Is it Kosher? – check your phone!

August 24, 2015 by J-Wire Staff
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Around the world Jews who keep kosher have a new tool at their disposal to check the status of food on supermarket shelves…a new app called “Is it Kosher?”

kosher_512Project “Is it Kosher?” started two years ago when one of its developers Misha Beshkin kept being asked questions by his friend  Haim Grinfeld who had started eating kosher.

Misha Beshkin

Misha Beshkin

Haim would  call Misha right from the supermarket aisle to ask if  products were kosher or not. Misha looked like a hotline operator, searching the web for the products and answering Haim by phone. Misha had worked already as a mobile software developer and the idea came just during one of such sessions. So, the idea of the project “Is it kosher?” is to help kosher consumer find products in any supermarket all over the world came into being…developed by Beshkin and his parter Jevgeni Levi.

The pair started work on the Is It Kosher project in their home town of Tallin in Estonia where Skype was developed.

Beshkin  told J-Wire: “There is plenty of kosher food in ordinary supermarkets, but the problem is that not all of it bears a hechsher on the packaging. Usually is it done by the manufacturer for marketing reasons. Consequently, the same products may or may not have a hechsher on their package in different countries.

Jevgeni Levi

Jevgeni Levi

Local organisations which certify kosher food,  list kosher products for their current region or country to help people finding kosher products in shops.

The problem is that the consumer has to check a huge lists to find a specific product. If there is a search engine on the web, it is not always easy to use for mobile surfing. The more significant kashrut authorities do create their own mobile apps for their databases but a consumer may need to keep 4-5 different apps on their phone and check in all of them.”

screenBeshkin pointed out that products with kosher marking may not actually be kosher as the hechsher could have been placed on package by mistake or without permission. Kosher authorities issue daily alerts, but it is impossible to follow all of them. In the USA and Israel consumers may trust hechshers on packaging, but they don’t guarantee the items are truly kosher.

Project “Is it Kosher?” solves all those issues.

Misha Beshkin continued: “Our project is planned to exist on a global platform, which will help those who want to find kosher products in any part of the world. Our project provides immediate access to more than 80 databases in 60 countries. We accept any orthodox community or organisation and we offer our users to select whichever level of kashrut suits them.”

Currently more than 8000 users use Beshkin and Grinfeld’s apps each month with more than 70% being permanent users.

The project becomes extremely popular with the USA, UK, France, Israel and South Africa being the top five users.

The apps work on Android, iOS, Amazon and Blackberry devices.

Beshkin added: “We have also created a convenient web search engine, which allows users to log on to our system without a smartphone. You can search by product name, producer, category or even bar code.”

Project “Is it kosher?” has been accepted widely in the Jewish world.  The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) awarded the developers the 3rd prize in Internet Entrepreneurship field and the Nederlands-Israëlitisch Kerkgenootschap (NIK) made the project the official app for all the Netherlands Jewish community.”

The Kashrut Authority’s Rabbi Moshe Gutnick told J-Wire: “This is an exciting project and we look forward to working with them.”

The app has already drawn a great deal of data on Kosher products in Australia. The data has come from The Kashrut Authority of Australia and New Zealand. Beshkin told J-Wire that Kosher Australia had not responded to requests  for information.

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2 Responses to “Is it Kosher? – check your phone!”
  1. Lioudmila Levina says:

    Hi, can I use thi app on I Phone?


    Lucy Levina

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