Join us for our next Telekosher Conference Series


THURSDAY October 26, 2017 


12 Noon ET








  • What to look for in a new appliance for a kosher home
  • Cooktops - glass, gas, induction
  • Ovens - with/without "Sabbath Mode"
  • Refrigerators - Shabbos use- lights, sensors, ice





Mr Jonah Ottensoser is Star-K’s engineering consultant. He has a degree in mechanical engineering and worked on aircraft for the US NAVY for 30 years.  He has been consulting for Star-K for 20 years. 


THURSDAY October 26, 2017 12 NOON ET

Questions are encouraged from the listening audience. You can ask questions via chat during the show.  You can also email us questions prior to the show at The teleconference will run for about 40 minutes.

There are 3 ways to join:

Mark your calendars! STAR-K's ongoing TeleKosher Conference Series is generally scheduled at noon ET on the last Wednesday of each month. Classes are archived at and on Vimeo

Download the STAR-K App! | Google Play Store |  App Store

Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 – A friendly conversation between two acquaintances ended up as a stabbing on the 3200 Block Marnat in Baltimore County at approximately 8:30 this evening. The injuries to the one victim are non-life-threatening.
Police are disputing an 11-year-old girl's claim that her hijab was cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school last week. Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said Monday an extensive investigation was conducted and police concluded it did not happen. The sixth-grader, her mother and her younger brother held a news conference at Pauline Johnson Junior Public School on Friday to air the allegation. The girl, Khawlah Noman, said she was walking to school with her younger brother when a man came up behind her, pulled off her jacket hood and started cutting the bottom of her hijab. She said she turned around, screamed and the man ran away. She said the man returned a short time later and continued to cut her hijab from behind before he smiled and ran away. Her mother calle...
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In 1989 Rabbi Paysach Diskind founded ACHIM which has been igniting the Jewish spark in hundreds of Russian speaking Jewish families whose Jewish identity is strong but never had the opportunity to connect to their roots. Rabbi Paysach Diskind Today, ACHIM embraces and enriches the Russian speaking Jewish population by providing inspiring inclusive Jewish experiences for the whole family. - Two weekly learning and text study, from Dovid HaMelech to Ramchal - Workshops and support groups for mothers - Weekly Sunday Shachris service followed by donuts, coffee and Parsha - Weekly Sunday School for children and monthly Yachad program for their parents. - Bi-monthly Challah Bake for young women - Weekly girls study program matching public school girls with Bais Yaakov girls. - Life c...
Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 – It is with sadness that (BJL) informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Sara Rae Goldfeder, a'h, wife of Gerald Goldfeder, mother of Avi Goldfeder... The levaya and kevurah will be held tomorrow in Eretz Yisrael More details to follow Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 –  6:01 PM - The water main on Seven Mile Lane between Park Heights and Reisterstown Road that broke last week, just broke again. The conditions in that area are extremely slippery and caution is advised. If you can, avoid that area. The city has been notified and is working on dispatching a salt truck to the area.
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TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey is saying farewell to Republican Gov. Chris Christie and hello to Democrat Phil Murphy. The wealthy former Obama administration diplomat and businessman is to take the oath of office Tuesday at a ceremony in Trenton. Christie will then return to life as a private citizen after two terms as governor and nearly a decade as U.S. attorney in the state. It's hard to imagine New Jersey getting a higher contrast in its 56th governor. Christie is a friend and one-time adviser to Republican President Donald Trump and has conservative views on taxes, opposes marijuana legalization and fights bitterly with labor unions. Murphy opposes Trump on health care, immigration and taxes. He promises to raise taxes on millionaires and legalize recreational mariju...
Defense minister says Israel plans to continue security coordination with PA noting, 'If they stop it, it would be their decision'; he also discusses Palestinian intransigence: 'The Palestinians have always found a reason why not. Abbas doesn't want an agreement with Israel.' Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has "lost his senses" after his acrimonious speech against Israel and US President Donald Trump the previous day.  "He's trying to bring down all of our homes—the home of the Palestinians, that of the Americans and that of the Jews," Lieberman told Ynet in an interview. Lieberman noted Abbas' address symbolized his giving up on the prospect of peace negotiations and opting...
Depth of destroyed tunnel estimated to be dozens of meters underground, height and width large enough to allow passage of dozens of terrorists, equipment; tunnel discovered weeks ago, Egypt notified of its existence over weekend, said to be incensed with Hamas at breach of sovereignty; Kerem Shalom Crossing to reopen Tuesday. The Hamas tunnel destroyed over the weekend underneath the Kerem Shalom Crossing was several dozen meters deep, according to estimates, and its height and width are said to be more considerable compared to previous tunnels, enabling the passage of a several-dozen-strong force, as well as armaments, through it.The tunnel was first discovered several weeks ago, while Egypt was notified of its existence this past weekend, and is incensed with Hamas due to the ...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas VaEira - Enough!

It is easier to take Jews out of Galus than to take the Galus out of the Jews

- Chasidic Master

Ever been accused of “being your own worst enemy”?  In a world filled with real dangers, from cheating merchants to terrorists, how could such an accusation have any real merit?  Easy.  As Sol Herzig notes in a column on, we are all confronted in our lives by the, “…sobering fact that serenity and joy are natural states for all of us…”  However, he is quick to point out that we needn’t fear the imminent loss of our treasured discontent, there are any number of methods we can – and do! – employ to ensure that we remain miserable.

I am not a man much enamored by “pop psychology” or “feel good” philosophies that dominate our modern culture.  Quite the contrary.  The superficiality of much of our times disturbs me more than I can say.  But I also know our tradition teaches that God deemed His creation to be good and that we are to enjoy creation and our existence.  Even more to the point, our failure to find joy – to get out of our own way – leaves us vulnerable to real dangers and profound misery.  A determined and internalized sense of galus diminishes us and God. It is powerfully true that we, as Jews, have been victimized too often in history but we are not victims!  We weaken ourselves by continuing to think of ourselves as such.

Even our archetypal experience of victimization – our enslavement in Egypt – needed to be shrugged off before we could realize the promise of freedom God had for us.

“…and I shall take you out from under the burdens (sivlot) of Egypt” (Ex. 6:6)

The Hebrew verb li’sbol means “to suffer”. God promises that He will remove us from the burdens, from the suffering, that was a constant of our existence in MitzrayimLi’sbol also means “to tolerate”.   With this understanding in mind, Rebbe R’ Bunim comments that despite their backbreaking labor, the Children of Israel came to “tolerate” their situation.  In their perspective, slavery was the natural state of being.  They became blind to how terribly bitter it was.  As a result, God had to free them not only from their physical slavery but from their tolerance of their slavery.

Tolerance of evil is worse than the evil itself.

How easy it is to become benumbed to our discomfort!  So much so that we’d rather continue our misery than subject ourselves to the challenge and uncertainty of change and the hope of betterment.  We know from countless studies that long-term prisoners are reluctant to leave their prison cells to face the “outside world”.   So too were the Jews reluctant to leave their “prison” in Egypt. 

As slaves, we didn’t have to “think”, we didn’t have to “risk”, we didn’t have to “feel” honest and true feelings.  All was decided for us.  No uncertainty.  Just burden, to which we became tolerant.   Imagine!  We tolerated – invited – the burden of slavery as though it was our appropriate lot in life!  If it is possible to become tolerant of sivlos Mitzrayim how much more is it to become tolerant of the everyday burdens and challenges, we all confront today!

R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk proclaimed that the first step towards freedom is the willingness to rebel against slavery.  Before being led to Sinai, B’nai Yisrael had to accept God’s great gift of freedom from their savlanut – their tolerance to their slavery.  This, the freedom from tolerance, is the ultimate foundation for geula.  There can be no redemption until galus is utterly rejected.  Indeed, it is this understanding that prompts the Chidushei HaRim to teach us that the posuk should read, “I will deliver you from being tolerant of Egypt.” 

* * *

In last week’s parasha, the Children of Israel criticize Moshe and Aaron for angering Pharaoh by calling for their freedom. They have become so inured to their slavery that they would rather continue as slaves than sacrifice for their freedom.  They had become like the beaten down and despondent worker who faces his miserable shop foreman with a shrug, “What else can I do?  This is my life.”  The necessary implication being, “This is the life I deserve.”


That is not “a life”.  That is slavery.  It is addiction.  It is the antithesis of God’s desire that we enjoy the power and grace of geula!  The slave, the addict, the downtrodden and miserable want only their daily bread, their drug, the inexorable sameness and numbness of their existence.  They do not consider a life of spirituality and meaning. 

Our prison can be anything that benumbs us to that life of meaning.  Drugs.  Sex.  Money.  Fine cars.  Misery.  Anything that we tolerate that keeps us from enjoying the geula that God wants for us is slavery, a prison!  Our first step towards a life of meaning is to become intolerant to enslavement; to value the dignity of liberty over physical gratification; our first step is to declare without qualification, “Enough!” 

Certainly, the generation of Yetziat Mitzrayim had to say, “Enough!” before they could cross the Red Sea and enter the wilderness and, ultimately, receive the Law at Sinai.

“Enough” is more than “ouch” to the pain of the lash.  It is a declaration that the pain of the lash is not “my due”.  It is a statement of absolute refusal.  It is not a negation of what is bad but an embrace of what is good.  It is an embrace of the possibility of geulah.

* * *

If it is difficult to cry out, “Enough!” to the lash of slavery, how much more so is it to say “Enough!” to the numbing satisfactions of an everyday life?

It is told that Rav Nachum of Chernobel once stopped at an inn owned by an old Jew.  At midnight, Rav Nachum sat on the floor to conduct his Tikun Chatzos, crying so bitterly over the Churban that many of the inn’s guests were awakened by his distress. 

Trembling, the Jewish owner rushed to the Rebbe.  “Why are you crying?  Does something hurt?” 

Rav Nachum shook his head.  “I am bemoaning the Churban and the bitter galus.” 

The innkeeper was confused.  “What Churban?  What galus?  What is all the grief about?”

“You don’t know?” Rav Nachum asked.  “Our Temple in Jerusalem was razed.  We were exiled from our Chosen Land because of our sins.”  He studied the innkeeper.  “I am beseeching God to speedily send the Moshiach, so he brings us to Eretz Yisrael.

“Are you ready to go up to the Promised Land?”

The innkeeper shook with fear and raised a hand.  “Wait, Rebbe.  I am going to ask my wife what to do.  She will know.” He hurried away only to return soon after.  “No,” he said, clearly.  “We will not go.  It would be foolish to lose all the chickens, cows, and sheep.  No, it makes no sense to follow Moshiach and leave all this behind!”

Rav Nachum persisted. “Is it really so good here?  Often, the locals rampage, kill and plunder!”

The inn owner once again raised his hand.  “Let me ask my wife.”  Once again, he came back quickly.  “She said that this is our life and it is quite satisfactory, thank you.  She said I should tell you to pray to God to chase away all the evil locals to the Promised Land.  As for us, we will stay here with the chickens, cows and sheep.”

Imagine!  To be satisfied, to be tolerant, of a simple and vulnerable existence for the sake of a few chickens, cows and sheep! 

Foolish people!  To say, “What is so terrible?  It’s a life after all…”  How sad, how familiar a feeling, to not be able to cry out, “Enough!”  How pathetic to accept tzuros rather than embrace God’s gift of geula!

It is time for us all to turn away from the acceptance, the tolerance, the embrace of our own tzuros; to turn away from that insidious and irksome phrase, “It is what it is” (as if that is    an explanation and excuse) and say, “Enough!”  It is time that we all stop thinking a pitiful few “chickens” or “cows” justify misery.  “Enough!”

Geula awaits.

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Jerusalem, Israel - Jan. 15, 2018 - On a cold and wet Sunday evening, the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce (OJC) Israel Anglo Networking evening took place at the King David Hotel (KDH) in Jerusalem, Israel. The OJC launched its Israel Division by hosting an Anglo Business Networking Event. The program was geared toward facilitating networking between business owners in all industries, and particularly those within the Anglo-Israeli business sector. OJC's stated mission is to help people interact and make new connections, and to foster existing relationships. OJC founder and CEO, Duvi Honig, has held large networking events in the US, but this was the first one OJC held in Israel. David Walles, head of the successful travel company, Eddie's Kosher Travel, flew from Israel t...
Just hours before the start of Agudath Israel of America’s 18th annual Yerushalayim Yarchei Kallah, hundreds of participants gathered in Bnei Brak on Sunday night for a pre-opening event held at Mayanei Hayeshua Medical Center. Torrential rains did nothing to dampen the spirits of those who came to the reception held in a magnificent tent outside the state of the art 300 bed hospital which prides itself on providing high level, halachically appropriate medical care. With many travelers having just arrived in Eretz Yisroel for the Yarchei Kallah, orchestrated by the Agudah’s Torah Projects Commission, participants headed directly to the hospital which was founded in 1990 to serve the more than 100,000 residents of the Bnei Brak area. The program began with Tehillim for passeng...
Kiddush Levana Jan 19 7:04 pm - Jan 31 1:26 pm
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A small chance of flurries on Monday will be followed by a chance for more accumulation Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning. Two inches of snow could accumulate in Baltimore by Wednesday morning, making for some slippery roads. Higher amounts could be seen northwest of Baltimore.  Snow is not expected to start Tuesday evening until after 6 p.m. and it should taper off around noon Wednesday
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump has called the new governor of Virginia, Democrat Ralph Northam, to congratulate him. Northam was sworn in Saturday during ceremonies at the state Capitol in Richmond. The White House says Trump called Northam on Sunday from his Florida estate and says the president and the governor agreed to work together closely on many issues, including support of the military. Trump placed another call of congratulations on Sunday to New Jersey’s governor-elect, Democrat Phil Murphy. He’ll be sworn in on Tuesday. The White House more at WTOP
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Israeli leaders slammed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Monday for a fiery, invective-filled speech against President Donald Trump, in which he proclaimed the U.S. role as arbiter of the Mideast conflict over, attacked the administration's envoys and described Israel as a colonial conspiracy. Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Abbas had "lost his senses" and had given up on the prospect of peace negotiations in favor of open confrontation with both Israel and the United States. Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party, said the speech represented Abbas' swan song. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a trip to India, said Abbas had "tore off the mask" and exposed what he called the truth. "The root of the confli...
The Israeli government announced Monday that it would no longer permit members of the Hamas terrorist group or their immediate family members in Gaza to enter Israel with entry permits issued out of humanitarian concerns, including to seek medical treatment in Israeli hospitals, as opposed to medical facilities in the Gaza Strip. The announcement was made Monday after the government acknowledged to the Supreme Court that it had hitherto not fully implemented a security cabinet decision which included sanctions targeting Hamas leadership. Last November, a legal team assembled by the Goldin family accused the government of not implementing the cabinet decision, and filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to intervene. In August 2014, IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul were killed dur...
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Baltimore, MD - Jan. 15, 2018 - Tuesday is Erev Rosh Chodesh Shevat. Traditionally this is known as Yom Kippur Katan, where traditionally pious people fast and add special tefillos. This particular Tuesday, Jan. 16, we plan to hold a special Yom Kippur Katan Mincha minyan in our shul, in the auxiliary Bais HaMedrash, at 4:30 pm. We are doing this because our morning Gemara shiur is beginning Maseches Moed Katan, and there is a tradition to fast before studying that volume, as the last part of it deals with the Halachos of Aveilus (mourning), an area we approach with trepidation. Many of the participants in the morning shiur will be fasting and joining the minyan. We welcome one and all - shiur participants and others - to join us. ### Other Yom Kippr Katan Minyanim are held at the Ag...
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A mezzanine floor inside the Jakarta Stock Exchange tower collapsed on Monday, injuring nearly 80 people and forcing a chaotic evacuation. Security camera footage circulated online showed the collapse, with a group of people plunging several meters (feet) to the ground as the structure gave way beneath them. People fled the building through a lobby strewn with debris. Emergency personnel tended to the injured on the grass and pavement outside the tower. National police spokesman Setyo Wasisto said most of the injured were college students from Palembang in Sumatra who were visiting the stock exchange as part of a study tour. Wasisto ruled out terrorism as a cause of the collapse. “There is no bomb element in the incident,” he said. Figures rel...
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HONOLULU (AP) — It was a beautiful Hawaii morning: nice breeze, blue skies, birds chirping. Then terror struck. We were up early, my daughter and I, because this Saturday morning was her first day of ice skating lessons, a day we had been talking about and looking forward to for months. We were also having construction done in our Honolulu apartment, which sits atop a hill overlooking the Nuuanu Valley and, in the distance, Pearl Harbor. So, I had been frantically clearing out the living room and covering our things with sheets so they wouldn't be smothered in sawdust. We got her skating clothes on and tacked up the living room, and I was just about to hop in the shower when, around 8:07 a.m., my phone started the aggressive, long pulsating tone that normally accompanies a fl...
Baltimore, MD – Jan. 15, 2018 -  It is with deep sadness that (BJL) informs the community of the petirah of Mrs. Chaiya Drabkin, a’h. Levaya will take place Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 at Levinson's at 12:00 PMKevurah at Agudath Israel Cemetery - RosedaleShiva will be observed at 6302 Pimlico Road Baltimore, MD 21209 Bila HaMaves LaNetzach…
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HONOLULU — The missile threat mistakenly sent Saturday by Hawaii officials came just a few minutes after a shift change at state Emergency Operations Center in Diamond Head Crater. Here's a timeline of what happened: 8:05 a.m. — Workers initiate routine test of the emergency alert system. 8:07 a.m. — A worker mistakenly hits the button to send the emergency warning reading: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." 8:10 a.m. — The head of the Emergency Management Agency, state adjutant general Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, confirms with U.S. Pacific Command that there was no missile launch. Honolulu police are notified of the false alarm. 8:13 a.m. — The state issues a cancellation that prevents the message from...
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