LSS is pleased to provide the following resources to help you find the latest information on kashrut. Please note that the links below will take you to sites maintained by parties outside of LSS. LSS is not responsible for the content posted on those sites.
If you have any additional suggestions for links or documents on this page, please send your suggestions to Rabbi Robinson
While we hope to keep this page updated, please send any information about broken links and outdates information to email@example.com
To view a list of kosher symbols, please click here
.Kosher Liquor/Beverages/Dried Fruits
To view commonly requested kosher lists, including Kosher liquor, beverages, and dried fruits, please click here
To view a copy of the most recently published Kosher restaurants in Manhattan please click here
Another source of kosher restaurants globally is available here
Not all Hechsherim are globally accepted by all; please consult with your local Rav with any questions or concerns about any specific HechsherimMiscellaneous Links
What's kosher at Starbucks
In an effort to continue to create a community standard of kashrut, where we can all eat in each other's homes and enjoy each other's hospitality, LSS is enclosing an updated list of the approved labels which signify reliable kashruth supervision. If a product has rabbinic supervision (see below which ones do not need such supervision), you can tell based on a symbol somewhere on the package. My gratitude to Kashruth Magazine for listing every single kashruth label available in America, from which I selected the reliable ones for our community. My gratitude as well to the rabbis with whom I consult (all over America, Canada, Great Britain and Israel) regularly in order to determine which supervisions are reliable. I am confident that any product bought from the enclosed list of labels is unquestionably kosher and adheres to our community's standards of kashruth. Ina ddition please see the list
What makes a supervision unreliable?
There can be several problems, which can make even a great and pious Torah scholar a poor supervisor. First, the supervisor might rely on certain leniencies within the law (or assumptions) which the Orthodox community of today has chosen (based on the halachic process) not to rely on. Sometimes our standards of observance change - we are all, we hope, growing in how we keep mitzvot - over time, and the supervising authority needs to keep up with the accepted halacha of today, not just what was deemed OK many years ago. Unfortunately, some supervisions have not. Other issues can be that the supervisor is not careful enough on the lines that he is in charge of - not purposely giving hashgacha to a non-kosher product, but, again, not meeting the standards we have come to expect. Some supervisors have apparent attitude problems - they may be too clever for their own good - which seem to prevent them from correcting errors which by nature occur in the kashruth industry, but which demand attention and are immediately addressed by a more reliable organization. Even fancy titles such as "Chief Rabbinate of …" do not ensure reliable supervision. Rather, personal integrity and hard, careful work are what makes a supervision reliable.
What about labels which are not on the list?
There are some labels that are not on the list, but which are still fully reliable. If you come across one of these labels and have any questions, please feel free to give me a call or e-mail me. Usually they are fine. There are some labels, which are not on the list, that require a case-by-case analysis: Some of the products under their supervision are reliable, others are not.
Products from Israel
Products from Israel, under rabbinical supervision, are reliable. However, you must make sure that the product does not contain gelatin (even "kosher" gelatin). The rabbinate in Israel accepts a different standard regarding gelatin than we do in America. If you live in Israel you should feel free to follow their ruling. But in Houston , we need to follow the standards that the Orthodox community has accepted here in the Diaspora. Currently that standard is to allow no gelatin at all from animals. The only gelatin-type product which is acceptable is Kolatin, which is fish gelatin. All the labels on this list will use only kosher gelatin. At Passover time, especially, beware of marshmallows or any chewy candies from Israel, which might have gelatin in them.
The good Half Moon K's
All Half Moon K's are now acceptable.
Cheese and dairy products
Please remember that all cheeses and cheese-based products need reliable supervision, even cheese which is 100% vegetarian. Sometimes, you may be surprised to find products with cheese in them or grape juice which are under reliable supervision, and even though they are not a "Jewish" company, they are perfectly acceptable. Creams can be made with whey that is halachically considered cheese and may contain stabilizers which are not kosher. So even if they have no extra ingredients listed, fresh creams, half-and-half and even milk and Lactaid should all have supervision. However, since the possibility of non-kosher ingredients in these wholly natural cow products is remote, you can rely on any supervision (except for a plain k) for these products. Butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, and yogurt, however, all need reliable supervision. Creamers with additives and flavorings also need reliable supervision. If you want to be strict about the law of "Chalav Yisra'el" (milk watched by Jews), you need to buy milk which specifically says "Chalav Yisra'el".
Wine, grape juice and any product with grape juice or grape flavoring, including unspecified "fruit juices", need to be reliably certified as kosher. Fresh whole grapes are kosher. Even if a wine is certified kosher, it may not be appropriate for your dinner table - especially in our community. That is because, since our community is so open and diverse, frequently we will have around our shabbat tables beloved people who are gentile or who have not yet fully converted to Judaism or who may have converted with non-halachic conversions. In such a case, only wine that is MEVUSHAL (flash heated or pasteurized) may be served. Almost all American kosher wine is Mevushal (Kedem, Baron Herzog, Weinstock - except when noted), but many of the Israeli wines (especially Galil, Golan and Yarden ) are not. In order to make your table as inclusive and comfortable as possible for all people, please look for the word MEVUSHAL on the back label of the kosher wine you buy (sometimes it is in Hebrew).
Best's Kosher and Hebrew National
Hebrew National meats and other meat under the supervision of the Triangle K, such as sold in Trader Joe’s do not meet community standards
Except for grape juice, which always needs reliable supervision, other fruit juices which are 100% pure - orange, apple, pineapple, grapefruit, etc. - with no added natural or artificial flavorings or added "fruit juice" listed in the ingredients, do not need supervision. However, if possible I would recommend finding juices with supervision. There is some debate about this among the supervising authorities; however, the Star- K, a fully reliable supervision under the halachic administration of Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, has ruled that these 100% pure juices do not need supervision. Tomato juice always needs reliable supervision.
Hawaiian Punch of ALL VARIETIES is kosher even without any kashruth label, except that boxes of Hawaiian Punch, powder or one-gallon bottles are NOT RELIABLY KOSHER.
Please be careful to look for supervision on any juices that have added fruit flavorings in them (all tomato juices and grape juices need supervision). Most pops are kosher, including Coca Cola products, Pepsi products, Crush (except for cherry flavor), Dr. Pepper, 7-Up (including cherry), and RC Cola. Feel free to call the synagogue office for a complete list provided by the Chicago Rabbinical Council, or contact their website directly: CRCweb.org under "kosher lists". Despite some controversy, all whiskies and unflavored spirits (vodka, gin, Scotch, bourbon, etc.) which are not grape derived are kosher. I rely on Rav Moshe Feinstein and the London Beth Din for this ruling. Unflavored beers do not require supervision. New Zealand beers may be dairy. Liqueurs require reliable supervision except for Amaretto Disaronno, and Peter Cherry Herring, which are both kosher without a kosher sign.
The plain K
Merely having the letter "k" on a product does not mean it is kosher. On the other hand, there are products that bear a "k" which really stands for a reliable supervision. The best example of this is Kellogg's cereal (and other products). KD means that they are dairy. Kellogg's with a "k" are under the supervision of the Va'ad Harabanim of Massachusetts. Please note that some of Kellogg's cereals are not kosher and do not bear any "k". Other notable examples of a reliable "k" are Tabasco sauce and Starbuck's Frappacino with a "k" - both under reliable supervisions. Otherwise, you simply have to be "in the know" to know which "k"s you can rely on and which you cannot.
It is acceptable to buy the fish from a regular store as long as the following conditions are met:
- Make sure the fish is a kosher fish.
- Make sure you can identify this fish 100% as kosher either by seeing its scales or because it is red or pink in color.
- Ask that the fish be cut on a new piece of paper.
- If you cannot have them use a knife that you bring, try to have them wash off their knife before they cut your fish. In any case, make sure you wash the fish thoroughly when you get home. Since nothing hot touched the fish, washing them off will clean off anything treif that might have touched them.
If possible, when you return home, you should gently scrape the cut part of the fish with a knife.
All frozen vegetables are acceptable, EVEN WHEN THEY DO NOT BEAR ANY CERTIFICATION, with the exception of: Brussels Sprouts, Artichokes and Asparagus.
Frozen Broccoli is acceptable as long as IT IS NOT FROM MEXICO.
Canned FRUIT, do not need any supervision (except on Passover) as long as the only added ingredients are salt, sugar, corn syrup or water. The one exception is canned fruit that comes from China (for example, Mandarin oranges): They need reliable supervision.
Cut-up fresh fruit in a supermarket is fine without any supervision.
Lettuce needs to be washed.
The following is the procedure for cleaning Romaine lettuce:
- Separate Leaves
- Soak in Water
- Make a complete, leaf by leaf inspection
- Wash off any insects
- Leafy vegetables may now be used.
Bagged lettuce of any kind, which comes with a reliable supervision, does not need to be washed. Most spices, whole or ground, do not require kashrut supervision. Please see the Chicago Rabbinical Council's website, CRCweb.org, for a complete list.
Please see me, call me or e-mail me if you have any questions.
These standards are designed to unite our community — to enable us to feel comfortable in any house we go to. The detailed laws of kashruth are meant to be a celebration of the holiness inherent in our meals. If we all work together to keep to these standards, everyone will feel comfortable in our community, and no one will be judging anyone else's standards because we will all be equal in that regard. We sing, when we put the Torah away, "d'racheha darchei no'am" — Torah takes us in the most pleasant way. Let us together continue to create a community whose standards reflect the pleasantness we each have within us and which the Torah wants us to bring to our tables and homes.
Rabbi Shaul Robinson
I am grateful to Rabbi Usher Lopatin for allowing me to use his kashrus letter for the LSs community. Certain changes have been made to reflect the standards of the LSS community.