“Ask the Rabbi” column, reprinted with permission of Texas Jewish Post.
By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried, DATA Rosh Kollel
Dear Rabbi Fried, Because of recent events in the community, many have been wondering what exactly is “Dallas Kosher or Dallas Kashrus” and what is its role and authority. Could you please shed some light on this?
We, the Dallas Jewish community, need to be very proud to be the home of an organization like Dallas Kosher. We often take the fact that we benefit from so many local kosher establishments without realizing or recognizing that Dallas Kosher is the unsung hero of the luxury we enjoy.
Dallas Kosher, known by its symbol the “DK”, is the longest-running kosher certification in the Southwest, being founded over 50 years ago. It is highly regarded; the DK symbol is recognized throughout the world as a reliable symbol of the highest standards of kashrus observance. Besides providing certification for numerous local supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and caterers, the DK also offers its oversight to over 70 commercial manufacturing facilities.
Dallas Kosher is lead by Rabbis Sholey Klein and David Shawel, both highly regarded experts in the field of Kashrus. They have innovated systems in the local Tom Thumb branches which have been copied my major national kashrus organizations.
Thanks to these innovations, we are afforded the rare opportunity to purchase many items, such as from their kosher certified bakeries, at non-kosher prices! They have enabled a number of boutique establishments to tweak their products and operations to become kosher and offer a kaleidoscope of eating opportunities to the Metroplex kosher consumer.
We should not, at all, take for granted what these rabbis and their hard-working staff of “mashgichim”, kashrus observers, do to ensure the integrity of the kashrus of these establishments. Together with DK’s dedicated lay and professional leadership, these rabbis work mightily to attain and retain their small army of mashgichim, providing them with guidance and support, to continue to perform their sometimes difficult and mostly thankless jobs. It is only the deep appreciation and dedication to the importance of kashrus, coupled with their love and caring for the Jewish community, which gives them the strength to march on and continue with their crucial and holy work.
DK’s enthusiastic and committed president, Mrs. Jeri Finkelstein, has made the DK her life for decades. Over thirty years ago she held high-level meetings with leaders of many Jewish organizations, impressing upon them the importance of providing food at their events which would satisfy the highest common denominator of our community. For this reason, Dallas is an example to many other communities throughout the US that all major Jewish organizations hold their events under the DK, allowing the most scrupulous kashrus observer to join with Jews of all stripes for events which affect our community. The Kosher Chili Cookoff is a beacon of light of togetherness, renowned throughout the country.
This is also why the DK is accepted and supported by all facets of orthodoxy in our city, who all join together in supporting and relying upon the DK. This is an achdus – a level of unity – that Dallas enjoys which is the envy of many cities throughout the country and even the world.
We should truly be proud of and extend a profound debt of gratitude to our esteemed local DK!
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