Back in the Kitchen
Orthodox women are joining the ranks of the kashrut brigade
Although many Orthodox women are the masters of the realm in their home kitchens, few of them have taken on the job of becoming a kashrut inspector, or mashgiach, in the kitchens of restaurants and other institutions. That’s starting to change, the JTA reports. And, in a way that echoes the entrance of women into many male-dominated fields, mashgichot are using their feminine wiles to do the job as well as, or better than, their male counterparts; while male kashrut inspectors are often rumored to be corruptible and lazy, females are developing the opposite reputation. “They’re very meticulous,” says a rabbi with the Star-K kosher certification agency. This may have something to do with their training as practical housewives, rather than dreamy scholars: “A guy, a lot of times he’ll do a Talmudic analysis. I don’t want a Talmudic analysis. A mashgiach‘s job is to see and to hear and to report.” And it seems, just like in the rest of society, employees at kosher kitchens are easily cowed by strong women. “Never underestimate the power of lipstick,” says one mashgicha.