OU Kosher Shows How Not to Be Bugged in Portland

24 Feb 2012


Rabbi Zvi B. Hollander demonstrates how not to be bugged by tiny visitors to fruits and vegetables.

The Harry H. Beren ASKOU Outreach program, in conjunction with Congregation Kesser Israel and the Portland Kollel, provided a hands-on practicum at the Kollel in Southwest Portland on a recent Sunday. Rabbi Zvi B. Hollander, one of the Orthodox Union’s West Coast Rabbinic Field Representatives, showed about 20 fascinated men and women of Portland’s Jewish community just what is sharing their fruits and vegetables.

“As I went this morning to buy the produce, the bagger at Albertson’s (the local source for kosher deli and baked goods) actually told me that these critters are where vegans get their protein!” said Rabbi Hollander with a smile. “Given the Pacific Northwest’s reputation for natural living, the attendees were committed nonetheless to learn how to fulfill the Jewish laws which prohibit ingesting even a dead bug in fresh and especially organic produce, let alone the variety of live species that were shown at the practicum. Butter lettuce, broccoli, romaine, mushrooms, as well as the iconic local marionberry (the Oregon version of blackberries), raspberries, and strawberries were all checked and found to be, well, inhabited.”

Aviel Brodkin, the wife of Kesser Israel’s Rabbi Yekusiel Brodkin, declared, “As I’ve shared with our congregants, it’s hard to believe it until you actually see them with your own eyes. I’ve found bugs before, but this was a wonderful opportunity to learn about a variety of new techniques for checking, to actually try them out, and to see what tools, such as light-boxes, we need to have in our kitchens. Our community certainly benefitted from this program.”

Portland Kollel dean Rabbi Tzvi Fischer was also enthusiastic about the Beren ASKOU initiative. “Rabbi Hollander and OU Kosher are a wonderful resource in our community, and the bug-checking pamphlets, the CD’s and DVD’s that were made available after the class will greatly enhance our community’s awareness of how important this requirement is in kosher observance,” said Rabbi Fisher.

Those interested in purchasing the OU’s materials on checking for infestation in food or other kosher issues can contact Rabbi Yosef Grossman, OU Senior Educational Rabbinic Coordinator at 212-613-8212 or {encode=”mailto:grossman@ou.org” title=”grossman@ou.org”}; or contact Rabbi Fischer at the Portland Kollel at 503-245-5120 or at {encode=”mailto:rtf@portlandkollel.org” title=”rtf@portlandkollel.org”}.

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