut is not “good enough.” I’m personally of the opinion that it’s nonsense – kosher is kosher, despite the politics.

Miller: My own attitude has been similar to yours. I tell people that “I sleep very well at night” when I consider my approach to kashrut. When someone is “frummer than thou,” so frum that they won’t buy a Kosher Michigan-certified bagel, how does it affect me? Why does that person feel the need to say that? The person is most likely not doing that to other rabbis, just as I wouldn’t go to the owners of an Italian restaurant and tell them that I don’t buy Italian food. My response is dignified and respectful: “Thanks for letting me know.”

This, I think, gets to the heart of kishke Judaism. [Emotional Judaism] Why do you have that neurosis that you have to let me know that? I have written about this [in Kosher Nostra]. The same person will go into a non-kosher pizza shop and get a cheese pizza baked in the same oven as the pepperoni pizza, which is a lot more problematic for kashrut. It makes no sense.

Katz: There’s a performance to it.

Miller: People feel the need to say “I need you to know how frum I am.” A funny story from Tamarack: this Reform Jewish woman came up to me and said: “so now you’re in charge. Well congrats, but you should know my daughter is ba’alat teshuva [roughly, “born-again” Orthodox] so she won’t eat at the camp. She’s really frum, and she will only eat glatt pizza.” I responded, “well the cheese on our pizza is smooth!” After all, glatt refers the smoothness of the lungs on a cow – and thus only to the category of red meat.

But I don’t think it’s about people being ignorant, it’s something deeper – a spiritual, psychological meshugaas [nuttiness] that some people have.

Katz: It reminds me of the histrionics you see with adaptations in the liturgy and the crowing about matbe’ah shel tefillah [integrity of the prayer]- for example, people who get upset about adding the imahot/Matriarchs in the Shemoneh Esrei.

Miller: It’s this idea that “if it’s not the Judaism of my grandfathers, it doesn’t feel authentic.”

In ten years, I’ve seen and learned a lot because of my certification agency. And something that I’ve learned to do is to brush off the verbal attacks. The question “can a Conservative rabbi give a hechsher” is on the face of it a silly question. There’s no such thing as a Conservative hechsher, or an Orthodox one. There’s a trustworthy one.

It’s interesting. If someone is giving the certification, well, who is this person? Are they valid? Can they be trusted? Ask yourself these questions, but don’t ask where they went to school! It makes no sense when it comes to ne’emanut [trustworthiness].

Katz: I want to switch gears here to talk about being a mashgiach – what does your typical day look like?

Miller: So the agency has grown to the point now where I’m not actually the main mashgiach anymore – I have hired staff certifying all over the country, paid mashgichim. On a typical day, I’ll stop into several places, and I’ll be on the phone with the mashgichim elsewhere who supervise for my agency. It’s gone from mashgiach to a business of mashgichim.

I also answer a lot of phone calls and emails from business owners who want to become kosher. Sometimes it’s a long-standing business, like a jelly manufacturer seeking to expand outside of Michigan, and the food consultant tells them that becoming kosher will help them market the product better. And then there are the food product startups – the little old lady in Northern Michigan who make fudge and sells it out of her home, and people at church tell her to make it kosher, and she contacts me. And I tell her to go to a production facility – there are wholesale companies, co-packers, doing private label and producing and selling this kind of thing, and the shared facilities are much easier to make kosher.

Katz: I work for a New York City government agency writing information on basic safety and licensing regulations. (This is the non-accessibility part of my job.) A lot of the businesses we work with are food producers, and we’re trying to push them to shared kitchens. It’s very hard to have a home kitchen to the standard New York State requires for food manufacturers. Is it a big thing in Michigan? And how does that affect being a mashgiach?

Miller: Yeah, that’s interesting. In Michigan, back in 2008-2009 when the economy was in really bad shape, Governor Jennifer Granholm made a strong effort to spur more business. She made it much easier for folks to produce food out of home kitchens, but a home kitchen is impossible for me to certify as kosher because then I would need access to their home. So I got them to go to shared kitchens and in relationships with co-packers. There are so many people here in Michigan though doing that sort of thing.

Katz: I imagine, given that you’re in Michigan, that there’s a lot of Michigan-specific things, like jam, candy, and fish.

Miller: Well in Michigan we have some specific challenges – grape jam has its issues, and strawberry jam of course brings up all sorts of questions with inspections. But we’re the cherry capital so a lot of our specific stuff is cherries. More of our business is outside of Michigan though! We have an office in Chicago and a partner in London doing certifications in India –

Katz: India? How did that happen?

Miller: So we spread to India over the past three years, with food manufacturers and lots of different products like spice. It’s not sexy but it’s necessary.

It’s interesting. When Kosher Michigan began, we started off very basic with an Indian vegetarian restaurant, a kosher caterer, bakeries, et cetera. Then as the agency grew, we started certifying other things: meat dinners at Michigan State University at the residence halls, paper mills, chemical producers, so we’ve been moving more and more into that less sexy part of kashrut. There’s a whole industry of kosher certification for chemicals, vitamins, wax paper, and parchment paper – India is part of that.

Katz: It’s more of an exploration of food systems.

Miller: It’s the nitty-gritty of kashrut! No one at JTS taught me that or how to certify, say, a tractor-trailer. When we talk about kelim [food vessels], we don’t usually think of a tractor-trailer, but rather pots, pans, and so on. But if the beans are being hauled in a tractor-trailer that hasn’t been washed, that had pork in it, then that affects it.

Katz: A different sort of kelim.

Miller: Yes. The first time I got a call from a guy who wanted to certify a truck, I thought it was a prank call. But then I got on my computer and did some research. I didn’t realize that washing out a big tanker, so on, turns out to be a big part of the kosher industry. Same with two paper mills in Port Huron, Michigan, when dealing with paper and paraffin wax. So as a rabbi, I’m now wearing protective goggles, earplugs, and a hairnet to check the kashrut of paper in industrial mills – I never thought rabbinical school would lead here.

Katz: this whole thing of food systems and industrial food is interesting to contrast with the standard conversation on ever-frummer kashrut – the strawberries, the lettuce, and so on.

Miller: Yes, it’s interesting. A comment I get often from people is that Conservative rabbis probably wouldn’t be punctilious enough to require lettuce to be washed three times. That’s their way of saying that they’re so frum they go to the extremes to ensure there’s no bugs in their lettuce. What they don’t consider is that no one wants to be eating little, disgusting bugs in their lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and so on. That’s not only not kosher, but it’s gross.

Many thanks to Rabbi Jason Miller for his generosity of time and story-telling. Tizku le-mitzvot!

 

CONTACT DETAIL

KM KOSHER CERTIFICATION AGENCY

5657 W. Maple Road
Suite B
West Bloomfield, MI 48322

Phone: 248.535.7090

Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

 
 

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