Baltimore, MD - September 20, 2022

With the approach of Rosh Hashana, when many of us will be enjoying fresh fruits and other traditional foodstuffs, STAR-K reminds you that some of these items need to be checked carefully prior to use.

Checking instructions for all Rosh Hashana Simanim appear here and also as a downloadable PDF below. For your convenience, we are also including links to the 5783 Yoshon Quick Reference Guide, updated Baltimore Establishments Yoshon/Pas Yisroel chart, Insect Checking chart and What Do Bugs Look Like chart.



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 here for a PDF of the Rosh Hashana Simanim Checking Guide

Click here for STAR-K's Insect Checking Chart

Click here for STAR-K's What Do Bugs Look Like Chart

Click here for Baltimore Establishments Yoshon/Pas Yisroel Chart 

Click here for the most current 5783 Yoshon Quick Reference Guide

Click here for the most current 5783 Yoshon Quick Reference Guide

Annapolis, MD - Feb. 20, 2024  - Governor Wes Moore announced the appointment of Magistrate Hope Tipton and Levi Stuart Zaslow to the Baltimore City Circuit Court."Hope Tipton and Levi Stuart Zaslow define what it means to serve the public and follow the law. They will each bring humility, excellence, wisdom, and fairness to the bench," said Gov. Moore. "I thank them both for raising their hands to sit on the Baltimore City Circuit Court. The judiciary and the state will benefit from their service."Magistrate Hope Tipton has worked as a Family Magistrate in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City since 2013. Her practice has always been devoted to representing poor and low-income clients in various civil legal matters, including family law, educational issues, denial ...
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Purim Cuttin?

The Gemara in Megillah 6b says that it is forbidden to eulogize and fast on the fourteenth and fifteenth of the first Adar.

The Rosh in Megillah in Perek 1, siman 7 says that this halacha applies only in the following scenario: Klal Yisroel already read the Megillah on the fourteenth of Adar and in the middle of the day Bais Din decides to make it a leap year. In such an instance one is not allowed to fast or eulogize. In the event that the Megillah was not read when they announce the leap year, then one would be able to fast or eulogize someone.

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A person from Chutz L’aretz is in Eretz Yisroel for a Yom Tov and he decides in middle of the second day of Yom Tov (Yom Tov Sheini Shel Galiyos) that he will stay in Eretz Yisroel to live from then onward. The Teshuvos L’Horos Nosson Vol.12:27 brings in the name of the Chazon Ish that this person’s Yom Tov stops in the middle of the day and all hilchos Yom Tov do not apply anymore.

The question arises, why is the case of Purim treated differently in middle of the day? We just mentioned above that hilchos Purim do not get completely cut off, whereas on Yom Tov it does. Why is this so?

One may differentiate between Purim Kotton and Yom Tov. On Purim, even if you will say that it may get cut, it will still have the name of Purim Kotton and therefore one would still be forbidden to fast or eulogize because of this. In the case of Yom Tov it is different; because the minute Yom Tov gets cut, it is not considered Yom Tov at all to a person living in Eretz Yisroel.

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