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Apr 7, 2014

Female Mashgichot in Jerusalem - outside of the Rabbanut

Just less than two months ago Chief Rabbi Dovid Lau seemignly put to end a long-standing open issue with the Rabbanut - whether or not women would be given jobs as mashgichot - kashrut supervisors. After much waffling of the Rabbanut, Rabbi Lau said there is nothing wrong with female mashgichot and the Rabbanut should begin to employ women in that capacity.

Which makes me not understand the following article on Kooker, a haredi news site. Kooker reports that because the Rabbanut is refusing to hire women as mashgichot, because of "tzniyus concerns", the "Yerushalmim" organization has found a way to circumvent the Rabbanut.

Yerushalmim is hiring women to act as mashgichot, and are offering their supervision to restaurants around Jerusalem. They have signed contracts with 6 restaurants to date, and supposedly have another 20 ready to sign. It should be noted that a clause in the contract is that both parties commit to following halacha, so this should not be thought of as a way of avoiding the Rabbanut in order to be not kosher.

1. to provide kashrut services, one must be a registered and approved organization. That is why the Rabbanut regularly announces unapproved organizations working in the field of kashrut and warns the public to beware of certificates from the unauthorized organizations. Will this group be added to that list or have they reuqested approval and authorization from the Rabbanut?

2. More curiously, how does this fit with Rabbi Lau's statement? Perhaps despite Rabbi Lau's statement, the Rabbanut is in practice still refusing to employ female mashgichot? Just because he said it is ok does not necessarily mean the bureaucrats in the Rabbanut are going to follow along so quickly...  Does anybody know facts on the ground on this issue?

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