Thursday, April 11, 2013

UPDATE: 2 Doheny Scandal- Déjà vu- Who is at fault?


Déjà vu- Who is at fault?
Some history is in order Déjà vu.
Some of the following information was gathered from various articles in print, including the LA Jewish times reporter Jonah Lowenfeld.

In 1983, Rabbi Pinchas Gruman was the chair of the RCC’s kashrut committee. On Nov. 3 of that year, acting on a tip, Gruman drove to Orange County to visit Los Alamitos Kosher Meats and Poultry, where he found some kosher meat and poultry in the freezer placed alongside non-kosher animal products. In an interview this week, on March 31, Gruman alleged that Engelman was the person who opened the freezer for him that day.

It is not clear what Engelman’s job was at the shop — reached on Sunday, March 31, he had no comment. Engelman was not the sole owner of the Orange County shop; nevertheless, he was the only person Gruman said he saw on the day he made the visit.

I’m telling you, he [Engelman] was caught with treif [non-kosher] packages, a goyishe [non-Jewish] company,” Gruman said. “I did not do any detective work as I did in other stores. This was, you walked in, he opened up the refrigerator, you opened up the freezer, and you pulled it out.

Mr. Engelman is the Owner of Doheny butcher shop with a vibrant wholesale and retail business certified by the RCC. Prices are cheaper than anyone else and Doheny never runs out of any cut of meat.

A short few years ago in Monsey, NY Mr. Finkel the owner of Shevach butcher was caught selling treif alongside the kosher. Eight years prior to Finkel being caught, Yehuda Shain of Lakewood, NJ caught him red handed with treif product. Yehuda Shain notified Mr. Leimzeider the owner of Ultimate Caterers at the Atrium Catering hall that Finkel is selling treif. Yehuda Shain and others spoke to the Rav Hamachshir of Finkel & to his Mashgiach & other Rabbonim in Monsey area, to advise them that Yehuda Shain can prove to them that Shevach butcher is selling treif.
Finkel’s Shevach butcher never ran out of any cut of meat & his prices were very very reasonable.

The response was “Finkel is an erlich religious person, says a daf yomi shiur, is the Baal-koreh, etc & therefore they decided to refuse to listen to Yehuda Shain’s proofs. BTW, Atrium never used any of Shevach’s meat after that. BTW- Mr. Finkel was the president of the elementary school where both the Rav Hamachshir and his mashgiach were Hebrew teachers. Finkel decided how much of a raise they should get and they are his kosher certifier as well.

The same Mashgiach of Shevach also worked with another kosher certifier in NY area. Yehuda Shain notified that Mashgiach and the kosher certifier that one of the places that he certifies as a take-out also does outside catering (he was unaware of that fact) and he is using treif utensils in treif non-kosher establishments, even though the food (or some of it) may have been prepared in the take out that was supposed to be kosher. With such a lax kosher supervision (they were unaware that he does outside catering) who knows if he wasn’t also using non-kosher in his establishment.

In Flatbush a few short years ago, a butcher certified by an upstanding highly respected Flatbush based kosher certifier was caught repackaging non-Glatt meat into Glatt packaging. Did the kosher certifier and their consultant accept responsibility? Absolutely not. They of course  blamed the distributor.

A Rav Hamachshir recently undertook to certify an existing local butcher in Brooklyn, NY that had a vibrant retail and wholesale butcher. Many individuals felt uncomfortable with the reliability of kashrus at that butcher. The Rav Hamachshir asked Yehuda Shain of Lakewood, NJ to look into the matter. Yehuda Shain set up a meeting with the Rav Hamachshir and the owner of the butcher store. The meeting took place in the office of the butcher store. Yehuda Shain noticed some oddities; there was no computer,  no files, no rolodex, etc. After a one hour discussion of getting to know the workings of this particular butcher, Yehuda Shain said he is uncomfortable with the butcher sending his own truck to pick up the non-minukar  meat at the purveyor (he saved 3 cents @ pound) , instead it should be delivered to his store directly. [It was easy to realize that he can load the truck at another stop with non-kosher beef as well]

This store had a Mashgiach Temidi who opened and closed the doors daily. The butcher did his own Nikur on premises. Interesting that after that change (having the meat delivered directly) the butcher starting losing some of his wholesale customers (he was not able to compete pricewise anymore). After time he had to sell the entire retail butcher business as he was not anymore the cheap butcher on the block that always happened to have every cut of beef in stock and and never ran out of any cut of meat.

Doheny is a LA meat and poultry distributor under the RCC Certification. The other  distributor is under the certification of Rabbi Teichman. The RCC is of the opinion that they are the supreme kosher certifiers in the California area. The RCC certification and Rabbi Teichman’s certifications are odds with each other.

What was the rush to have Mr. Rechnitz ( Rabbi Belsky’s son in law)  purchase Mr. Engelman’s Doheny butcher and distributor? If he would have waited a few weeks at most, he could have taken it over at a fire sale price?

But that would have given the other distributor under Rabbi Teichman the entire area and the RCC would have to accept the kashrus certification of Rabbi Teichman on the Meat and poultry in California.

Recently there was the famed controversy re: the worms in fish. Rabbi Gershon Bess, the Posek of the RCC was heading the group of Rabbonim that said in the name of Rav Yosef Sholom Eliyashev, Z”L and many otherts that  it’s not permitted. Rabbi Yisroel Belsky claimed that it’s permitted. There were articles and statements from Rabbi Bess that one may not rely on Rabbi Belsky as it’s in direct contradiction to all of the prominent Poiskim backing Rabbi Bess.

Of interest that regarding the Doheny scandal, most poiskim would have said that everyone should kosherize their utensils (as the new Doheny owners did for their own operation).
Even Rabbi Bess’s RCC was looking for way to save themselves and needed a Heter, so they resorted to the 1-800-Make me a Heter.
Some four years ago when Yehuda Shain had a meeting with Rav Yosef Sholom Eliyashev, Z”L regarding various kashrus issues, Rav Eliyashev said “One may not rely on the hetirim of a certain prominent Rav, as it’s not based on the facts of the case nor the Halacha”.  Is it possible that Rav Bess was unaware of that?  

As long as the Kosher Certifiers &and their Mashgichim will not accept full responsibilty for these episodes, they may very well continue R”L.

The Prophet Yonah that we read on Yom Kippur afternoon. The story describes a huge storm that was capable of overturning the ship. Everyone on the boat was frightened and took out their idols. They started praying to the idols. When that didn't work they woke up Yonah. What did he say about the raging storm? "It's because of me."

Yonah could have easily blamed the storm on the boat full of idol worshippers. Perhaps his presence on the boat was a mere accident, and the boat was destined for doom. No, Yonah said that responsibility is mine.

In Kashrus the motto is כבדהו וחשדהו but the חשדהו must be bigger than כבדהו- Otherwise you should not be in kashrus.

There were so many red flags at Doheny that were ignored. Being color blind is unacceptable.

All of the Rabbonim and Mashgichim involved in all of the above mentiond episodes “ in all fairness” should step aside. Have other more responsible kashrus certifiers take over the certifications.

There are Kashrus scandals going on right now, re: meat distribution, Bais Yosef standard, Infestation checking by unqualified certifiers & Mashgichim, Non-Observant (michaleli shabbos) Mashgichim, etc

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gevald So Bottom Line Bess Is Full Of It He Bats To The Right And Left. Depends On $$$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

The big operator by the fish worms was a Rav Revach. Revach had a company in China cleaning the worms from fish.

Reb Gershon Bess had some business relationship with this Rav Revach.

Was the "Revach" the reason for his involvement?

Anonymous said...

Go bess go go bess go !!!!!! Chazir trief person ' only has him self in mind! $$$$$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

Rabbi Gavriel Finkel says No Need for Monsey Residents To Kasher Their Kailem

Anonymous said...

Holocaust survivors and the handicapped spot

sevara hu said...

Why don't people kasher following the example set by rechnits, instead of just blindly following the great rabbonim hamachshilim's pronouncements?

Anonymous said...

What kind of amhharatzishe post is this? unfortunately for your brand of demagoguery, I just saw this article
http://ohr.edu/this_week/insights_into_halacha/5418
which seems to be actually written by someone who learned kuf yud [obviously unlike yourself] which systematically makes hockfleish out of all your kashrus conspiracies with the LA psak! check out the footnotes at length.

LA Resident said...

Your article is a breath of fresh air. Bess and chevra at the RCC take a holier-than-thou position and think they are the ONLY Das Torah around. Interestingly enough, Chabad and the Satmar/Sephardic Ruv in Los Angeles, took them to task and have forbidden their respective communities in Los Angeles to buy by establishments relying on the RCC's hechsherim alone. The RCC is a manipulative and scandalous organization in Los Angeles. Bess's cohort, "rabbi" Union is known to take shochad in his so-called 'bet din'. The entire RCC needs to be disbanded.

Valencia said...

This is cool!