Kosher Glossary

Bishul Yisroel: A food is classified as bishul Yisroel when the rabbi has taken part in the cooking process of the food (by lighting the fire, putting the food on the fire, or adding heat to the fire). Kosher law requires this status for many foods (generally higher-end foods that are inedible raw i.e. meat, poultry).
Challah: (Bread): This term is typically used to refer to the braided egg breads that are traditionally used on Sabbath. (Tithes) The requirement to remove tithes from many types of dough owned by a Jewish person before the dough is kosher to eat. In an industrial setting, the company producing the dough will authorize the KOF-K to separate this tithe from a special box of tevel matzos that have been put into the facility for this purpose. (See Tevel Matzos)
Chodosh: This refers to products made from any of the five grains (wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats) that have not grown, or at least taken root, prior to the preceding Passover. Most kosher certifying agencies will certify products that are Chodosh. Some kosher consumers will only purchase products that are not Chodosh (in kosher terms called yoshon). The certifying agency will offer an additional Yoshon Certification to satisfy the demands of those consumers. (see Yoshon)
Cholov Yisroel / Cholov Stam: Cholov Yisroel refers to milk or dairy products that have been under constant rabbinic supervision from the time of milking the cows until the completion of production and packaging the product. In countries where there is strong government oversight of the dairy industry, most kosher certifying agencies will certify dairy products without constant rabbinic supervision. This is permitted by many rabbinic authorities (cholov stam). Some kosher consumers will only eat, or prefer, dairy products that conform to the higher cholov Yisroel standard. Kosher certifying agencies will provide this certification in addition to standard kosher dairy certification. Products certified as kosher are assumed to be cholov stam unless specifically labeled as cholov Yisroel.
Chometz: Derivatives or products containing any of the five grains (wheat, oats, barley, spelt, or rye) that have not been prepared in a special kosher for Passover manner. These may not been eaten or owned by a Jewish person over Passover. If these items have Jewish ownership over Passover, they are rendered non-kosher even after Passover (See Kitniyos)
Fleishig: Yiddish word used to indicate meat designation and any product which contains meat ingredients. (Note: kosher law does not allow meat and dairy to be mixed.)
Glatt Kosher: "Glatt" means "smooth." Technically, this refers to the lungs of a kosher slaughtered animal being free of any adhesions and therefore on higher kosher level than non-glatt. Nowadays most Orthodox Jews only accepts glatt kosher meat. It has come to be used in the vernacular to refer to any kosher item that is of a "higher standard."
Halacha / Halachic: Jewish law. All issues regarding kosher food production are governed byhalacha.
Hashgacha: Supervision. Commonly used to refer to rabbinic supervision or a kosher supervising agency.
Kasher / Kashering: Kosherization: The process or the various forms of cleansing and purging by which utensils are made fit for kosher use. This also refers to the salting of meat to remove its blood or the various forms of cleansing and purging to make food production equipment kosher.
Kashrus: Term related to aspects of food preparation according to Jewish law
Kosher: Term used to describe foods that meet the requirements of the Jewish dietary laws.
Kitniyos: Various beans and legumes that are not eaten on Passover by a large percentage of the Jewish population, those of East European ("Ashkenazic") descent, as they resemble the five grains which arechometz .Some certifying agencies will certify products specifically for those segments of the kosher market that do eat kitniyos on Passover (those of "Sephardic" and Middle Eastern descent). For all segments of the kosher market, there is no problem with owning kitniyos on Passover. (SeeChometz).
Mashgiach: The supervising / inspecting rabbi. The mashgiach supervises food production to ensure that the food is kosher.
Mashgiach Temidi: A supervising rabbi who is on the premises at all times of production and operation.
Matzos Tevel: See: Tevel Matzos.
Mehadrin: Of a higher quality. Often the term is used to refer to a supervision that has more stringent kosher requirements.
Minhag(im): Custom(s) and distinctive practices or observances.
Mevushal: Cooked. Most often relevant to cooked (pasteurized) grape juice and wine which has fewer restrictions than non-pasturized. Also has relevance for food for cooked Shabbos (the Sabbath).
Milchig: Yiddish word used to indicate dairy designation and any product which contains dairy ingredients. (Note: kosher law does not allow meat and dairy to be mixed.)
Parve: A Yiddish word meaning neutral, containing neither dairy nor meat ingredients. Refers to items that have a neutral status and may be prepared and/or served with meat or dairy. (See: Fleishig andMilchig above)
Pas Yisroel: Bread or pastry products that a rabbi has assisted in baking either by lighting the fire, putting the food on the fire, or adding heat to the fire.
Pas Palter: Bread or pastry that has been baked without the involvement of a rabbi in the baking process. Pas palter is kosher and items will be certified as such without a specific designation. Many kosher consumers prefer pas Yisroel products (see: pas Yisroel) and kosher certifying agencies will offer it as an additional certification. Products certified as kosher should be assumed as pas palter unless specifically marked as pas Yisroel on packaging.
Pesach: Hebrew for Passover
Posek: The rabbi who interprets Jewish law for application to specific circumstances
Rabbonim: Rabbis.
Rav: Hebrew word for Rabbi
Simcha: Festive occasions.
Shabbos: The Sabbath
Shechita: Slaughtering animals in the kosher-approved manner (see: Shochet)
Shochet: A rabbi who is trained and certified to do shechita (see: Shechita).
Shmitta: Applies to Israel agricultural products/ingredients only. Every seventh year, many forms of planting and harvesting of crops is forbidden. Crops grown in contravention of these laws are non-kosher, which another layer of complication in the certification of Israeli products.
Teruma and Ma'aser: Special tithes that must be taken from Israeli-grown agricultural products. The products are not "kosher" until the tithes have been taken. Ingredients that are otherwise innocuous from a kosher standpoint can be highly problematic when sourced from Israel.
Tevel Matzos: Matzos from which the tithe called "challah" has not been separated. These can be used to separate "challah" from current production.
Torah: The Five Books of Moses, also referred to as the Chumash, or the Hebrew Bible.
Treif, Treifa: Literally refers to an animal that has been rendered non-kosher because its limbs or organs have been broken or "torn." by a wild animal. Colloquially, it is used to refer to anything which is not kosher.
Vaad Halacha: Rabbinic board
Yoshon: Products made from any of the five grains that have grown, or at least taken root, prior to the preceding Passover. (See Chodosh)