Baltimore, MD - Sept. 8, 2023  - With the approach of Rosh Hashana, when we partake of fresh fruits and other traditional foods, STAR-K reminds everyone about the need to check many of the items carefully prior to use.

Checking instructions for all Rosh Hashana Simanim are listed below.

For your convenience, we are also including information and links about Yoshon, Baltimore Establishments, Insect Checking charts, as well as the Halachos of Fasting, Schach Guidance and Sukkos-related videos — basically all the information you need to prepare for the Yamim Tovim.

STAR-K wishes everyone a k'siva v'chasima tova and a sweet new year!



DATES*: Open a few dates in each container and visually inspect. If no insects can be seen, the rest may be eaten without further checking.

FIGS*: Open each one and check carefully for infestation (typically wasps, beetles or worms). NOTE: Figs are particularly difficult to check.

 * Checking instructions for dates and figs apply even if they have a hechsher, due to the possibility of improper storage.



  • Dried Peas should first be boiled in water. After they have been fully cooked, allow the peas to soak in the water for 2-3 hours. The peas will then swell and the peel will become translucent. Then check as instructed below. 
  • Canned or Frozen Peas may be checked straight out of the can/bag; there is no need to boil or soak.

Checking Instructions

  1. Take the peas and inspect for holes or dark-colored stains, as this may indicate an insect beneath the thin peel. 
  2. If there is a dark spot on the peel, remove the thin skin and check if there is a cavity with a bug in it.

NOTE: The black "eye" spot is not a sign of infestation. Similarly, orange colored stains on the surface are not signs of infestation; only dark or black stains are of concern.

LEEKS: Examine the outside for any leaf miner trails. Check in between the leaves for thrips or other insects. 


Fresh Cabbage: Separate all leaves and wash well. Then check using the thrip cloth method.

Stuffed Cabbage: After freezing the head, defrost and separate all leaves and wash them well. Then check using the thrip cloth method.


  1. Prepare a basin with water and non-bleach/non-toxic dishwasher detergent solution. The water should feel slippery.
  2. Agitate the produce in the solution for 15 seconds.
  3. Remove the produce from the basin and shake off excess water over the basin.
  4. Pour water through the thrip cloth over another basin. Check the thrip cloth over a light box for any insects.**
  5. If insects are found, wash the produce again and recheck, repeating steps 1-4.
  6. This can be repeated up to 3 times. If insects are still found on the third try, the produce should not be used.

** If one does not have a thrip cloth, the cabbage leaves may be checked carefully using a lightbox or under good lighting.

HONEY: Pure honey does not need a hechsher (Clover, Wildflower, Blossom, Orange, etc., are types of honey, not flavors). Flavored honey needs a hechsher.

Click on any of the links below for downloadable PDFs and for additional Yom Tov-related information.

PDF of the Rosh Hashana Simanim Checking Guide

STAR-K Insect Checking Chart

PDF of What Do Bugs Look Like Chart

PDF of Baltimore Establishments Yoshon/Pas Yisroel Chart

STAR-K Yoshon Info & Yoshon Alert Sign-up

New Kashrus Kurrents Article about the Halachos of Fasting

STAR-K Yamim Noraim & Sukkos Video Channel

5784 Schach Mat Guidance



Baltimore, MD – Sept 24, 2023 – 5:58PM -A motor vehicle accident has just occurred on Clark’s Lane between Bancroft Road and Western Run Drive, causing traffic delays in the area.
Baltimore, MD - Sept. 24, 2023  - Baltimore  Shomrim continues to be very engaged in community public safety. Over the last two days there have been vehicle fires in the vicinity of the 3600-3700 blocks of Labyrinth Road.  Additionally just a few weeks ago there were dumpster/garbage can fires in that general area as well. While there is no resolution at this point, Councilman Yitzy Schliefer was instrumental in escalating this troubling situation to have BCFD fire investigators take a close look at the circumstances surrounding these fires. Investigators have a potential lead on a suspect, however the matter continues under investigation and we will update the community as new information becomes available. Should you have any relevant information or camera footage regardin...
Scroll for more news
In crossing the Suez Canal, the 421st brigade changed not just the course of the war, but possibly even the face of the Middle East It was a turning point which changed not only Israel, but the Middle East as well. Those who lived through it, like the men of the 421st Armored Brigade, have gone on to raise beautiful families and have successful careers, in Israel and around the world. But they will forever share an unbreakable bond forged in that bloody October of 1973. It began with one of the most traumatic events in Israel’s history – a surprise attack by Egypt and Syria on the afternoon of October 6, 1973 – The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. For Amnon Amikam, who fought as a company commander in the war, the memories, even a...
Read More
Early Sunday morning, officers at the Beit Shemesh police station received a report on a suspicious Arab man in a Charedi neighborhood selling boxes of roosters and chickens. The police officers located the suspect and began to investigate the circumstances surrounding his presence in the city. A quick check revealed that he was an illegal Palestinian infiltrator, a 20-year-old Palestinian resident of the Nablus region, and he was handed over for questioning. Police investigators were surprised to discover his in-depth knowledge of Jewish law – as they discovered that he had come to sell roosters and chickens in the Beit Shemesh neighborhood ahead of Yom Kippur when it is customary to carry out the "Kaparot" ritual. According to the ancient Jewish tradition, a rooster is swung aro...
Baltimore, MD - Sept 24, 2023 – 11:10 AM – A tree has fallen on Old Post Road between Stevenson & Long Meadow, blocking the road.
Baltimore, MD - Sept. 24, 2023 - Clorox, a key supplier of disinfecting wipes, faces operational disruptions due to a recent cyberattack, leading to potential shortages in Maryland as flu season approaches, according to Pikesville Patch. The attack forced the company to switch to manual order processing, slowing down operations. While Clorox is working towards restoring its IT infrastructure and resuming normal operations, the timeline for complete recovery remains uncertain. This comes at an inopportune time with the onset of flu season, potentially impacting the availability of disinfecting products in Maryland and possibly other regions.
Baltimore, MD - Sept. 24, 2023 -  On Sunday, remnants of former Tropical Storm Ophelia will bring an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain to the Baltimore region, reports Pikesville Patch. The rain is expected to cease mainly before 11 a.m., with a high near 69°F. Winds will shift from east to southwest in the afternoon. Moving into Sunday night, there's a 30% chance of rain before 8 p.m., followed by a slight chance of showers afterward, under mostly cloudy skies with a low around 60°F. Monday's weather will remain cloudy with a slight chance of showers after 2 p.m., a high near 69°F, and a north wind of 8 to 10 mph. The chance of precipitation stands at 20%. This marks the beginning of a more fall-like weather pattern for the week, with daily highs in the upper ...
Parsha Hashavua
Parshas Ha'azinu/Shuvah/Yom Kippur - Critical Calculations

At the end of this week's parsha, Moshe is told to go to the mountain where he is to pass away. The pasuk states the reason(s) why he is dying here (32:51): "Al asher me`altem bi... al asher lo kidashtem osi," (Concerning the rock-hitting incident) because of that which you trespassed against me... that which you did not sanctify me. Why is it that two reasons are given? The GR"A on Pirkei Avos 3:1, "lifnei mi ata atid litein din vecheshbon" writes that din, judgement, refers to the direct judgement of a person's deeds. Cheshbon, calculation, refers to what that person could have been doing at that time. So, one is judged not only for their bad deeds, but for the good deeds they could have been doing at that time. This, suggests Meshech Chachma, is the meaning of this pasuk. "Al asher me`altem bi" refers to the din, that which they did. "Al asher lo kidashtem osi" refers to the cheshbon, the judgement on what they could have done at that time. Had Moshe not hit the rock, there would have been a kiddush HaShem.

Meshech Chachma explains at the end of parshas Nitzavim that this concept is a very important one to keep in mind on Yom Kippur. The gemara (Yoma 20a) says that the gematria of haSatan is 364, to hint that every day of the year the satan is allowed to do his "work." But on one day of the year, Yom Kippur, he is not. This day is set aside to allow us to do a full teshuvah without having to battle the satan. When we say the berachah of shehecheyanu at the beginning of Yom Kippur, we must say it with total and utter happiness, in appreciation of this opportunity that HaShem has given us. But if we don't use this time to do teshuvah, the time that HaShem has specifically set aside for teshuvah, how much greater of a transgression it is, that we have actively rejected this opportunity.

Have a good Shabbos and a gemar chasimah tov(ah).

Read More
Baltimore, MD - Sept 24, 2023 - 9:18 AM - Three lanes on Greenspring Ave alongside Sinai Hospital are blocked. Baltimore City Fire Department is on scene. Expect delays in the area.
Baltimore, MD – Sept. 23, 2023 - It is with regret that Baltimore Jewish Life (BJL) informs the community of the petira of Daniel Hutman, Z’L, husband of Yehudis Hutman, and father of Rivka Hutman, Bracha (Moshe) Milevsky, Shaya Hutman, Freida Hutman, Mica Hutman The levayah will be held today, Sunday, Sept. 24 graveside at Agudah cemetery at 10:30 am,  6300 Hamilton Avenue, Rosedale, MD, 21237. Shiva will be observed at 6702 Maurleen Rd.Visitors welcome after 1:30 PMMincha: 3:00 PMShiva concludes before Yom Kippur. Bila Hamaves LaNetzach...  
SimchasSimchas Simcha
Russia is shifting its focus from 'energy facilities towards law enforcement institutions' according to Ukrainian cyber defense chief, amid war crime probes The Ukrainian military intelligence head claimed on Saturday to have killed Russian generals in a missile attack on Moscow's Navy HQ in Crimea, while Ukraine's cyber defense chief warned of Russia’s attempts to hack into war crime investigations conducted by Kyiv, during an interview with Reuters. Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov said a missile struck on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea fleet in Crimea killed "at least nine people," including generals, while speaking to Voice of America. The Russian-installed regional governor Mikhail Razvozhayev had al...
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech at the opening of the 78th United Nations General Assembly. Qassem said, “Netanyahu practiced a state of unprecedented bullying against our Palestinian people in his speech, as a result of the normalization agreements that were concluded, or those that are underway to be concluded.” “Netanyahu’s mention of the positive effects of normalization confirms that this path only achieves the interests of the occupation, and constitutes a real threat to the Palestinian cause," he added. Hamas called for a boycott of the Israeli "occupation" during this period of increasing normalization between Israel and Arab states. "Hamas movement has called on Arab and Muslim ...
Nichum AveilimNichum Aveilim Aveilim
Israel is on the brink of joining the United States' Visa Waiver Program, after an unofficial communication from the US has confirmed that Israel satisfies all the prerequisites for inclusion. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to endorse Israel's candidacy for the program on September 27. Then, the US should formally announce Israel's participation the next day.  Last week, it was announced that Israel is indeed progressing on the path towards joining program, and it can be said that the country is now in the final stretch. However, the final stage for the cancellation of entry visas for Israeli citizens is also divided into two phases. The first stage is entry into the program, while the second and final stage is an actual exemption and the commen...
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan spoke on Saturday at the UN General Assembly. In his speech, the Saudi Foreign Minister reiterated the kingdom’s stance that a Palestinian state is part of the solution in the Middle East, and did not mention Israel. "The stability of the region rests on a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause, and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital," said Prince Faisal. He added that his country “rejects and condemns all the unilateral steps that constitute a blatant violation of international laws and which contribute to the collapse of regional and international peace efforts and are hindering the path of diplomatic solutions.” According to reports in I...
Job Listings Jobs
Mortgage rates jumped Monday, following a rise in bond yields driven by investors’ concerns that high interest rates and inflation will linger longer than expected. The average rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage hit 7.48%, the highest level since November 2000, according to Mortgage News Daily. It has risen 29 basis points in just the past week. “Investors just aren’t seeing the kind of deterioration in economic data that they expected,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. He noted that the Federal Reserve wants to see the same deterioration before considering a policy shift, and that shift would likely favor short-term rates first. “The net effect is that longer-term rates like 10-year Treasury ...
Classifieds Classifieds
Rite Aid is negotiating with creditors over the terms of a bankruptcy plan that would include liquidating a substantial portion of its more than 2,100 drugstores, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the talks. The company has proposed to close roughly 400 to 500 stores in bankruptcy, and either sell or let creditors take over its remaining operations, according to the report. Given the conversations remain ongoing, no decisions have been made at this time, Rite Aid said. The company operates more than 2,330 stores in 17 U.S. states, although it is much smaller than rivals such as Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA.O) and CVS Health (CVS.N).
Chesed Chesed
Put differently, true mesirus nefesh is not self-reduction; it is self-expansion, an opportunity to push oneself beyond the limits one assumes for oneself. Is self-sacrifice a virtue? Our instinctive answer to that question is, “But of course. It must be!” When we consider our overwhelming duties — the lion’s share of our time, money, and emotion that we pour into our Torah-driven lives and into building our faithful families — we are left with the question: What could the motivation be other than self-sacrifice? Isn’t “mesirus nefesh” the defining character of Yiddishkeit? Isn’t this all the more so in the hubbub of our supercharged, hyper-stimulated life in the 21st century? Think about your life. After a full ...
More articles