The purpose of this web-site is to be an aid to identifying hechshers and to provide details of the Hebrew- and Latin-letter texts which appear on them. Kashrut authorities periodically adopt new hechsher designs and many of the designs displayed on this web-site may be obsolete. Kosher food packaging often displays food-related symbols or logos which are not hechshers and many of these are also listed here.
The intended function of this web-site is thus similar to that of a reference dictionary or directory plus a 'museum' of obsolete hechshers.
The compiler and owner of this web-site, Roger Shlomo Harris, is a Jewish Ashkenazi lay person. I am neither a dayan nor a rabbi nor a mashgiach and I have not had any formal education in the fields of rabbinics or kashrut. Whatever little knowledge I may have about kashrus has been acquired through the informal reading of books, magazines, newspapers and web-pages and through the purchase and consumption of kosher food products. I am therefore unable to give an opinion on kashrut matters beyond the most elementary.
In addition, I do not provide advice or comment regarding the "reliability" of certifying rabbis.
Hechshers - also known as kosher symbols - are printed on food labels, in newspapers and magazines. Their function is to indicate that a Jewish regulatory body, usually a Beth Din, has adjudged the food, product or service to be in conformance with Jewish laws of ritual purity. Hechshers are comparable with the symbols used by the International Standards Organisation, the British Standards Institute, Underwriters Laboratory, Good Housekeeping and other standards organisations.
Finding a word in a dictionary in a few moments assumes a prior ability to spell and an understanding of the concept of alphabetical order, of which there are several. Both abilities may be implemented through Hebrew, Transliterated Hebrew, Latin-letter scripts, etc. When trying to identify a hechsher there is no obvious starting point like the beginning of a word. Indeed, a large proportion of the hechshers which are displayed on this web-site may be described as "it's round and there are some Jewish words inside."
In order to simplify your search several entry paths to locating a hechsher image and its identity are provided:
- an alphabetical list of kashrut authorities displayed in KWIC-format, [KWIC = Key Word In Context], i.e. the word embedded in its phrase. This list contains personal names, kashrut authority names, names of towns, cities and countries, all in alphabetical order with the keywords arranged in a centralised column.
- several illustrated lists which contain ..
- hechsher outline shapes, e.g. round, oval, square, etc.,
- thematic categories based upon components of a hechsher design,
e.g. Magen David, menorah, Sefer Torah, etc.,
- categories based upon descriptions, e.g. sheitel, tefillin, etc.,
- all hechshers, certificates and logos listed in the order of their serial numbers. These numbers are allocated in a random manner and are used here to identify various hechsher designs. The numbers have no significance beyond this web-site.
- a page of logos found on kosher food packaging. Many contain Hebrew lettering and may resemble hechshers. Some provide kashrut information.
- a site map provides an overview of the entire web-site which in May 2010 comprised about 1,050 separate pages and over 700 images.
The information which is displayed on this web-site is believed to be correct. However, errors of fact and errors of transposition may form part of some pages. These may be due to my incomplete grasp of Hebrew, to indistinct printing on hechshers and to difficulty in establishing the correct interpretation of information. If you notice an error of any kind then I should be grateful if you would please advise me of its location. A clickable link to my e-mail address is on every page near the left-hand top corner.
Most of the hechshers displayed here were obtained in the course of routine grocery purchases in Stamford Hill, London N16, England, from Berger & Twersky (a heimische family-run shop offering customers a friendly welcome), Berry's Store, Carmel Store, The Egg Stores, Getters, Kol Tuv, Breuer & Spitzer and The Wine Cellar. Moses Supermarket was a good source until it ceased trading in December 2004.
A further valued source of hechsher images and food wrappers has come from friends and a mashgiach (kashrut supervisor).
Extensive information about kosher foods and the Jewish laws (halachah, Leviticus XI) which govern their cultivation, production and sale is available elsewhere on the Internet via the links page. A page of links which lead to sources of information about applying for kosher certification is also provided.
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