The Cherry K Vaad Hakashruth has been serving the tri-county South Jersey area for over thirty years. Founded by Rabbi Bernard Rothman, shlita, it was originally known as the Tri-County Vaad Hakshruth of South Jersey. The Cherry K Vaad Hakashruth now certifies over thirty organizations including restaurants, retail food establishments and manufacturers.
Rabbi Rothman was recently asked about the early days of the kashrus supervision in South Jersey.
"When I came to Sons of Israel back in 1962, Kashruth was under the direction of my revered predecessor Rabbi Naftali Riff. He personally gave the “Hashgacha” (Kashruth supervision) to the butcher shops in Camden. Mr. Moshe Berg was the shochet who slaughtered chickens at Jake Finkelstein’s chicken farm in Atco, New Jersey, as well as at Gus Goldstein’s Chicken Market in Camden. Mr. Berg was also the Mashgiach who regularly checked the butcher shops in Camden for Rabbi Riff. I believe there were originally 7 kosher butchers in Camden, which had diminished to 5 by the time I came to the area. When Rabbi Riff retired, he suggested that I establish a community Vaad Hakashruth with every Synagogue in the Tri-County area being represented, and that I should serve as the Rabbinic Kashruth Director (Rav Hamachshir). I followed his suggestion and the Tri-County Vaad Hakashruth was born. The first President of the Vaad was Alexander (Al) Segal, who was a past president of Sons of Israel. Al served effectively for more than 20 years as President of the Vaad.
"In addition to supervising the local butcher shops, we also supervised several caterers and gave oversight to the local kosher bakeries. During the decades of the Vaad’s existence, we gave supervision at various times to the kosher catering departments of the Walt Whitman Hotel in Camden, Merion Caterers in Cinnaminson, and the Cherry Hill Inn. We also established kashrus supervision at all Federation agencies, the JCC and its camps, the Jewish Geriatric Home, the Dubin House and the Saltzman House.
"One of the bakeries the Vaad supervised was Ricnees, which was located in Merchantville. The owner was non-Jewish and when I set up the arrangement, he agreed to close down his baking of Pizza which had pepperoni in it. I suggested that he continue to make kosher cheese pizza, which he did with great success. He had a separate eating area in an adjacent room and this became the first kosher pizza restaurant of the entire Delaware Valley. The pizza was delicious. People came every Saturday evening from Philadelphia, as well as Cherry Hill. Birthday parties were also held in this Pizza restaurant.
"Thank G-d Kashruth continues to blossom in South Jersey."