Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



A Honey of a Hobby

Barbara Bensoussan

It’s 2 a.m. when the telephone rings and within minutes the rescue worker is on his way to respond to the emergency call. But it’s not the frightened caller who needs rescuing. Instead, it’s a swarm of bees, who’ve taken shelter in a place where they’re not wanted. Who would get up in the middle of the night to rescue a bunch of bees? Meet Rabbi Daniel Senter, who by day is the rabbinic administrator of Kof-K Kosher Supervision, but after-hours has a unique hobby that keeps him very “buzzy.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

honey makerIf anybody deserves the title jack of all trades, it’s Rabbi Daniel Senter, rabbinic Administrator of Kof-K Kosher Supervision. In addition to the titles rabbi, mohel, and shochet, he hands out a card that includes the following: carded ASA umpire and baseball coach, EMT and CPR instructor, classic auto collector, master beer brewer, fishing guide, story teller, magician, balloonist, clock maker, swim instructor, and outdoorsman.

“I was always fascinated by how things work,” he says from behind his desk at the teal-colored offices of the Kof-K inTeaneck,New Jersey. Picking up a stapler, he says, “If I see a stapler, I want to understand how it works, why it’s designed this way, what materials were used to construct it. It serves me well in kashrus; if I go to a cheese factory, I want to know how the cheese-making equipment works, what it’s made of, does it use electricity or steam, and so on.”

The time he went to see a magician, he decided he had to learn how to do magic tricks; when he acquired a car he needed to understand what made it go. He even makes his own beer every Purim, which he’s dubbed “Shushan Habeerah.” But in case all the above qualifications aren’t enough rolled into a single person, most recently Rabbi Senter has added yet another feather to his cap: beekeeper and “rescuer.”

We usually imagine that it’s people who need rescuing from swarms of bees, not vice versa. But honey bees sometimes choose sheltered areas like the eaves of homes to build hives, and if the owners prefer not to share their space with bees, someone needs to carefully take them out (since so many bee colonies have been mysteriously failing, federal law prohibits the extermination of honey bees). Bees may also need a helping hand when they leave a hive in a swarm to seek a new hive, especially if they choose to settle in such inconvenient locales as the front doors of posh residences and restaurants, as was the case in June 2010 when a swarm occupied the front entrance of Cipriani on Wall Street, causing many passersby to fly away in panic.

Rabbi Senter’s apiarian hobby inadvertently “came to bee” through his qualifications as a shochet. “I had a friend who used to have a farm,” he recounts. “They’re an Orthodox family that used to keep chickens on the farm, and they asked me to shecht some for them. I came and did the job, and as we were salting the meat, I noticed some boxes with fencing around them. When I asked him what they were, he replied, ‘Those are my bees!’ and proceeded to show me the hives from the outside. It was late summer, and there was a lot of activity going on.”

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Speechless
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah