Expert shows how to keep produce kosher

Rabbi Yossi Eisen, centre, explains how to carefully inspect produce to the MK’s Rabbi Saul Emanuel, left, and Rabbi Berel Bell.

“Tell the bug to bug off” was the message of an expert in keeping produce kosher to the hundreds of members of the Montreal Jewish community that he spoke to during a recent visit.

Rabbi Yossi Eisen, chief administrator of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway kashrut agency in New York, was hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Montreal (JCC), which issues the MK certification.

Rabbi Eisen is recognized in particular for his knowledge of hilchos tolaim – is, in fact, world-renowned, according to the JCC – which includes the proper way to clean and prepare fruits and vegetables.

JCC executive director Rabbi Saul Emanuel said the purpose was to provide practical guidance on how to identify and remove infestation, and to do so in an engaging manner.

During his 48-hour visit, Rabbi Eisen gave a presentation to over 400 people at the Montreal Torah Centre, repeating it to another 250 at Congregation Toldos Yakov Yosef of Skver the next day. In between, he met students at three high schools, Beth Rivkah, Beth Jacob and Belz.

To top it off, he gave a tutorial for 20 cooks at a private home in Côte St-Luc.

“Our goal, in inviting the rabbi, was to send out a positive message about the preparation of kosher food and the importance of following the rules and regulations that have been set up to ensure the kosher standards and well-being of Jewish Montrealers,” Rabbi Emanuel said.

For his part, Rabbi Eisen said he was impressed with “the comprehensive approach of MK and the strength of the organization’s leadership and commitment to ensuring Montrealers benefit from the highest quality of kosher food.

“At the same time, I was overwhelmed by the interest in preparing fruits and vegetables in keeping with our highest halakhic standards, from the students I met at the different schools to the impressive crowds that came to learn at the public lectures.”

MK, which has eight affiliated rabbis, certifies more than 850 companies across Canada and close to 100 establishments, such as synagogues and caterers, in Montreal.