Dear Reader,

As Rosh Hashanah rapidly approaches we look forward to the New Year and to the blessings and challenges that lie ahead.

Last year was shmitta, the sabbatical year, and it presented its fair share of kashrus complexities. One might think we are now out of the woods, so to speak, but the year after shmitta has its own set of challenges to deal with.

Many products that will be available this year were actually grown during shmitta, from the wine for kiddush and even the esrogim we will use on Sukkos (see Kosher Spirit, Fall 2008/Tishrei 5769,

This is the year when we must pay closer attention to even the everyday products that we are so used to eating and drinking on a regular basis. For example, some wines may not carry certification this year because the grapes were grown during shmitta. This is addressed in the article by Maayan Meir from our office in Israel, which discusses the eighth year and the protocols that OK Kosher has implemented to ensure that the kosher consumer has the kosher products he needs without any compromise.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” How true this statement is! Preparation is the key to success – when we set up manufacturers of food products for kosher certification or prepare for the year of shmitta and for this coming year of Hakhel, much thought and effort goes into all the details. As the famous saying goes, “Preparation positions you for prosperity.” With our adherence to this principle, and all of the hard work we put in , we are destined for greatness.

May we all be blessed with a prosperous year, with an abundance of health, happiness, and much time to enjoy it all.

Rabbi Chaim Fogelman