Rabbi Yoel Kaplan
Chief Rabbi in the Balkan countries. Chabad Shliach to Thessalonika and the Balkan Countries.
Balkan Kosher provides Kosher food Consultations, Supervisions & Certifications primarily throughout the Balkans. From our offices in Thessaloniki and Tirana, we are easily available throughout Greece, Albania, Montenegro and all countries in the Balkan and Mediterranean region. With offices in Israel and the USA, and agreements with other Kosher organizations, we are able to help facilitate international commerce.
We are working with clients and vendors to Kosherize products and services for the benefit of tourism and local economies. Our clients are food manufacturers seeking to expand into the Kosher marketplace and hotels that cater Jewish events and tourists as well as to consumers that rely upon the high standards of kosher certification for Halal and other dietary needs.
Balkan Kosher is a branch of Balkan Jewish Communities, a non-profit organization.
Chabad Shliach To Thessalonika
With the backing of the Rohr Foundation and Merkos Chabad, and with the encouragement of Rabbi Shlomo Amar (then Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel) and of Rabbi Moshe BenTov, Sephardic Kabbalist; the Kaplan family arrived in Salonika in 2009.
Their mission was to kindle the revival of the Sephardic-Ladino heritage and to develop Jewish infrastructure to accommodate the rejuvenation of Jewish life in the Balkans.
The establishment of Balkan Kosher was one of Rabbi Kaplan’s first projects as a means of developing this infrastructure.
One of the goals of Balkan Kosher is to support the local economy by opening opportunities for Greek and Balkan exports to Israel, the USA, to Europe, Asia and more.
To this end, Rabbi Kaplan is in contact with government agencies and travels the world to provide business opportunities for companies in the Balkan food industry and to bring much needed kosher ingredients to Greece and the Balkans.
International cultural and government events are now much easier to host in the Balkans, because of the availability of kosher food and hospitality made possible through the work of Balkan Kosher.
Another obvious goal has been to supply kosher food for the Chabad activities in Thessalonika, Montenegro, Albania and the Balkans; as well as Balkan Jews and tourists with kosher food and accommodations.
Previously, visitors to Thessalonika had great difficulty finding kosher food and accommodations. Those Jews seeking family and Ladino ties are now able to make the pilgrimage to “La Madre de Israel” with comfort, ease and fully kosher accommodations (both luxury and budget).
We are proud to have helped Thessalonika to become a prime tourist destination, with kosher food and hotels available, so that visitors can explore the rich Jewish history and beautiful Greek countryside and islands.
While kosherizing local Balkan food products throughout the Balkans, many lives are being touched by the frequent stopovers of Rabbi Yoel Kaplan as he attends to the needs of Jews in cities scattered throughout the Balkan countryside; as well as by the constant presence of Rabbi Yossi Kaplan in Thessalonika.
Kosher Balkan is a non-profit branch of Balkan Jewish Communities Charitable organization, dedicated to providing the infrastructure of Jewish life in the Balkan States and supporting local enterprise.
A kosher certified ingredient or product could very well make the difference between making or losing sales to another food processor or importer. Many companies maintain kosher certification because it makes their product more marketable. Many companies, processors, importers and distributors throughout Europe, the Balkans and Turkey are kosher certified and will buy only kosher certified raw materials and products for their own manufacturing and sales.
Areas that have strong Jewish/Israeli tourism are also markets for kosher foods. There has been a steadily growing Israeli tourism industry throughout the Balkan countries especially since Balkan Kosher has made kosher food more accessible to hotels and for catered events.
Not only Jewish people seek kosher products. In fact, in Russia and the USA, the majority of kosher products are consumed by non-Jews. There are many reasons for this, such as the desire for a certifiable pure product, reliable food allergy content, and vegetarian and vegan verification. For the large Muslim Halal market, kosher is permitted; and there is often a desire among Christians to eat the diet of Jesus.
Countries with large Jewish populations have viable kosher markets. These countries are: Israel, USA, Mexico, Argentina, UK, France, Russia and Australia and more.
The Kosher marketplace is one more aspect of the food market. And in order to compete within that market, a food processor must obtain the services of a Kosher Food Consultation and Certification agency.
Israel, Macedonia, Montenegro, Rhodes, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, USA, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Crete, Croatia, Cypress, Greece, Herzogovia.
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