I would like to share a thought with you that overtook me as I was driving yesterday.
Let me preface by saying that with Pesach around the corner, the theme of appreciation is in our minds and consciousness. So much of Pesach is about appreciation. We thank God for our redemption, for our freedom, for our birth as a nation. We express appreciation for our ability to practice freely as Jews in this country and many other aspects of our lives. As Jews, we are taught never to take anything for granted. Every morning we recite a blessing thanking the Al-mighty for … waking up!
And for our very existence, for our sight, ability to stand, the clothing we wear, and so much more. By noticing the blessings in our lives, big and small, and not taking them for granted, we are in a position to appreciate these things so much more and express our heartfelt appreciation for the many gifts we receive from Above on a constant basis.
That being said…
Yesterday I received a call from a visitor from Israel who was given my number by his rabbi before he left, to find out from me where he could eat comfortably from the standpoint of someone very scrupulous in his observance of the laws of kosher. He had noticed that the local stores and restaurants are under the DK, and is this reliable? I replied that the DK, Dallas Kosher, is top-notch and he can be totally comfortable with relying upon anything under their name.
With that he said that, if so, he has no further questions because Dallas seems to provide everything he needs, and we bid each other well.
As I drove on, I contemplated what had just transpired. Living in a relatively small town from a religious Jewish perspective, I was able to, wholeheartedly and comfortably, extend my recommendation to a very scrupulous Jew from Jerusalem to eat anything under the jurisdiction of our “small-town” local vaad, or kosher supervisory agency! I thought back to similar conversations I have had over the years with similar visitors, always being able to remark proudly that our local vaad is of the quality and caliber of the kashrut organizations of the large Jewish metropolises, and they can eat comfortably (and tastefully!).
I reflected on how unusual that is for a city with the kosher-observant population the size of a town like Dallas. I realized that I had begun to take that fact for granted, not thinking about how much hard work, caring and thought needed to have been put in to achieve that level; how much dedication on an hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis to retain that level of integrity and professionalism!
Especially during the period before and during Pesach, when Jews’ “kosher nerves” can become very taut, finding all our Pesach needs, even fresh meat and sliced deli, is a big deal.
This is a great time, as a community, to express appreciation to Rabbis Sholey Klein and David Shawel, and to their many mashgichim (observers) working with them, to the staff and board of the DK, to Meira Naor and her staff. Even if you don’t keep kosher yourself, you still benefit from a city which is more cohesive and unified by nearly all organizations running their big events at the highest common denominator, inclusive of all.
This is largely to the credit of the many years of hard work, explaining and caring of Jeri Finkelstein, her husband Bill and her boards over the years. How many cities in America can boast of the likes of a Kosher Chili Cook-off where Jewish organizations of every stripe, background and affiliation are represented and where Jews of the highest caliber of kosher observance can taste all their chili?
Let’s all join together this Pesach season and express our thanks and appreciation to Dallas Kosher!