How HKC is Different From Other Kashrut Organizations
By Rabbi Yitzchok Adler, Rabbinic Administrator
Though the Kashrut Commission of Greater Hartford (HKC) has functioned as a community agency for many years, its accomplishments far exceed what is usually expected of a local service provider. Today, not only does the HKC maintain supervision over a growing number of local food establishments, its designated agents also represent the most prestigious kashrut organizations in the country, and the HKC is respected nationally. The Orthodox Union (OU), Kosher Supervision Service (Kof-K), Organized Kashrut
Laboratories (OK) and others rely on HKC staff to provide supervision and oversight at the clients' plants in the greater Hartford area.
This relationship between the HKC and the primary national kashrut agencies should be a source of pride to every reader of this newsletter. That the HKC achieved this status is a tribute to the rabbinic administrators who preceded me in this position. How the HKC achieved this status is a result of the standards and protocols under which it operates. Without delving into burdensome detail, I would like to briefly explain why this "vaad" is different from many others
HKC standard operating procedures include the following guidelines:
- The HKC considers the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) to be its text of reference.
- A mashgiach temidi (permanent on-site supervisor) is always present for the handling and preparation of meats and poultry at all HKC-endorsed meat butcheries and restaurants.
- A mashgiach temidi is assigned to the preparation kitchens of every caterer under HKC supervision, and an HKC mashgiach is accountable for the kashrut at every HKC-supervised catered event.
- All HKC-endorsed bakeries are inspected several times a week, some even daily.
- Anyone - man or woman - serving as a mashgiach for the HKC must be personally committed to a life of mitzvah observance, acts of kindness and community service. Additionally, the HKC encourages all of its volunteers to be affiliated with a local congregation.
- The HKC will endorse the use of ingredient products only if they bear the endorsement of a nationally recognized supervision agency (e.g., OU, OK, Star-K, Kof-K) that provides multiple layers of oversight. The HKC will not endorse or sanction the use of any ingredient or product manufactured, produced or processed under a "private supervision," provided by a single rabbi.
- Every HKC supervision has assigned to it two staff people: a mashgiach who oversees the day-to-day matters of operation and a local rabbi. Both are accountable to the HKC's rabbinic administrator.
- All business matters are the purview of a lay board of directors; lay volunteers handle all matters of finance and contract negotiation.
- The HKC rabbinic administrator is the agency's final authority in matters of Jewish law. As a matter of practice, however, all major issues are discussed in collegial rabbinic forum. Any local rabbi who endorses and adheres to HKC policies and standards is welcome to function in an advisory capacity to the rabbinic administrator.
- The HKC is dedicated to community service; it is a not-for-profit agency.
The Greater Hartford Jewish community has every reason to be proud of the HKC. For more than a decade, it has worked to establish, maintain and promote awareness of authentic kashrut
observance in principle and practice. Today the HKC is responsible to the community in more ways than ever before; and, with Heaven's help it will continue to grow.