Thursday, June 13, 2019



Balkan Kosher secures 75% of all Kosher Certifications in Greece, 30% Growth in past 2 years, representing SKUs Sold Worldwide including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Safeway, Publix & Amazon

Meet and Greet at Summer Fancy Food Show, Booth 2206 at Javitz Center,
New York, Sunday, June 23 - Tuesday, June 25, 2019


June 14, 2019 - NEW YORK CITY, NY – Balkan Kosher is showcasing its innovative Kosher certification consulting services for the first time at North America’s largest specialty food industry event - the Summer Fancy Food Show at Javitz Center in New York City, New York on Sunday, June 23, 2019 - Tuesday, June 25, 2019. Balkan Kosher will be showcasing premier Greek manufacturer clients, including Aegean Naturals PC, GAEA Products, Rito’s Foods, and Kalogiros SA.  Balkan Kosher products are currently distributed in Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Walmart, Safeway, Publix and Amazon. Additionally, over ten Balkan Kosher certified clients will also have booths in the Greek Pavilion of the Fancy Food Show.


As one of Europe’s leading Kosher food certification agencies with offices in four countries, Balkan Kosher has garnered 75% of ALL Kosher certifications in Greece representing a 30% growth year-over-year for the past 2 years. Many original Greek-based clients have benefited from Balkan Kosher’s international marketing expertise including expansion into key markets - USA, the EU, Australia, Russia and Israel.


“If you are eating a Kosher certified Kalamata olive, chances are it came from a Balkan Kosher company,” asserted Managing Director Judith Kaplan, “If you are eating a General Mills product with chocolate as an ingredient in Europe, chances are it came from a Balkan Kosher certified company. In the US, Violife Vegan Cheese can be found in many large supermarket chains and pizza shops. Whole Foods carries Balkan Kosher certified 365 Brand (Whole Foods) Halva and Vegan Cheese. Trader Joe’s will soon be carrying many kosher snack items with Balkan’s Logo on the package.

Founded in 2012 by Rabbi Yoel Kaplan, the Chabad emissary to the region, Balkan Kosher provides Kosher food Consultations, Supervisions & Certifications in S.E.Europe (Greece, all countries in the Balkan, Cyprus and Mediterranean region. With offices in the USA, Israel, Greece and Albania; and agreements with international Kosher organizations, Balkan Kosher enables Greek food companies to enter the kosher marketplace and furthers international commerce seeking distribution to Israel, Europe, Asia, the US and more. Rabbi Kaplan comments “Remarkably, although Greece has suffered huge economic difficulties during the past seven years, Balkan Kosher client companies have found great financial opportunity and growth in collaborating with our experienced team.”

Rabbinical Director Yosef Kaplan added, “Our clients benefit greatly from our understanding of technical aspects of industrial food processing, which has enabled innovations in food manufacturing resulting in the development of many new products. Our collaborations have created mutual win-win situations for Balkan Kosher and its manufacturer clients forged with trust, respect and understanding between our cultures. Due to our proximity in the region, we are able to bring the highest standards of kosher at a cost 50 - 70% less than other certification agencies. Bottom line, we are small enough to give abundant attention to every need of our clients and large enough to assist them in reaching the international market.”


Balkan’s clients distribute their products in every Kosher marketplace worldwide and with extensive distribution throughout the US including Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Walmart, Safeway, Publix and Amazon.

Balkan Kosher’s Greek agent Thomas Vassaras, founder of GreekExports PPC, explains, “GreekExports has been working with Balkan Kosher for over 5 years now, and we greatly appreciate their professionalism, kindness and focus on assisting the companies to expand in the kosher markets. Given our belief that foods produced in Greece are some of the best in the world, we are honored to partner with Balkan Kosher to introduce them into the US market.  With growth and expansion as a driving, guiding force, many of our Kosher certified clients branded with Balkan Kosher’s certification have gained position on numerous retailers’ shelves.”


Rabbi Yisroel Finman, Consultant to Balkan Kosher, adds, “Greece is blessed with fertile soil and numerous microclimates, enabling a wide variety of delicious foods to be grown and processed. When I began consulting Balkan Kosher in 2012, my primary focus was to expose the Kosher consumer to these incredible foods. Pure, unadulterated Extra Virgin Olive Oil, numerous varieties of indigenous olives, and PDO feta have made their way into the USA and the international Kosher market.


Our current developmental projects include Kosher-certified Greek wine, kosher certified wine vinegar for Greek food processors, and expanding the availability of kosher PDO Feta into every major US supermarket.”

Over 10 Balkan Kosher clients are available for interviews at Summer Fancy Food Show. Below are our four clients who will be represented  at our booth #2206 including:


GAEA Products S.A. “GAEA started cooperation with Balkan Kosher in early 2019. We decided to use Balkan Kosher which is broadly recognized internationally for all our products that could be Kosher certified. We believe that this cooperation will help us to increase the penetration to the markets we target, to the maximum.”


Aegean Naturals PC.  “We currently sell our products in hundreds of stores throughout Greece including major supermarket chains. Given the high-quality and safety standards in producing and packaging our products, Aegean is actively exporting their unique AKTAIA Sea Crystals pure sea salt to Europe and USA. Balkan Kosher’s certification and consulting services heavily influenced importers, distributors and consumers and is a driving force behind our recent success.


Kalogiros SA - “We recently joined the Balkan Kosher community as it is a leading company in the field. We are very excited about our collaboration and hope for many fruitful years to come.”


Rito’s Foods. "Here in RITO’S FOOD we strive to provide the best quality of Chocolates, Cocoa and Nut-based Creams. After thorough inspections, our products are getting Certified by many companies including the well-known Balkan Kosher Certification. We are excited to work with them."


For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Consultant Rabbi Yisroel Finman
direct 305-304-0290 or via email at

To gain FREE access to the Fancy Food Show, begin registration here for a show pass:





Contact: Rabbi Yisroel Finman, Consultant

305-304-0290 (EST)


Albanian Jews Celebrate First Post-World War Torah

Believed by locals to be the first time the Jewish community in the Albanian capital of Tirana has gathered to dedicate a Torah scroll since World War II, hundreds of people celebrated the event with Israeli Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger at the city’s new synagogue.

Led by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yoel Kaplan, the city’s chief rabbi, the celebration saw guests ink the last few letters of the holy scroll, which was donated by Israeli businessman Meir Schijveschuurder in memory of the parents and siblings he lost 10 years ago in a suicide bombing outside of a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem.


Tour of Jewish Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki is a particularly interesting destination for the Orthodox Jewish public. It was the only city in the Diaspora with a majority of Jewish inhabitants, while the Gentiles were the minority. The   census of 1734 stated that the Thessaloniki  population totaled 40,000 comprising of  20,000 Jews, 10,000 Muslims and 9,000 Christians. In a census conducted in 1880, Thessaloniki`s population numbered 85,000 – 50,000 Jews, 20,000 Moslems and 15,000 Christians.

There were 73 synagogues, 14 Yeshivas, as well as Talmud Torahs and Jewish schools of various kinds. Today, even in Tel Aviv, there is no such wealth of Torah. In light of the public controversy over opening supermarkets in Tel Aviv on Shabbat, Thessaloniki was a Sabbath-observant city, and all businesses and banks in the city were closed on Saturdays. The port of Thessaloniki was the only one in the world closed on Saturdays and Jewish holidays. Above all, businesses, industrial enterprises and banks operating

in Thessaloniki in the 19th century were owned by Jews.


The Jewish bookcase has many sacred books written by the rabbis of Thessaloniki. To name a few: "Lekach Tov" written by Rabbi Tobias Ben-Eliezer, "Ein Ya'akov" by a former  Chief Rabbi of Thessaloniki, Ya'akov Ben Haviv and others. In the introduction to "Ein Ya'akov" the author greets one of the wealthiest people of the city who supplied him space for all the books he composed.


The chant "Lecha Dodi" that is sung every Friday evening was written in Safed by Rabbi Shlomo Elkabetz who originated here.




Chabad House Opens in

Second-Largest City in Greece

For Jewish travelers and academics exploring Salonica, Greece’s second-largest city and a fabled crossroads between Europe and the East, a new center endorsed by the local community is providing a menu of religious services previously offered on a spotty basis.

According to residents, the new Chabad-Lubavitch center directed by Rabbi Yoel and RuthKaplan has made a sea change in how foreign students – drawn to the region’s rich Jewish and non-Jewish history – perceive the ancient community.

“People are very happy that they are here,” stated Rabbi Eliyahu Sheetrit, the community’s rabbi. “What the Kaplans are doing for students and travelers is very important work. We support them 100 percent.”