IDF rabbinate withdraws support from army cooking competition

IDF to send delegation to military cooking competition in Russia without a kashrut supervisor. Rabbinate: 'We won't support delegation.'

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At the end of the month, an IDF delegation is to participate for the first time in an international cooking competition hosted by Russia. The competition will see the participation of additional armies from around the world.

Israel Hayom reported this morning that Col. Haggai Valosky, Head of the Military Rabbinate’s Kashrut and Halakha Department, recently sent an email to army rabbis asking them to inform their soldiers participating in the delegation that he is withdrawing his support from the delegation because it did not include a kashrut supervisor.

In his email, Valosky wrote: "At the end of July an IDF delegation is to participate in the 'Army Games' cooking competition in Russia. More than a month ago, we contributed to preparations for the trip. We conveyed the principles of the Rabbinate, the most important of which are kosher food, one permanent station [for food and utensils], and new utensils. In the many discussions we held, we emphasized another point: the need to include a kosher supervisor from our own ranks who will oversee the process of making items kosher, the purchase of food, as well as the cooking and baking processes. "

Rabbi Valosky added that “For reasons that are unclear, they are not allowing the inclusion of a kashrut supervisor in the delegation, and the IDF Attache in Russia is instead providing a kashrut supervisor from the local community.”

“There is no need to elaborate on the need for an experienced professional for such a large project. I don’t know what kind of experience the [Russian] supervisor has, and therefore we are withdrawing our support from the delegation.”

The IDF Spokesperson said in response that “On July 24, 2017, a delegation of 10 IDF representatives is scheduled to leave for Russia to participate in a cooking competition between representatives of armies from around the world. The delegation is defined by the army as a "small mission" because it counts less than 20 participants, and therefore does not [technically] have to be accompanied by an [army] kashrut supervisor. For the benefit of the delegation, a kashrut supervisor from the local community who is aware of army rules and regulations was appointed.”