HEKHSHER (Heb. הֶכְשֵׁר; "approbation" or "attestation"), certificate issued by the rabbinate or by individual rabbis certifying that a certain food product has been prepared under their supervision and in accordance with the traditional dietary *laws, hence declaring it kasher. Such an attestation is also required for all foodstuff prepared for consumption on *Passover in which case it must also be free from all leaven (*ḥameẓ). The hekhsher certificate is now usually printed on the package of the product. Restaurants which are under the supervision of a rabbinate need a hekhsher (which is displayed on the premises), testifying that the food served by them is prepared in accordance with the traditional dietary laws and that a *mashgi'aḥ oversees the kitchen. In some countries specific symbols have been adopted to indicate that the product is under supervision. The Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in the U.S. uses
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.