Monday, November 21, 2005

Lettuce Entertain You, aka Quit Bugging Us!

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Heads-up, everyone:

Debugging of Lettuce Highlight of AKO Conference(New York)

The certification of bagged lettuce (to assure that they do not violate Jewish law by having bugs on them) was the subject of one of the key sessions of the annual Convention of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) on November 17 th at the national headquarters of the Orthodox Union. More than 70 Kashrus officials representing 55 international members of AKO attended the post Kosherfest convention. The two-hour session on lettuce was led by Rabbi Moshe Heineman of the Star-K, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky of the OU, Rabbi Shlomo Gissinger of Ches-K, Rabbi Lenny Steinberg of the OU, as well as the certifying rabbis at Bodek.

In an article in Kashrus Kurrents, a newsletter published by the Star-K Certification of Baltimore, Rabbi Tzvi Rosen hails the contemporary practice of washing and treating lettuce. He writes: “Aggressive washing and chemical treatments in the wash water removes and reduces the risk of the introduction of spoilage bacteria and pathogens. Fortunately for the kosher consumer, the same techniques that reduce bacterial presence will also remove toyloim, infestation.”

In addition to lettuce certification, the convention reviewed many important issues, according to Rabbi Sholem Fishbane of the Chicago Rabbinical Council who heads AKO. The convention opened with a message from Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union. The deliberations included a comprehensive review of European standards in kashrus, new concepts in food technology and how it affects innocuous ingredients, possible hazards to a mashgiach in tasting the various bittering agents in food processors, the concern of supplying the public with Pesach information without thorough visitations to the manufacturing facility, challenges and suggestions in certifying restaurants and caterers, values and standards of a mashgiach, and being more effective through the use of the Universal Data Base.

In addition to representatives of the OU, participating agencies at the meeting included the Star K and OK Labs, and rabbinical groups and Vaadim from all over the United States, Canada, and even London, England, as well as other interested observers.

Hmm...I wonder what kind of salad was served for lunch that day. I mean, a two-hour session on lettuce and bugs might not leave you with much of an appetite!


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Please be aware that the following post is not a condemnation as much as it is an observation.

For the past year, I've had the pleasure of corresponding with new and varied people, thanks to the world of blogs. I comment online, but comment offline, as well, and thus new lines of communication are introduced.

Growing up, I was taught to sign my general letters with "Sincerely" or "Yours Truly" or "Cordially" or other humdrum signoffs such as those. If the person was a close friend or relative, I'd sign with "Love" or "Hugs and Kisses".

When I was about 14, I had a mad crush on Barry Manilow. A friend of mine told me that her friend had written to him and had received a personal reply. I thought that I might have the good fortune of receiving the same, so I sat and wrote him a letter, found an address and mailed it off. Some weeks later, I received a reply -- a standard, impersonal form letter with a stock photo signed (imprinted would be a better word, as it was not truly personal) by Barry. It said "All best, Love Barry."

WHAT!? I thought. The man can't even sign off right? What's "All best"? The expression is "All the best". I thought I'd gotten some subpar photo, or that Barry had needed a proofreader before he signed his name...or that perhaps in NYC they said that. Being that it was such a busy city, maybe people were also too busy to write a complete thought: "All best" instead of "All the best."

Well, this past year I've encountered yet another editorial change to that signoff. I've been getting correspondence signing off with the very skeletal "Best." I guess that means "Best wishes" or "Best regards" or even "All the best." Maybe it's even shorthand for not fully writing but implying "You're simply the best"!

You know, I like that last rationale BEST. So any time, any of you write to me, please do feel free to sign off with "Best" followed by your name.

Hey, and don't worry if I still sign off with "All the best." I'm just an old-fashioned girl at heart.