Rabbi Wikler’s “Kashrus on the Air” Program Popular in Brooklyn


yosef-wiklerThree weeks before Pesach, Kashrus Magazine launched “Kashrus On The Air” on Radio Hidabroot which broadcasts on 97.5 FM from the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. The show’s host is Rabbi Yosef Wikler, editor of KASHRUS Magazine. Each weekly show is dedicated to one theme and most shows feature interviews with kashrus personalities. The public is invited to ask questions during the program.

While reception is limited to Brooklyn, KASHRUS readers can reach the station via the internet at radiohidabroot.com. You can listen live or listen at your convenience by going to the archives. Press “Recorded”, Press “KASHRUS On The Air” and choose the date of the show you wish to hear. To make it easier, we are listing the shows by date below. You can also listen live on your phone by calling 712-432-4217. And give us your feedback atkashrus@aol.com.

The first three programs of “KASHRUS On The Air” were dedicated to preparing for Pesach. On the very first show, March 19, Rabbi Wikler discussed with callers how to prepare the house for Pesach – just what needs cleaning and checking and what does not – and koshering the kitchen. The feedback was extraordinary, and the show was launched.

On March 26, “KASHRUS On The Air” featured foods and pharmaceuticals for Pesach with its first guest, Rabbi Nachum Rabinowitz, Rabbinical Coordinator at the “OU” and the man who edited the “OU” Passover Guide.

On April 9, the program was dedicated to insects in vegetables and especially romaine lettuce. Our guest was Rabbi Dovid Goldstein, the head of the Kosher Lab at Pos’tiv Produce and the man who supervises the mashgichim and the production of the Pos’tiv vegetables. As it was so close to Pesach, Rabbi Goldstein was our guest long distance from the Pos’tiv plant. He was staying over in Allentown, PA where Pos’tiv has its plant in order to complete the necessary production for Pesach.

After Pesach, we began to interview the various rabbonim who certify products in Brooklyn. Our first Rav Hamachshir guest, on April 16, was Rabbi Yisroel P. Gornish who has been giving certification for over 30 years in Flatbush and beyond. Rabbi Gornish is very knowledgeable about shechita and meat, and so some of the conversation was about those issues.

Rabbi Gornish mentioned two matters that he hoped that the local rabbonim involved in kashrus would work on together. One was what is already in place in Flatbush, as the pledge has been signed by 19, that rabbonim machshirim will not give certification to an establishment which has been dropped by another hashgacha for kashrus violations. The second matter, one he hopes will be addressed by the local rabbonim, is maintaining fair salaries formashgichim.

On April 23, Rabbi Meir Goldberg, Kashrus Administrator of the Vaad Hakashrus of Flatbush (formerly the Vaad Harabonim of Flatbush), was our guest. Rabbi Goldberg discussed his personal approach to hashgacha, something Rabbi Yosef Wikler kibitzed that it should be called “one strike and you’re out.” Rabbi Goldberg’s policy is a strict one, but no well-meaning entrepreneur need fear.

Rabbi Goldberg discussed a difference between what people call “Shomer Shabbos” and what he terms “Shomer Torah Umitzvos.” They mean two very different things. One can close his business and be called a “Shomer Shabbos,” but a “Shomer Torah Umitzvos” means that a person fully practices Torah Judaism. Such a man, he said, can be trusted to supervise the store, even if he is not a mashgiach. A mashgiach, said Rabbi Goldberg, needs to be used forkashrus matters, such as checking vegetables for insects, but a “Shomer Torah Umitzvos” being on the premises can be a safeguard for errors or mix-ups.

On April 30, Rabbi Avrum Kallus, a former senior inspector for the Kosher Law Enforcement Bureau of New York State, joined “KASHRUS On The Air”. Rabbi Kallus told listeners how he was involved in quarantining the non-kosher chickens that were being sold in Monsey several years ago.

He explained to listeners just what the frum world is missing now that New York State’s Kosher Law Enforcement Bureau has been reduced from eleven members to the one remaining person, Rabbi Luzer Weiss, who works without even a secretary, attempting to do the work that the entire staff had once done.

The Bureau had responded to requests from the various kashrus agencies to quarantine product that was misbranded, bearing an unauthorized use of their symbol. They had visited our restaurants, caterers and yeshivos. All that basically ended when the state opted to cut out funding for all staff except for Rabbi Weiss.

Rabbi Wikler suggested that now all kosher consumers should recommend to the kashrus agencies that, when a product has been found to bear an unauthorized symbol or has been mislabeled as pareve/dairy/meat etc., the kashrus agency involved should issue a letter which they will request the manufacturer to send to every distributor and every distributor to every merchant selling the product. That letter should be posted in each store in which the product had been sold. This would help all kosher consumers.

On May 7, Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Rabbinic Administrator of the Kashrus Information Center (KIC) of Flatbush, appeared. The KIC visits establishments in Greater Flatbush: restaurants, caterers and bakeries. They ascertain the standards in effect, make recommendations to the rabbonim machshirim, the mashgichim and the store owners and report back to the member rabbonim, of which there are nearly 100. Rabbi Weiner discussed kashrus standards in Flatbush, and recommended that consumers ask three specific questions to ascertain, on some level, the commitment of the owner or mashgiach. Anyone interested in joining or helping the KIC in its work is urged to call Rabbi Weiner at 917-562-2712.

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}