Dallas Kosher is hiring
By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas Kosher is in need of supervisors, or mashgichim, for the Jewish community, as needs are increasing for the area’s 25 kosher businesses.
“While businesses every-
where have had to let employees go, we’re in dire need of hiring,” said Meira Naor, executive director of Dallas Kosher (DK). “The kosher restaurants, caterers and other establishments cannot be kosher certified without them.”
A mashgiach, or mashgicha for a female, is the person who ensures a restaurant or other food producer complies with Jewish dietary laws. The mashgicha can be a chef or other working team member of the restaurant. It’s a fine line of directives. As an employee of the restaurant they work for and under the employer. As a mashgiacha they get directives from Dallas Kosher regarding hashkaha and kosher supervision.
“Reliable mashgichim are a priority. It’s not an easy job but it’s one of the most important,” said DK Kashrus Administrator Rabbi Sholey Klein. “We put a lot of energy into the time investment to train new hires because there isn’t any room for error. People count on us to be responsible.”
Hired by the individual establishments, and with DK approval, the mashgichim are trained by Rabbi Klein and/or DK Director of Supervision Rabbi David Shawel. While previous experience is not necessary, it is required that applicants be observant Jews. In the fast-paced job, one is likely inspecting vegetables for insect infestation one minute and then checking ingredients and the kosher certification of all incoming products.
“It’s an opportunity to serve HaShem and to give back to this beautiful community that I love,” said Bella Weissburd, who is celebrating one year as a mashgicha this month.
Born in Russia, Weissburd emigrated to Dallas in 1991 with her parents Galina and Boris Abramov, brother Peter and sister Alla Zohar. She is a graduate of Akiba Academy and Richardson High School, and her first career was as a dental assistant. It was at a Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas singles event that she met her husband Paul. The two married in 2010 and committed to a Torah observant life. After their daughter Rachel was born, Weissburd decided a change of career path was in order.
The couple received a text from Rabbi Klein asking if they knew anyone who might be interested in working for Dallas Kosher and an employment match was made.
“I called Rabbi and we met,” Weissburd said. “He trained me and I’ve never loved any job more.” Weissburd started out rotating among six kosher restaurants, but made her primary position at Midtown Pizza and DizziBrands to minimize exposure to the coronavirus. She and all mashgichim are required to wear masks while they are at work.
“Sometimes I’m separating and washing lettuce or rosemary or thyme, then scrutinizing it under the light table. Sometimes it’s cauliflower or strawberries that I’m inspecting, always hoping not to find any insects,” she said. “It’s not difficult but it’s time consuming and imperative I don’t miss anything. I love it though and I take great pride in what I do. I know it matters.”
Lowell Michelson of Simcha Kosher Catering says respect to the mashgichim on his team is a priority.
“There’s a trust I have in our mashgiach to keep my reputation what it is. That, along with the respect that Dallas Kosher has for all of the kosher businesses in town, is really rare,” said Michelson. “The extra layer of conscientiousness that is provided is important and the mashgiach is a vital part of our team.”
Dallas Kosher has supported its certified establishments for the last three-and-a-half months as all have suffered financial losses. While throughout the country, many kosher restaurants and caterers have gone out of business, all 25 of Dallas’ kosher businesses remain serving their customers.
“Since March, we’ve waived monthly certification fees, we’ve subsidized about 50% of the mashgichim’s salaries, and we have paid for our mashgichim’s certification through the Kosher Institute of America, also giving them a $100 graduation gift,” said Naor.
For more details on open positions, or to support the efforts of Dallas Kosher, email email@example.com