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January 2018
Mashgiach of the Year
January 2018
Plus: Empire, Chocolate, Braekel, Ferrara Pan, Slurpees, The New Fishing, Elite, Culinary Courses, 5 Rules for Happiness, Worcestershire Sauces

The Truth About Our Chickens -

Who hasn�t heard about �The Great Braekel Debate� taking place in Israel right now? The problem isn�t really so much about Braekel chickens as it is about all chicken. It has come to a point that some very serious Jews have completely stopped eating any chicken because the halachic challenge to the Braekel revealed the limitation of our knowledge of exactly which chickens have a clear tradition of being kosher.

What Makes a Chicken Kosher?
You see, the Torah did not provide kosher signs for birds the way it did for meat (split hoofs, chews its cud), nor does it list the kosher birds. Instead, the Torah lists the non-kosher birds only. Over the years the rabbonim have provided us with signs of the kosher and non-kosher birds, but principally we work with tradition � which birds are known to be kosher. That knowledge is transmitted down from generation to generation.
There are hundreds of chicken breeds�in existence. Domesticated for thousands of years, distinguishable breeds of chicken have always been present. The problem is that some time ago � perhaps over 100 years � farmers started to create hybrid chickens. Obviously, this was done in an attempt to get the best qualities of various varieties into one chicken and then breed that new variety and reap the benefits.
The problem is that not all varieties of chickens have been accepted through proof of a tradition (mesorah). So, when the breeds were mixed, the resultant bird was not the original bird, even though it looked like it.

Enter the Braekel
Because of this issue, three years ago, an effort was made to bring to Israel a �heritage� bird, one that went way back in history. They chose the Braekel, a bird that has been known to exist since 1416 and which was very popular in Belgium. It is principally used as an egg layer. The problem was that the rabbis in Israel challenge this bird�s kosher status because they don�t feel that there is a mesorah among us that the Braekel is a kosher bird.
Yes, the Braekel is a well established breed in the world, but is it kosher? Not only are the rabbis split on this, there is testimony by older shochtim that the Braekel is one of the chickens that they remember shechting many decades ago. Yet, in those days there was no industrial slaughter. A person bought a bird from an Arab replique hublot and brought it to the shochet to shecht. He ate what the Arab raised. Yet that does mean that Jews in Israel, according to these shochtim, ate that bird and that they remember it. But was that bird our Braekel of today?

Two Important Facts about the Braekel
1. There are two distinct types of Braekel that were recognized in the past: the large type living on rich clay soil called the Flanders, and a light-weight type from the less fertile region, the Kempen. Due to crossbreeding between the different types, this distinction vanished, resulting in a single type. In the UK, USA and Australia, one can still find descendants of the Kempen Braekel under its old name Campine. The Campine has evolved differently from the Braekel. The most noticeable difference is the hen-feathering of the rooster and the lower weight. Old names for the breed are �The Everyday Layer,� �The Grey White Neck� and �The Nuns Hen.� So there you have it. Which is the 1416 Braekel? No one can tell you.

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Rabbi Yisroel Gildin, Passaic, NJ
Mashgiach Of The Year 2017 -

I am an ambassador to the world for the kosher community and for observant Jewry, Rabbi Yisroel Gildin, our Mashgiach of the Year, told me.
Technical know-how is not enough. I constantly need siyata dishmaya, divine help from above. Each day I have to review 50 to 100 new formulas, supervise kosher in a plant the size of a football field, satisfy a myriad of people with demanding requests, and relate to companies and kashrus agencies around the world, but, there is nothing like it. I am never bored.
There is so much to learn. The industry is constantly evolving, with new methods, new equipment and new techniques. Its challenging, but I am very passionate about my work.
For 18 years now Rabbi Yisroel Gildin has served as the on-site mashgiach for Givaudan, probably the largest flavor company in the U.S. Givaudan has some eight facilities (located in New Jersey, Illinois, Kentucky, Florida, and Ohio). From his office in the East Hanover, NJ location, Rabbi Gildin reviews many of the formulas used at all the other Givaudan locations.
My interest in the field of kashrus actually began when I was first introduced to KASHRUS Magazine, over 25 years ago. It encouraged me to go for semicha, and then to enter the field of kashrus, eventually pursuing my career in flavors and ingredients at Givaudan for the KOF-K.'
After receiving semicha, Rabbi Gildin worked as kashrus coordinator for the Vaad of Buffalo and then for the Vaad of Cleveland. During that time, he undertook to learn nikur (deveining) and supervised many of the butcher shops. He also developed an expertise in the dairy industry through visiting many facilities for the OU and the KOF-K located in the Western New York area.
In 1998, Rabbi Gildin joined the KOF-K as a Rabbinic Field Representative, visiting numerous companies in the tri-state New York area, as well as in Canada. For a time, Rabbi Gildin worked at the main office of the KOF-K. When the KOF-K offered him the position at Givaudan, he seized the opportunity.

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Ner Echad: Women Around the World Connecting Through Shabbos Candles
by Miriam Malowitzky -

Every Friday evening before the sun goes down, I and other Jewish women from around the world kindle the Shabbos candles. As a single woman living in an anonymous apartment in Brooklyn, NY, this can be an isolating experience. Alone with my thoughts and prayers, I think of my loved ones as I usher in another Shabbos by myself.
Fortunately, this feeling of solitude when lighting candles changed when I discovered Ner Echad, a unique organization that unites thousands of Jewish women through prayer and charity.

The Start
This movement evolved as a result of a void that was left with the passing of Rebbetzin Kanievsky, ztl. Unbeknownst to anyone, while the Rebbetzin was alive, she was distributing money to poor widows and orphans. Because this was not an official charity organization, when she passed away, the dispensing of the funds came to a halt.
With the urging of Rav Chaim Kanievsky, a formal charity, known in Israel as Moreshet Batsheva, and in America, as Batsheva Kanievsky Widow and Children Fund, was established.
Ner Echad looks to Rebbetzin Kanievsky as a role model for uniting women as well as helping the needy. Therefore, following her illustrious example, Ner Echad serves as a unity movement in which women participate in unified candle lighting, praying for one another and giving charity as one entity.

How It Is Done
When a woman becomes a member of this unique group, she commits to donating a dollar every week (which is an automated deduction) to the Batsheva Kanievsky Widow and Children Fund. In addition, every Friday, via texting and email, she is given a name of another woman for whom to pray while she lights the Shabbos candles.
In this way, women from around the world are joined together through prayer and charity. Although each person is donating a mere dollar, all of the money is sent together, so women have the merit of being part of a massive donation every week, highlighting the power of each individual.

Why I Joined
As might also be the case for many women, through joining Ner Echad, my experience lighting Shabbos candles has taken on new life and new meaning. I now feel bonded to Jewish women around the world who share in this uniquely female mitzvah.
When I light my candles, I feel part of a larger womens movement as well as a special tie to the individual person for whom I am praying. At the same time, I am strengthened with the knowledge that someone is praying for me when she kindles her Shabbos candles. Ner Echad provides women with a platform to assert their key role in Judaism without compromising on its authenticity.

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