The Vaad -- Who, what and why

The Vaad of Northern California, also known as Sunrise Kosher, is a community service organization whose mission is the maintenance of a high level of Kosher supervision. The word “Vaad” in Hebrew means association. It is composed of Rabbinic and lay leaders providing kosher certification, supervision, and inspection for caterers, wholesale and retail food vendors, and food production companies in Northern California.

Currently the VAAD supervises 9 eating establishments, 55 food production facilities, 7 caterers who are always kosher, and supervises over 150 events annually, with all caterers.

A complete directory is available on the website :

Formed along the lines of similar organizations in Jewish communities throughout the world, the Vaad was founded in the winter of 1996 after discussions for several years regarding the need for improved kosher standards in Northern California.

The Vaad Standards equal, or exceed, those set for the kashrus world by the other leading kosher certification agencies. Consumers eating in VAAD establishments, or partaking of VAAD certified kosher foods, can be assured of standards that would be acceptable in any major kosher center around the world, be it New York, Los Angeles, or Jerusalem. Likewise, tourists from all over the world who come to see the wonders of Northern California, also feel comfortable, knowing that they can enjoy standards equal to what they have back home.

Because the VAAD is the major local, regional kashrus agency for Northern California it provides several benefits to local companies and communities alike.

1) Cost is minimized, since all the Rabbis are local.

2) Communication is easy and on a moment’s notice, Rabbis can be available. 3) Familiarity with the territory is assured, both in terms of geography, but politically, and economically as well.

4) Breadth of knowledge and input is provided from the various resources in the community and beyond.

Rabbi BenZion Welton, the Executive Director, is the founder and Director of the VAAD and has worked for several of the national kosher supervision agencies for over thirty years. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration He has studied in Rabbinic setting for several years and has supervised the Vaad of Northern California for over twenty five years.

Rabbi Avi Lebowitz is the Rabbinic Administrator and has been the head of the Jewish Study Network Kollel in the Palo Alto Area for over ten years.