(Miami, Florida).

For decades, the kashrus needs of Miami have been served by a number of dedicated individuals and organizations which provided hashgacha to local establishments. In 2002, the ORC, the Orthodox Rabbincal Council of Miami, notified the establishments that it was ceasing to provide hashgacha services. As a result of the departure of the ORC from the kashrus arena, the Orthodox Rabbanim of Miami-Dade County began working diligently to organize a new Vaad HaKashrus which would serve the needs of the greater Miami community. Together with a group of Orthodox Rabbanim of Miami-Dade County, over fifteen local businessmen, doctors and lawyers on the lay Board of Directors officially formed The Vaad HaKashrus of Miami-Dade as a non-profit charitable organization to serve the kashrus needs of Miami-Dade County.

Although at the time of the closing, of the ORC there were still “out of town” kashrus agencies that operated in Miami, many local Rabbanim felt that a new Vaad HaKashrus should be formed. “Kashrus supervision is the domain and province of local Rabbanim and has always been their natural jurisdiction,” said Rabbi Neal Turk, Rabbi of Beth Israel Congregation in Miami Beach. “Standards of kashrus are best served when overseen and administered by local Rabbanim who are responsible for the halachic and moral intergrity of their communities,” said Rabbi Shalom Lipskar, Rabbi of The Shul of Bal Harbor.

During the year and a half planning stage of the new organization, plans were carefully laid out to develop kashrus standards that would be accepted worldwide, to hire top kashrus professionals to run the new organization and to raise funds to pay for the operation.

The Vaad HaKashrus of Miami-Dade, operating under the “Kosher Miami” name and using a newly designed logo, began its operations in May of 2004 with Rabbi Yehuda Kravitz, an eight-year veteran at the OU, serving as Rabbinic Administrator, and Rabbi Manish Spitz, a long-standing veteran of kashrus in Miami, serving as Rabbinic Coordinator. It was under the direction of Rabbi Kravitz and Rabbi Spitz that Kosher Miami assumed the supervision of over 25 establishments in the first few months of its operation.

Kosher Miami worked with national and local organizations that were providing hashgacha services to ensure a smooth transition to the new Vaad HaKashrus of Miami-Dade. Special thanks are given to the Star-K from Baltimore and the ORB from Broward County for their assistance in Kosher Miami’s initial operations. We also thank all the dedicated local kashrus professionals who have devoted themselves for decades to providing hashgacha for the local establishments.

In the second year of its operation, Rabbi Kravitz moved back to New York for personal reasons and Rabbi Mordechai Fried was hired as an additional Rabbinic Coordinator. Rabbi Fried brought to Kosher Miami his experience as a skilled administrator and as a Kashrus professional trained by some of the country’s top professionals.

One of the many goals of Kosher Miami is to provide training to our mashgichim with the latest information and techniques available in the kashrus world. Kosher Miami, in coordination with the ORB, has already conducted many training sessions for mashgichim, including instruction in specialized removal techniques from the country’s insect removal experts.

Under the leadership of Rabbi Fried and Rabbi Spitz, Kosher Miami now proudly supervises close to 40 establishments, including retail and wholesale bakeries, restaurants, groceries and factories. We urge you to visit Kosher Miami’s website, www.koshermiami.org, which is a valuable source of up-to-date information on all of the establishments under Kosher Miami supervision.

For further information and applications for hashgacha services, please feel free to email Rabbi Fried at rabbifried@koshermiami.org. or to call him at (305) 390-6620. Rabbi Spitz may be reached at (305) 978-3803. For general information, please email info@koshermiami.org.

Applications for supervision are also available on the koshermiami.org web site.

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