(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tzohar, an organization of National Religious rabbis, has joined with Emunah, a National Religious movement for women, in providing a course for women to be trained as kashrut supervisors.
This latest step by Tzohar into the world of kashrut would appear to be a further indication of its intent to set up its own kashrut authority, as it has stated it is seriously considering.
The course will be comprised of two stages, totaling 40 hours of study over seven weeks.
The first part of the course will provide the fundamentals of kashrut supervision in order for the participant to work confidently as a kashrut supervisor, including tasks such as koshering meat, checking for insects in food, as well as imparting an understanding of food technology and production.
The second half of the course will include a more in-depth look at kashrut laws and requirements.
Emunah has run a course to train female kashrut advisers in the past, but says that the collaboration with Tzohar will allow them to reduce the cost of the course and broaden its appeal to a wider audience.
At the end of the course, the participants will be able to take the Chief Rabbinate’s kashrut supervisor exam and theoretically supervise in restaurants and businesses that use the rabbinate’s kashrut supervision.
The Chief Rabbinate was initially opposed to the idea of allowing women to serve as kashrut supervisors, so Emunah petitioned to the High Court of Justice, which ruled in 2013 that the field must be opened up to women.
Emunah then launched a course which 12 women took part in, all of whom passed the chief rabbinate’s exam.
However, the Chief Rabbinate and the Religious Services Ministry were not eager to integrate these women into the kashrut supervision system, and only a few are currently working in the field.
Emunah attorney Tzipporet Schimmel says that the organization is currently working on different strategies to enable more women to be able to obtain employment as kashrut supervisors, including promoting more women to seek positions in local religious councils which control religious services in municipal and regional authorities.
Following the announcement of the joint course with Tzohar, Emunah Chairwoman Liora Minke said that nothing was more natural than integrating women into the kashrut system, and said it was highly surprising that it has not happened until now.
“This is a professional course, even groundbreaking, but in no ways breaks the boundaries of Jewish law,” said Minke, while expressing dissatisfaction with the attitude of the Chief Rabbinate to the integration of women into the field until now.
Said Tzohar Chairman Rabbi David Stav: “We believe, in Tzohar, that it is a positive step to integrate women into the kashrut system who will be able to do the job excellently.”
He added that Tzohar is now “in the advanced stages of examining the feasibility of establishing a kashrut system of our organization.”