They came from L.A. and Irvine, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and White Oak, Brooklyn and Great Neck, as well as from Baltimore, Brighton, Chicago, Lakewood, Providence, and as far away as Madison, Wisconsin.
The 26 participants of STAR-K’s sixth annual Kashrus Training Seminar, included rabbonim, kollel fellows, and others serving in klei kodesh who have studied Yorah Deah. The intensive seminar featured lectures by Star-K’s rabbinic staff members, including its Rabbinic Administrator, HaRav Moshe Heinemann, and its President, Dr. Avrom Pollak.
HaRav Heinemann spoke of the intricacies of bishul akum, in a shiur entitled, “Bishul Akum and Ne’emanus of an Akum”. Dr. Pollak discussed practical guidelines for setting up a local vaad hakashrus and gave advice for decisions one faces in doing so, in his lecture, “A Certifying Agency’s Administrative Issues”.
In addition to explaining the various segments of the kashrus industry, sessions covered everything from consumer shaylos to the halachic issues concerning appliances. HaRav Mordechai Frankel, director of STAR-K’s Institute of Halachah, discussed the shaila, “Kosher Accountability: Who Does Teshuva When a Product is Mislabeled?”
Star-K produced audio-visual presentations about chicken shechita/shaylos, nikur, and insect recognition, a hands-on practicum for vegetable checking, and field trips to a slaughterhouse, juice manufacturing plant, restaurant, bakery, and the kosher kitchen of the Hyatt Regency, rounded out the seminar experience.
As Rabbi Zvi Goldberg, Star-K Kashrus Administrator, and coordinator of the seminar says, the success of this year’s program was best summed up in a letter he received by a participant from Yeshivas Ner Yisroel in Baltimore:
Dear Rabbi Goldberg and Star-K,
Having just completed your Kashrus Training Program, I wanted to offer you my sincere thank you. The program was most informative and I gained immeasurably from it. You have shed new light and appreciation on the tremendous effort put in to ensure that the public will have authentic Kosher food. I will never look at a Kosher product the same way! You have inspired me and whet my appetite to study the many topics and Halachos further.
I was so impressed by your staff. They were knowledgeable, friendly and most eager to share their time and advice with us. I would highly recommend this program for anyone who wishes to get a true and clear “taste” of Kashrus.
Your excitement and enthusiasm in what you do was very refreshing for me to behold. You staff cares so much and we all saw how dedicated each person is in ensuring that their department is being run to its best.
I would like to commend you on one thing specifically that I noticed. This lesson was more powerful to me than all of the classes and field trips combined. I heard from your lecturers about the importance of communication and cooperation between the staff and even between the different Kashrus agencies. I learned from you the importance of being courteous, respectful and professional. I saw that this outlook which you preached was so beautifully practiced by you as well! I noticed how well you all interacted together. The amount of love and respect between every staff member was palpable. I saw that your organization is one of dedicated men and women involved in the communal needs, with the most noble of intentions.
You taught us about guarding and protecting every company’s proprietary secrets. I must admit that I figured out your own secret to success! The most impressive part is that you are happy to share this information with everyone! Your secret to success is that you all work together and have an atmosphere of respect and cooperation.
During each class given, I noticed how the other lecturers attended to hear their colleagues speak! They listened with an interest and thirst. This is a most impressive fact. The Star-K has no ego, only one unified goal, to serve and educate the public.
May Hashem bless each one of you and your families with only health and success. May your programs continue to expand and to change the face of Kashrus throughout the world.
I am humbled and inspired from what you have taught me and I truly hope to keep in touch with you, in order that I will be able to continue to learn from your expertise and most practical advice.
With much gratitude,
(Margie Pensak Star K / YWN Desk)