Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Update: LA Kashrus scandal

 LA Kashrus scandal is continuing to cover-up the ones at fault.

They have no viable solutions to implement.

They feel with the right "PR", they could continue in the inter agency rivalry, and continue the cover-ups.

There is no reliable system of having properly trained individuals for infestation issues.

LA Rabonim say "we can't afford it, it's expensive, the consumer wants to eat, the food service establishments don't want limitations as "vegies are the in thing"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hirsch on SUCCESS

 Rav Hirsch notes that one of Man's greatest enemies is success,
 for, when he achieves it, 

he easily forgets his Creator and views himself as master of his own destiny.

One must recognize that success is our enemy, and that humility is our savior.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Kashrus Alert: 1-212-990-7238

Hashgochas knowingly gives klal yisroel insects to eat

Heimish certifiers certifies the:
 Kosher taste Brand

Bodek brand,

Bodek Garni bags

All of them are worst than Treif, Chazir, etc

Does the LA based RCC have qualified trained Mashgichim? NO- $$$

January 25, 2012 By Jonah Lowenfeld- LA Jewish times.
Can we afford kosher lettuce?

Rabbi Vann of the RCC of Calif.

Yossi Asyag is an entrepreneur trying to grow bug-free kosher vegetables.
On a Monday morning in November, two men sat on the edge of a field in Carpinteria, 85 miles north of Los Angeles. The older one, middle-aged, wiry and bareheaded, had the face of someone who has served in the military, worked in agriculture or, in his case, both. Alongside him was a younger man who wore a black kippah and looked, from his complexion, like he spends his days indoors.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Jersey Crosswalk rule

 New Jersey 39:4-36. a. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, except at crosswalks when the movement of traffic is being regulated by police officers or traffic control signals, or where otherwise prohibited by municipal, county, or State regulation, and except where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided, but no pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impossible for the driver to yield. Nothing contained herein shall relieve a pedestrian from using due care for his safety.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Glatt Kosher Meat Is Not All It Is Cut Out To Be

Glatt Kosher Meat Is Not All It Is Cut Out To Be  -By Marc Shapiro    Fri. Aug 18, 2006

Due in no small part to the recent controversy at Agri Processors slaughterhouse.There has been a lot of talk of late about how Glatt kosher meat is produced. Yet for all the sensational headlines about whether the standards of kashrut are being met, little attention has been paid to how those standards are actually determined. 

In nearly every Orthodox community today, Glatt kosher has come to stand for unquestionably kosher, with the result being that food carrying the regular kosher label is shunned. This is more than simply an issue of certification. Regular kosher might be okay if you’re in, say, Montana, and it’s the only meat available. Even then, though, you might want to think twice before bringing home such food. 

If you’re thinking of having a barbecue for Orthodox friends and throwing some regular kosher hot dogs on the grill, don’t be surprised if your guests suddenly develop a distaste for meat and profess that they’ve recently become vegetarians. For hundreds of years, halachic authorities disagreed as to what exactly could be considered kosher. The “Shulhan Arukh” insisted on no adhesions — Glatt means smooth, and refers to the fact that the lungs of animals slaughtered according to Glatt kashrut do not have any adhesions.

Rabbi Moses Isserles disagreed, and ruled that an animal could be declared kosher even with certain adhesions. In the Ashkenazic lands, regular kosher was the standard, with Glatt being reserved for the exceptionally pious, who were also willing to pay more. This is also how matters were in America. Since then, the Orthodox have adopted a new standard in kashrut, one that defines only Glatt kosher as acceptable. Regular kosher has been relegated to Conservative Jews and others who don’t take kashrut as seriously as the Orthodox.

On numerous occasions I have been informed by non-Orthodox relatives or colleagues that I can eat the food that is being served since, they told me, it is Glatt kosher, with the emphasis on Glatt. In previous years, it wasn’t simply the masses who ate regular kosher. The great rabbis did as well. So how did we reach this point in the United States where a practice that was basic to Orthodox society simply disappeared and came to be no longer regarded as acceptable? Much of the blame  or praise, depending on your outlook, falls on the Orthodox Union, which is considered the gold standard of kashrut supervision in the USA.

As part of its effort to achieve universal acceptance, even in the most right-wing circles, some years ago the O.U. stopped providing supervision to non-Glatt meat. Once the O.U. no longer recognized the validity of non-Glatt, it soon became verboten for the average Orthodox Jew. The great irony here is that the leading Modern Orthodox organization is itself responsible for creating a situation where virtually all Orthodox Jews in this country, even the most liberal among them, would not dream of buying anything but Glatt kosher. It is also impossible for a restaurant or hotel to attract an Orthodox clientele without being exclusively Glatt.

The O.U.’s move to Glatt is not the only example of the organization adopting policies that are not in line with the Modern Orthodox tradition of its founders. It was the O.U.’s move to Glatt, however, that had a truly momentous impact and changed the religious landscape of American Orthodoxy. Other hashgachot soon followed the O.U.’s path, leaving supervision over regular kosher in the hands of hashgachot that in many people’s minds were regarded as less reliable. It took just a few years following the O.U.’s decision before regular kosher was no longer regarded as acceptable in American Orthodoxy.

Yet this is not all there is to the story, and here things get even more interesting. The very meaning of Glatt kosher in the United States is not what most people think, namely, meat that has no adhesions. While this is indeed the original meaning of Glatt and the meaning most people identify it with, the word as used today means something more expansive, depending on which kashrut organization you ask. For some, it simply means that they hold themselves to a very high halachic standard in all areas of meat production. 

For others, it means that they permit only a couple of small, easily removed adhesions, a type of Glatt that was actually quite common among Hasidim in prewar Europe. One thing that is certain is that Glatt in the United States does not mean that an animal’s lung is completely smooth. Sephardim, who are supposed to eat only real Glatt, are under normal circumstances not permitted to eat the typical “American Glatt,” and they therefore have their own special “Beit Yosef Glatt.”

While the kashrut organizations have not exactly hidden this information, and will tell you the truth if you ask, they have not been exactly forthcoming about it either. There is, for example, no explanation on the O.U. Web site as to what it means when it stamps a product Glatt. The closest you get is an article titled the “The Kosher Primer,” which explains that real Glatt is free of all adhesions on its lungs. The primer does acknowledge that, “Recently, the term ‘Glatt kosher’ is increasingly used more broadly as a generic phrase, implying that the product is kosher without question.” 

Yet there is no clarification that the O.U.’s Glatt falls into the second category — which also explains how the organization believes it appropriate to certify “Glatt chickens.” A great deal has been written about how the Orthodox have in recent years adopted new religious standards. If they knew the facts, they might not be so attached to the Glatt-only culture of contemporary Orthodoxy — which is something worth chewing over the next time you munch on a Hebrew National regular kosher salami. Marc Shapiro is a professor of Judaic Studies at the University of Scranton.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

WHY Is a Lakewood Ruv hiding his "mechiras Chometz"?

The B'datz, Rav Karelitz, Rav Landau, Reb Chatzkel Roth, Lakewood Satmar Dayan, Shlita among many others including Reb Moshe Feinstein, Satmar Rav, etc always encouraged others to be present by the mechiras chometz. The observers may bring something to the Ravs attention, and it should be a publicized event- Unless the Rav is afraid that his mechira is questionable at best, then he hides and doesn't allow anyone to be present as one Rav in Lakewood has been doing for years, does not allow anyone to be present. Is the mechira valid?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Where and when is the next kashrus scandal brewing?

Where and when is the next kashrus scandal brewing?

All of the ingredients for a full blown kashrus scandal are in place, it's still brewing.  Keep tuned to here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

To Kosher or not to Kosher?

The new owners "Shlomo Rechnitz" decided to kosher the entire operation, even though most equipment was not used hot.

Therefore, everyone should step up to the plate and kosherize their equipment.

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

UPDATE: LA's Doheny butcher

There remain so many unanswered questions re: Doheny.

What was the rush?  Most kosher consumers had done their passover purchase of meat & poultry at the time it was revealed the scandal. What was the rush to find a purchaser? A few weeks down it could have been bought at a fire sale price. No reason to reward the owner with making anything more than fire sale dollars.

There are other kosher distributors in the LA area. They may be certified by RCC's competition, is that the reason for the rush?

The Halachic ruling of not requiring to kosherize the utensils is very questionable at best based on the facts that could have been known at the time. see
The RCC claims they are a not making any profit with their certification. Therefore it would be beneficial to hand over the reins (at no charge) to another agency that subscribes to the motto of  חשדהו וחשדהו especially when there were many red flags that should have been picked up.
The RCC says  they will bring in outsiders to do  a forensic accounting to see who's at fault. The RCC is going to bring in the OU where Rabbi Belsky is the prominent halacha authority, & he is the father in law of Rechnitz the purchaser. The RCC says they'll also bring a chasidesh one to investigate.
When one wants to be successful in kashrus certification, he must be very observant in
  נטילת ידיים "where one hand washes ther other hand"

LA kosher consumers may not rely on their certifiers re: checking for infestation of fruits & Vegetables.

LA kosher consumers may not rely on their certifiers re: checking for infestation of fruits & Vegetables.

The LA certifiers don't have properly trained mashgichim for infestation. The food-service establihments don't even have a light box, which is a basic necessaty. They say they can't afford it.

If that's the case they should close up, rather than allowing to serve infessted fruits & vegetables.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


As I was checking my 401 (k) account and thinking about retirement, I saw an article about nursing and retirement homes are.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Certifying agencies by being paid per pound ?

LA Certifying agencies by being paid per pound for allowing that brand in their certified establishments and distributors. Are they certifiers or partners?

That may be the answer to many of the questions raised in the latest LA Doheny scandal.

LA certified infested Romaine for Pesach

Locally grown Romaine Hearts were being kosher certified by a  LA Certifying agency as free from infestation. After we checked the Romaine hearts they were found to be infested. We spoke to the mashgiach to ascertain the system of checking & washing of the Romaine hearts in order for them to be insect free.

Romaine Hearts  have the leaves still attached, they are not washed as individual leaves. The Mashgiach said he observes the hearts as they travel on a belt through some sprayers and then it's packed.  He was asked but they are infested, you can only see one side of one leaf. He said talk to the certifying agency "I'm doing what i was told to do.

Los Angeles Meat kashrus issues is nothing new

Some three years ago  Yehuda shain was notified by inside sources that at a shechita for Los Angeles, there are numerous kashrus issues. Among them was the non kosher carcasses dripping blood, etc on to the kosher beef being kosherized. Another issue, was that the plant was giving the animals electric shocks after the shechita.

There were numerous certifiers utilizing that slaughterhouse in the west. One of the certifiers were notified & they said the recently dicontinued the use of that slaughterhouse because of kashrus issues. The LA certifier responded "My Mashgichim are of a caliber that nothing can be pulled over them, and as far as I'm concerned nothing is going on and I'm going to ignore it". 

The third certifier, sent down 2 extra people from NY to ascertain the issues, they had a hard time locating the shocking of the animal after shechita. A worker finally showed them where it's being done. They marked all of the days carcasses as treif.

Monday, April 08, 2013

'Tis the Season- California cellery have leaf miners

'Tis the Season- California celery have leaf miners. Out of 2 cases of celery there were 85 stalks with leaf miners. The Leaf miners are found in the outer darker green stalks. Their tell tale trails is a somewhat wavy translucent  trail.

Update: Blueberries were found to be infested regardless from what part of the USA or Canada they originate from. We recently checked with a company that produces Blueberry filling with a hashgocha their process. They use "wild blueberries" ( Cultivated blueberries have somewhat less infestation). They have the Mashgiach check them for infestation (and never found any blueberries that are infested). They cook it with water for a while then add the thickening agent. We were not able to justify using the Blueberry filling.

There was a large fish monger operation in the Boston area under a Hashgocha, but did not have a mashgiach on premises. The Certifier was questioned "how do certify a skinless fish operation without a mashgiach on premises"? He responded that he visits a few times a year and he has a special battery operated WAND that he passes over the tanks of fish, if there are any non kosher fish IT BEEPS!

He was asked how do you know it works? He responded "it never beeped"!!!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

DOHENY Scandal--Guest Post- Halachic Questions- Must everyone kosherize their utensils? The RCC Certifier, should they continue?

The Doheny Scandal an Analysis
1<  The Psakהולכין אחר הרוב

3) What was the basis for the “3:00 Sunday cutoff?” Standard halachik reasoning dictates that any product that was purchased prior to our knowing about the unauthorized boxes, is permissible for use. Since the majority of the product in the store was definitely kosher, any given item that we may have purchased can halachikly be assumed
to have been from the majority. But once we knew that the unauthorized product was there, all of the stock took on the halachik status of “safek”, i.e. being of doubtful kashrut, and therefore cannot be used.

The claim that since the majority of the product in the store was definitely kosher we can assume that the meat being bought is kosher needs clarification. If a store has 1000 kosher chickens and 10 livers of which 9 are not kosher and 1 is kosher, if I purchase a liver at that store I am definitely not allowed to eat it. We can only group similar items to create the majority. We must therefore be able to establish that we had a majority of livers, tongues, rib steaks etc. against the unknown product that was brought in. We must remember that we are dealing with a חשוד  who was previously caught selling טריפות. Since we know that March 7 he was photographed bringing in a full SUV with 8 cases of unknown meat & poultry, we have to assume that this was taking place every day since that day. For example if I bought  a rib steak on March 17; how do I  know that the day before out of the 8 cases brought in there weren’t one or two cases containing rib steak which would mean that at the time of purchase the unknown rib steak was in greater quantity then the RCC rib steak. Since we don’t know how much of each product he brought in, it would be nice if someone explained the math behind guaranteeing that every item bought since March 7 had a majority of RCC product to outnumber the unknown product.

2> The Hedge – It was only NON-GLATT
To placate the consumers who can not make any sense out of the nonsense of the Psak, they have come up with a second defense; the worst case scenario was that you were only eating  NON-GLATT. There are many challenging questions about this presumption.

A> Chickens – There are no such thing as non-glatt chickens on the market. It is ridiculous to think that he was labeling Empire or Kiryas Yoel chickens with Agri labels. The only thing that makes any sense for chickens was he was labeling Perdue or a similar non kosher brand with Agri Labels.

B> Basis – The basis for this claim are Engeleman’s statements.  We must emphasize that he is a חשוד and therefore BELIEVING someone who you are NOT ALLOWED to BELIEVE is not a valid option.

C> Misrepresentation – The premise that you are allowed to give someone Non-Glatt if he only eats glatt is in direct violation of the רמ"א in סימן קי"ט ס' ז  as explained by the ש"ך in ס"ק כ that this an איסור of לפני עור. Therefore if it were Non-Glatt all purchasers should have been notified.

3> The RCC - The quality of the Hechsher.
A> Supervision – הרוצה לאבד ממונו ישכור פועלים ואל ישב עמהם This is a universal maxim and is practiced by every business in the world. Making the mashgiach a scapegoat for improper supervision is not acceptable.  Why doesn’t the RCC supervise their workers to see if they are performing properly. How many times did anyone from the Vaad HaKashrus set foot on the premises? Who was accountable for the Mashgiach’s performance? For how many months or years was the mashgiach leaving his post to go daven.

B>Auditing -· We also painstakingly reviewed invoices of product received and sold.                                                Please be so kind as to detail the frequency of the review and to publish the worksheets and formulas used to explain why the smuggling was not detected.

C> Not For Profit – They always emphasize this in their communications. This is because the public does not understand what not for profit means. Not for profit means that there are no shareholders in the organization. Therefore if the organization owned a building or had money in the bank and it closed, the money could not be distributed to members but would go to the state (Attorney General) for distribution. It is 100% legal for board members or officers to take salaries. So all profits from non profits are distributed as salaries, they are therefore just as greedy as for profit organizations and they cut just as many corners to maximize profits which are then distributed as salaries. The greed and desire for their exorbitant salaries does not allow them to hire a supervisor for their mashgichim.

D> Whistle Blowing – The fact that none of the workers reported any thing to the RCC shows the confidence level they feel in the organization.

4> The Cover Up – Why No Investigation
The fact that so much time has elapsed and nothing has been published to substantiate that טריפות was not being sold creates a רגלים לדבר that there is no way of substantiating this and the best case scenario would be ספק טריפות the worst case scenario another Finkel with וודאי טריפות. According to the papers a new owner has closed on the business. Why hasn’t a forensic audit team been brought in to go through all the invoices, computer records and bank checks to try and determine the extent of the problem. The paper said that the new owner plans on retaining the old workers, why aren’t they being questioned as to what they saw and what they know.

5> Going Forward – כונתך רצויה אצל הבורא אבל מעשיך אינם רצוים
Even though we must praise the new owner for investing a large sum of money to keep the price of Glatt Kosher affordable to as many people as possible. He would be doing a greater service to the community if he found another kashrus organization to give the hecsher on the store.