Kosher in Israel? App for that


JERUSALEM — The Tzohar Rabbinical Organization is launching a new kashrut supervision authority, which will put it in competition with Israel’s Chief Rabbinate.

“This program is intended to create competition in a sector where until now there existed a monopoly,” said Rabbi Rafi Feuerstein, Tzohar founder. “This will not replace the current structure, but rather improve it.”

Rabbi Feuerstein’s organization is known for helping Israelis navigate the country’s marriage bureaucracy, which is tightly controlled by the haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate. 

Tzohar will call its new service “Food Supervision,” since Israeli law prohibits any supervising entities other than the Rabbinate from using the word “kosher” in their certifying materials. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled last year, however, that though restaurants with independent kashrut supervision cannot use the word kashrut or kosher on their signs or supervision certificates, they can tell those who ask where it purchases its foodstuff, how it is prepared and under whose auspices they are supervised.

The supervisors in the Tzohar program will be women who recently underwent a training course in kashrut conducted by Tzohar and Emunah Women, a religious Zionist organization. A mobile-based app developed by Israeli company EyeDo will use GPS technology to “monitor updates from the supervisors and promote transparency and accuracy in their reporting,” Tzohar said. —JTA