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Meir Rabi on the Sydney Kashrut Imbroglio

October 31, 2013 – 10:03 am66 Comments

By Rabbi Meir Rabi:

kashrut2

The cover of the book, “Is It Kosher?” by Rabbi E. Eidlitz

So you go to a religious friend’s home for dinner, they don’t have a Rabbi or a Mashgiach to verify that the food is Kosher. No worries we will eat.

Same friend makes a party at home for 50 friends, buys foods and drinks, cooks and prepares foods themselves as well; still don’t have a Rabbi or a Mashgiach to verify the food is Kosher. No worries we will eat.

Same friend makes a party at home for 200 friends, hires a chef, kitchen and serving staff. Do they now require a rabbi and a Mashgiach to verify the food is Kosher? Will we eat the food? Probably will eat the food.

Is this all OK because it is prepared as a HOME function? So when the food is PREPARED and SERVED at home, we are secure that those hosting the party are monitoring and are vigilant about the Kashrus standards and protocols. They are in control. However, when the food is prepared and served elsewhere, it is too difficult and onerous to maintain vigilance over protocols and standards. It is one thing to work within one’s own kitchen and maintain control but when the food preparation and serving moves into an alien environment which is also used for non-Kosher, we are entering a danger zone, an arena where common home experience does not provide the confidence and comfort that enables one to securely maintain Kosher protocols and standards. Sure the foods are identical as at home, but there are questions about how various kitchen appliances can be made Kosher if they were used for non-Kosher, how the kitchen and services can be isolated from the non-Kosher to ensure there is no cross contamination. Fridges and pantries will possibly still have non-Kosher foods stored in them and non-Kosher utensils abound throughout the food preparation and serving area. Certainly there is no malicious negligence, there just may be a degree of lack of experience that leads to zones of unawareness.

A competent rabbi will know how to Kosher the equipment, if it can be at all Koshered; his own experience and his experienced Mashgichim will have a practical knowledge of likely “black spots” and have tried and tested strategies for avoiding problems because prevention is better than a cure. And when in spite of all preventative measures, things go wrong, the competent rabbi will be able to decide whether the food may or may not be served as Kosher.

A Kosher caterer in Sydney has recently chosen to abandon using a rabbi to Kosher certify their production. There is no suggestion that they are asking the public to trust them regarding Kosher; for this they have employed a well known religiously orthodox and experienced Mashgiach. They have dedicated Kosher kitchens for preparing foods although the heating and serving may also be in function centres and their associated kitchens that do cook and serve non-Kosher foods.

Now the caterer is taking a risk. I refer not to the risk of challenging the establishment and breaking with small “t” tradition, but the risk that if anything should go wrong, let’s say a non-Kosher utensil is used, there is no rabbi on hand to make a decision that may permit the food. The caterer as we said is taking a calculated risk. The rabbi would be a possible insurance. It is quite possible that the rabbi may rule that the food that has been stirred with a non-Kosher utensil, is Kosher; whereas if there is no rabbi on hand and it is just the Mashgiach, the Mashgiach will say, “I am not a rabbi. I cannot rule on this matter, therefore it may not be used for Kosher.” Then again the caterer or the Mashgiach may have access to a rabbi who will be willing to give a ruling on the issue over the phone.

Would it be ethical for the rabbi to charge for his service?

BTW, has anyone ever heard even as an unsubstantiated story, of a Kosher function that was shut down or had a part of the menu pulled, due to a Kashrus issue?

Were we to ask the Mashgiach of this rabbi-less Kosher function, to document and declare what has been done to ensure this function is Kosher, we can be sure that a declaration would be provided that is absolutely identical had a rabbi been standing in the background providing his seal of approval. The Mashgiach verifies that the meat and fish and other foods are Kosher; that the vegetables are checked for insects the eggs for blood spots, that the cooking is performed with Kosher participation, that adequate strategies were employed to prevent using non-Kosher equipment and foods, that these arrangements were not breached, that if necessary, equipment was Koshered according to various standards, etc.

So the wise son asks, “How is this function different to all other Kosher functions?”

And apparently no one has the answer other than Rabbi Don Yoel Levy of the OK Kosher laboratories who has provided the following in a letter – “… regarding a caterer in Sydney who has employed one of his former Mashgichim to “supervise” kashrut and is purporting to be kosher. This practice is totally unacceptable, and conflicts with the industry standard and would simply not be accepted anywhere in the world. It cannot be considered as kosher certification, and is misleading the public about the kosher status of the establishment.” A copy can be seen on the KAS fb.

And the wise son will ask, “Why is it misleading? The caterer makes it clear that he is not seeking the endorsement of a rabbi for certification.”

The wise son will ask, “What are ‘Industry Standards’? Apparently they are not the same as Halachic standards? How are ‘Industry Standards’ different to Halachic standards? If the standards of Halacha has been compromised please indicate where and how.”

And the wicked son may declare, “I think Rabbi Levy is the one who is misleading the public. How dare he imply that the food of this caterer is not Kosher?”

Is this the reason that there has been a collective silence and sudden invisibility of the Australian rabbis?

There is however an important perspective in all this that must not be overlooked: what is the force that has initiated and that drives this break with our small “t” tradition? I think it is safe to say that the community as a whole much prefers to have rabbinic oversight maintaining the integrity of their Kosher functions. And yet, in this case, in spite of this preference, there are other considerations that are more powerful and more persuasive. What are those other considerations?

I think a great deal of courage is required to explore this because the answer may well not be the answer that has so far been ringing in our rabbinic ears, that we are the fairest of them all.

Editor’s note: to read Sydney KA’s FAQ on this matter, please go to: http://www.ka.org.au/pdf/MythFacts.pdf

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66 Comments »

  • TheSadducee says:

    Total nonsense.

    This fixation on what is kosher, what isn’t, who approves, what spoon was used etc is a complete waste of time and a diversion from the important issues that affect Jews in the 21st century.

    Let’s be frank – if Hashem was so upset about Jews eating non-kosher then why hasn’t He done something about it?

    There are Jews out there committing offences which cry out to Heaven for vengeance eg. covering up child abuse (or participating in it), financially taking advantage of their fellow Jews, ignoring their poverty and/or declining to improve their brother’s lot etc and yet nothing is happening – and the rabbis are arguing about who gets the revenue from certifying kosher restaurants – pathetic.

  • Not Impressed says:

    Rabi’s comments are total nonsense… not worthy of a response.

  • TheSadducee says:

    I think an interesting article would ask the question –
    “Are kashrut authorities for commercial food a legal form of racketeering?”

  • John H says:

    Meir Rabi,
    Stop with your tirades against the kosher authorities. We have grown sick of the constant nagging. You have not convinced anyone!

  • Robbie says:

    I was a mashgiach for the KA and I personally witnessed parts of a wedding menu pulled on the night due to a kashrut issue. It happens!

  • Joe says:

    I second Robbie’s comment. As a former mashgiach at functions, there was a couple instances that I saw a product line pulled and into the bin due to kashrut issues

    I am not sure what Rabi is trying to get at with this article but it stands to reason that an independent body provide standards. Would anyone take a product seriously that claims to be organic but does not sport a certificate from a known organic body?

    Having a mashgiach on the books smells to me like having a doctor being paid by a Tabbaco company. He is a doctor and obviously has the best intentions for all people yet with the cheque coming in weekly……

    I look forward to greatly reduced pricing from AIT due to these reductions in overheads. Let’s wait and see

  • and it appears that Rabbi Gutnick, Rabbi Don Yoel Levy and the RC of NSW do not agree about what the problem actually is.

    Rabbi Gutnick says that the present arrangements are “considered as if there is no supervision at all.”

    Rabbi Don Yoel Levy says no more than it, “cannot be considered as kosher certification”.

    Rabbi Gutnick’s colleagues at the NSW Rabbinical Council say they do not, “deem acceptable any communal function that is not under adequate Rabbinic Kashrut supervision”.

  • Joe says:

    I’ll translate. They r all in agreement, the paradigm employed by AIT is not acceptable as kosher at this commercial level. They use different words which mean the same thing.

    AIT is practising the core philosophy of It’s Kosher in stripping away all the layers of kashrut overhead in an attempt at providing a cost effective streamline kosher service which will encourage a wider acceptance of kosher by the general Jewish populace.

    You should be applauding their gumption and more importantly, the mashgiach who is leading this effort. Perhaps this methodology can be mimicked by other caterers and their mashgichim on the ground

  • Benseon Apple says:

    It is an immense pity that, yet again, Rabbi Rabi has used the incident in Sydney to advance his agenda against the mainstream kashrus agencies that he seems so intent on deriding.

    “BTW, has anyone ever heard even as an unsubstantiated story, of a Kosher function that was shut down or had a part of the menu pulled, due to a Kashrus issue?”

    Yes, as noted by several commentators above. I have also worked as a mashgiach. There was an occasion when hot soup was not served by a caterer owing to issues about the way it was heated in Shabbos. There was also an occasion when I supervised a seder catered by Front Page (whose owners are now the people in charge of the Sydney caterer Amaze in Taste). Whilst I did not prevent the food from being served, there were several borderline issues that I reported after the chag to Rabbi Gutnick. They did not make the function treif or chametz, but they were not ideal, and the owners should have known better.

    “The wise son will ask, “What are ‘Industry Standards’? Apparently they are not the same as Halachic standards? How are ‘Industry Standards’ different to Halachic standards? If the standards of Halacha has been compromised please indicate where and how.””

    Surely the chacham would not engage in such nitpicking Rabbi Rabi. Industry standards for kashrus supervision are not separate from halachah. As mentioned in the OK letter, it is unacceptable to have a mashgiach employed by the very caterer that s/he purports to supervise. Whilst the mashgiach in this case is a nice fellow and has extensive experience, it is an immense conflict of interest and logic would dictate that it compromises his ability to do his job in line with halacha.

    “And the wicked son may declare, “I think Rabbi Levy is the one who is misleading the public. How dare he imply that the food of this caterer is not Kosher?””

    Surely even the rasha is able to read the letter properly and to see that nowhere does its author claim that the food in question is treif. The author of the letter is simply saying that the kashrus is not in line with accepted standards.

    “Is this the reason that there has been a collective silence and sudden invisibility of the Australian rabbis?”

    There has been anything but silence on this issue by the rabbis in Sydney. If you were part of the rabbinate in Sydney Rabbi Rabi, you would know that the issue has been hotly debated. The RCNSW has come out with a public statement and many of the rabbis are involved behind the scenes in seeking to resolve the matter in the best interests of the community.

    On another note, TheSadducee questions the relevance and importance of kashrus in this day and age given the many other issues facing Jews and Judaism. I encourage him/her to read an excellent article on the subject by my father (forgive my lack of objectivity…): http://www.oztorah.com/2010/12/why-not-to-keep-kosher/

  • “paradigm employed by AIT is not acceptable as kosher at this commercial level” You mean that you [and they] WANT it to be not Kosher but you [and they] know that IT IS ACTUALLY KOSHER.

  • Ron Reichwald says:

    The real crime is that the authorities force many consumers not to consider buying kosher food, particularly meat, due to prohibitive cost. In Melbourne, the ‘chicken’ scene is a disgrace and probably illegal. The monopoly supplier price gouges. That told me many years ago when a competitor threatened to break his monopoly, that he would be put the new kid on the block out of business. He did!

    How about dealing with the real issue in our community. Child abuse. The Yeshivah leadership should have to answer for their crimes of cover-up in a court of law! I call upon those who have bullied the Waks’ from their home, to be EXPOSED!

  • Dear Benseon,
    To use your words and tone, It is an immense pity that, yet again, the “mainstream” kashrus agencies have ridden roughshod over Halacha and the community. As Joe says “AIT is … attempting to provide a cost effective service which will encourage a wider acceptance of kosher by the general Jewish populace. We should be applauding their gumption and more importantly, the mashgiach who is leading this effort.”

    You say, “Surely the chacham would not engage in such nitpicking”. Why don’t you or the rabbis just answer the question, “If the standards of Halacha have been compromised please indicate where and how.”

    We also see, with your testimony and that offered by others here, that a Mashgiach is well capable of trashing a food if its Kosher status has been compromised. He is no more or less compromised by the threat of losing his Parnassa than the rabbi, unless of course, the rabbi threatens to obstruct future employment opportunities of this Mashgiach.

    Do not ignore the Teshuvah of Reb Moshe, we discussed this on Jwire and I explained it clearly to you. Reb Moshe Feinstein Paskened, details on my website http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lone-rabbis.html, that if a communal agency receives any payments whatsoever from the establishments they are servicing, even if only to defray the costs of the Mashgichim (supervisors), then they offer no advantage over the individual Rabbonim who are providing similar services.
    Reb Moshe is discussing not the competence but the trustworthiness, the vulnerability to pressure or bribery. In this regard he says that an individual, be it a Rov or a Mashgiach, will be more fearful of being unmasked and trashed whereas the large Kosher orgs, like a juggernaut, will just carry on, crush all criticism – business as usual.

    Anyway Benseon, you admitted on Jwire, that the food prepared with a Mashgiach and no supervising rabbi is Kosher. Your objection is that it is not Kosher enough for your discerning standards, “not Kosher LeMehadrin” were your words.

    True Rabbis speak a precise language, it is the language of Halacha. If it is not Kosher then say so. But you have already told us that it IS Kosher, but just not Kosher enough for you. Not Kosher LeMehadrin. You suggest that the entire Australian Jewish community is best served by enforcing YOUR standards, Kosher LeMehadrin and those who do not comply with YOUR LeMehadrin standards deserve to be shot down and stomped on.

    And so Benseon, we cannot trust your integrity when you state that Rabbi Levy, “is simply saying that the kashrus is not in line with accepted standards.” He is saying like you that AIT should be shot down and stomped upon.

    Well, I suppose that is one way of stopping a Machlokes. Have you any other ideas?

  • Benseon Apple says:

    Ho hum, Rabbi Rabi is again claiming that the kashrus agencies – aside from his own, of course – are “rid[ing] roughshod over Halacha and the community”.

    Of course, all the kashrus agencies in Australia (except for It’s Kosher, of course) and overseas are extremist fundamentalists whose chumras are singlehandedly causing the masses to turn away from keeping kosher. Isn’t that right Rabbi Rabi?

    No doubt if these agencies were to be as meikil as Rabbi Rabi (gelatine, cochineal, et al), there would be an immediate resurgence in worldwide kashrus levels.

    Sounds like the goal of the early Reform movement in Germany.

  • Benseon Apple says:

    To respond to the good rabbi’s misquotes and allegations:

    1. “Just answer the question, ‘If the standards of Halacha have been compromised please indicate where and how’.”

    I have already answered the question Rabbi Rabi. It is there in black and white. Read what I wrote again: “Whilst the mashgiach in this case is a nice fellow and has extensive experience, it is an immense conflict of interest and logic would dictate that it compromises his ability to do his job in line with halacha.”

    2. “We also see, with your testimony and that offered by others here, that a Mashgiach is well capable of trashing a food if its Kosher status has been compromised. He is no more or less compromised by the threat of losing his Parnassa than the rabbi, unless of course, the rabbi threatens to obstruct future employment opportunities of this Mashgiach.”

    Rubbish. If I was a mashgiach employed by the caterer and had to deal with the likes of some of the owners (some of whom are not known for being soft-spoken…) I would certainly think twice before speaking up. As a KA employee however, I was not answerable to the caterer and felt no compunction speaking up.

    3. “Do not ignore the Teshuvah of Reb Moshe, we discussed this on Jwire and I explained it clearly to you.”

    Yes, the famous teshuva that you cite repeatedly on every forum that you can as a way of legitimising your one-man operation…

    I have also explained elsewhere to you – but again you have chosen to ignore it – that Rav Moshe’s teshuva is irrelevant in the Sydney scenario. The mashgiach is not a rav. He has no smichah. He does not purport to be an independent supervisor. The teshuvah deals with a rav.

    Aside from this, Rav Moshe’s position on this issue is not the widely held one.

    4. “Anyway Benseon, you admitted on Jwire, that the food prepared with a Mashgiach and no supervising rabbi is Kosher. Your objection is that it is not Kosher enough for your discerning standards, “not Kosher LeMehadrin” were your words.”

    I admitted no such thing. I said it could well be kosher. However, there is no way for me to verify this as the mashgiach is employed by the caterer and there is no kashrus agency that stands behind the kashrus claim.

    5. “You suggest that the entire Australian Jewish community is best served by enforcing YOUR standards, Kosher LeMehadrin and those who do not comply with YOUR LeMehadrin standards deserve to be shot down and stomped on.”

    Lemehadrin means kosher as I defined it on the other forum in which we debated. I quote from my comment on JWire (http://www.jwire.com.au/news/amaze-in-taste-says-mashgiachim-are-with-them/37756#comments): “a RELIABLE, independent authority willing to stake its reputation on the kashrus, and without clearly defined policies that meet INTERNATIONALLY accepted kashrus standards”.

    You really do yourself a disservice Rabbi Rabi. Your comments in support of the Sydney caterer help to undermine the need for independent kashrus agencies – of which you purport to be one.

    If each caterer or outlet can go it alone and employ their own mashgiach, why is there a need for a kashrus agency?

    Perhaps you should tell Limor’s that they no longer need you for their kosher Sunday breakfasts? Surely a mashgiach – any mashgiach of any caliber – can suffice?

  • Joe says:

    The more I read the more I agree with mr apple. As someone who worked for caterers I know exactly what mr apple alludes to with regards to the strong personalities of the owners. Many of them are extremely intimidating as they run their profit driven business. The mashgiach nay need to make quick decision that may cost the caterer financially or in loss of face with a valued customer, that is a lot of pressure on an individual with minutes to a service run…

    I now believe that this whole line of thought about making kosher more accessible and cost effective is truly a furfy. It doesn’t make sense and is certainly rejected by most irreligious Jews. The fact is that they abandoned kosher food not because of the prices but because it is part of them abandoning their association with the religious institution that they feel is irrelevant. If they don’t attend shul and work on Shabbat weekly they couldn’t care about kosher either.

    In fact, through this case in Sydney Meir ur comments have shown cynacism towards the Jewish community. The fact is the only people who’s lives are made easier and benfit financially in working with one man band kosher organisations and independent mashgichim are the business owners.

    The aim of the one man band kosher orgs is to encourage businesses to pay for a service they believe will garner wide spread kosher customers through minimal if any impact to their business operations (hence the sudden inclusion of gelatine and carmine as kosher, certainly not a world standard). I think the problem with this case in Sydney is that it’s kosher may now be made redundant as other rabbis/ mashgichim can offer their services even cheaper and work towards being even less invasive to the business operation through combining as many kulot as possible and reinterpting rabbinic correspondences over the past 2000 years to suite their current scenarios

  • Benseon, I appologise, it appears that I have touched a raw nerve in one of your sensitive spots.

    However, your blind spots are apparent to all when you “forget” to include 14 critical words from your comment on JWire (http://www.jwire.com.au/news/amaze-in-taste-says-mashgiachim-are-with-them/37756#comments): “a RELIABLE, independent authority willing to stake its reputation on the kashrus, and without clearly defined policies that meet INTERNATIONALLY accepted kashrus standards”.

    And here are those 14 missing words, “there is simply no way to categorically claim that the food is kosher l’mehadrin.”

    and to make it easy, here is the full un-edited quotation – “However, without a RELIABLE, independent authority willing to stake its reputation on the kashrus, and without clearly defined policies that meet INTERNATIONALLY accepted kashrus standards, there is simply no way to categorically claim that the food is kosher l’mehadrin.”
    So you admit it IS KOSHER but just not up to your standards of Kosher LeMeHadrin.

    After this, there is no need and no point to say anything about any other matters you posted, until you apologise for your unintended [because we do judge people favourably, LeKaf Zechus] deception.

  • Yaron says:

    Let us not forget the number of kosher scandals when non kosher was served under respectable authorities even when the industry standards applied. And these are the ones we hear about, I have heard about countless other incidents.

    In reality no kosher authority is really trustworthy. Industry standards are just some fancy words to hide behind so that they can avoid giving real answers and maintain their monopolies.

    Within this murky world of kosher there are at least some who are transparent and others who are using double speak. At least R’Rabi is transparent.

  • Not Impressed says:

    What needs to be understood is that with regards to kashrut there has to be the integrity of all concerned, the caterer, the mashgiach and the rabbinic authority.

    However, just like I would expect the quality of the food I eat at a function to be high, so do I expect the standard of Kashrut to be high.
    Any rabbi worthy of the title, should know that even in the commercial areas there are halachic standards that mustn’t be compromised.
    The conscientious observant Jew expects that.

    The only way to deal with costs is to promote competition, but not at the expense of the standard of Kashrut.

  • Yaron says:

    NI,

    What standards of Kashrut?
    One of the great marketing exercises of recent times has been the marketing of the term mehadrin when no such term exists with regards to kashrut.

    Something is either kosher or not.

    For example – can we use gelatine? According to halacha there is a good case to be made, but it is not ‘industry standard’. So does the business of kashrut override the halacha? It would seem so.

  • Benseon, I post these next comments for the benefit of those who are “intrigued” by your outlandish thoughts.

    When the son who is a Chacham asks for a “where and how” have Halachic standards been compromised, why does Benseon offer a NON Halachic answer? And if Beseon thinks it is Halacha, he must provide chapter and verse. Surely Benseon realises, that his evasive responses makes everyone else realise that the question has struck home and is an inescapable truth. And repeating the same mantra is not a good look.

    Besides, Benseon admits that it IS Halachically valid, as he posted, that this system is used by the Israeli Rabbanut, who need I remind you dear reader, are perfectly acceptable to the vast majority of Australian Yidden.
    Again Benseon’s perspectives are merely his own excessive standards, Mehadrin standards. Benseon insist that the fringe group should rule. [to which he seems to be blind, as in none are so blind ….]

    If Benseon requires the support of a rabbi to resist the “overtures” of the catering management, that is his call and his duty. But it hardly proves that Mashgichim in general are so spineless, or that rabbis have a stronger spine; or that rabbis are less prone to financial persuasion than a Mashgiach. Unless of course Benseon believes that this Mashgiach, who has defied Rabbi Gutnick’s non-Halachic dictates, is now vulnerable due to fearing that Rabbi Gutnick may obstruct his future employment as a Mashgaich, anywhere in Australia and perhaps also by Rabbi Levy, internationally.

    Here is another beauty from Benseon: “Rav Moshe’s position [on the big Kosher agencies being less reliable than the single Rav Hashgacha] is not the widely held one.” I wonder how Benseon knows this? Is it because that’s what he wants to believe; that the large Kosher agencies believe? Because it is only Benseon’s wishful thinking: not even the large Kosher agencies, who are the target of Reb Moshe’s accusation, have the temerity to say as much. But Benseon does. Benseon, is this where it is appropriate to say – Ho Hum?

    The fact is, Reb Moshe is extremely relevant because he discusses not the competence but the trustworthiness, the vulnerability to pressure or bribery. In this regard he says that an individual, be it a Rov or a Mashgiach, will be more fearful of being unmasked and trashed whereas the Kosher org, like a juggernaut, will just carry on, crush all criticism – business as usual. Remember, the Mashgiach simply says “I am not a rabbi. The situation that has arise here is above my expertise. You, Mr. Caterer, have chosen not to use a rabbi, therefore I can only tell you that this cannot be used”.
    Then again, the caterer or the Mashgiach may well have a rabbi who will provide a Pesak, a Halachic ruling.

  • Zephaniah Waks says:

    Yaron: “marketing of the term mehadrin”. I remember on a visit to Tzfat nearly 40 years ago, noticing many “mehadrin” signs on various falafel bars etc. I didn’t notice any special hechshers on the wall, and the owners/workers didn’t “look” particularly “mehadrin”. Upon asking around, I was told that they found the word “mehadrin” was good for business, and bore no relationship to facts on the ground…

  • Zephaniah, sounds like the story of the fellow who kept a Kippa in his glove-box, he put it on and stood alongside his car whenever he had car trouble and was invariably assisted by some Frum looking Yid

  • Benseon Apple says:

    RR claims I quoted selectively from my posting on JWire. Here is the entire paragraph that RR truncated: “You also put words into my mouth, claiming that I said that, without a supervising agency, the food is not kosher. It could well be kosher, as could the food that you supervise. However, without a RELIABLE, independent authority willing to stake its reputation on the kashrus, and without clearly defined policies that meet INTERNATIONALLY accepted kashrus standards, there is simply no way to categorically claim that the food is kosher l’mehadrin.”

    For those who are lacking in basic comprehension skills, this means:
    1. It COULD be kosher.
    2. Supervised kashrus is mehadrin according to my definition.

    All I can say in respond to RR’s other misquotes and his attempts to pervert what I have written is that, unfortunately, this is reflective of “It’s Kosher” as a whole. Supposedly leading the charge against the bully-boy tactics of the big(ger) kashrus agencies, It’s Kosher takes positions that are untenable in the light of contemporary halachic thought and practice. It also misrepresents itself and its practices as seen by the inaccuracies scattered throughout its website (the photos of famous rabbonim, the misuse of the letter from the LBD, etc.), and there is fundamentally fraudulent behaviour vis-a-vis the baking of chametzdik “matzos”.

  • Benseon, you really have got yourself into a pickle.

    Here are the words I omitted, “You also put words into my mouth, claiming that I said that, without a supervising agency, the food is not kosher.”

    So; you DENY saying that it was NOT KOSHER. You accuse me of putting those words into your mouth.

    Well, if you deny saying it is NOT Kosher – then you are admitting that IT IS KOSHER.

    but not Kosher enough for your standards, Mehadrin standards, which ought to be foisted upon the entire Australian Kosher population.

    Is this where we insert Ho Hum?
    Have a Gutt Shabbos Benseon, there is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake and being loyal to Gd rather than to a tribal group.

  • Ian Grinblat says:

    As a kosher-observant Jew who is a member of an Orthodox congregation, I am appalled at the level of this “debate”.
    If kashrut is about holiness, how does this debate advance our holiness as individuals or as a community?
    Have we have become so distrustful of common sense that we are now blinded by an anxious need for rules?
    Shame on us all!

  • Thank you to all who have read and also to those who pretended to read my article and my comments.
    It is extremely satisfying to note the unintended but undeniable support of my detractors. They have nothing of substance to say about the correctness of the Halachic positions that I have outlined.
    Saying, “This is the Halacha” with or without the exclamation mark, does not make it Halacha. We need to see Chapter and Verse.

    Neither have they anything of substance to offer about the justice and ethical position that I represent.

    In consequence of their feeling miserable at having nothing to even try to attack, they resort to the old, tired and unconvincing tactic of trying to attack from other quarters.
    Ah yes, all in the name of Ahavat Yisrael, honouring Gd and promoting Holiness.
    Where would Gd be without them?

    We have been lectured, “When food is actually Kosher we can improve our holiness”.

    I agree. So next time you walk into a Kosher food eatery, take the trouble to see where the Mashgiach is; the Shomer Shabbos Mashgiach. Is he there or has he “just stepped out for a couple of minutes.” After you discover that, “he will be right back”, ponder the following scenario – you are on an El Al flight and the Jewish, Nebech non-ShoSha steward, serves you your Mehadrin meal but, you are furious when you notice that contrary to the boldly printed, explicit instructions that the seal MUST NOT BE BROKEN, the seal is broken. There is no question, you certainly will not eat it. So why then, is the food from this eatery, the meat, the fish the hard cheese and the Chalav Yisrael, any better than the unsealed Mehadrin airline food?

  • Joe says:

    What ethical position? What justice? ?meir, what r u talking about? obviously not the ethical position of the Kahn family to leave creditors including the kashrut authority, butcher and other owning hundreds of thousands across town and then starting up again under anew company structure? Nor the associated justice for the families of the string of small businesses left with debts they must write off.

    Interesting how the Sydney KA went out of its way to find a third party in this case OK to get another halachic opinion, an admirable way forward. Can we expect a similar statement from ur pal Rabbi Belsky to back ur halachic claims on this issue or perhaps Rav Wosner who you also have relied on in the past?

    Finally, you throw in the ElAl scenario red herring in an attempt to try and catch out other kashrut bodies. Once again, I look forward to seeing Rav Wosner, KLBD or OU coming to ur aid and providing some backing that ur kashrut at Limor is up to standard. It stands to reason that due to a string of errors and major shifts from normative approaches to kashrut as defined by the likes of OU, OK, KLBD etc… You don’t have a leg to stand on, even in a situation where u may be 100% correct like suggesting that the sun will come up tomorrow morning, there is a chashash as to ur reliability

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  • Joe in Australia says:

    Rabbi Meir Rabi wrote:

    you are on an El Al flight […] you notice that contrary to the boldly printed, explicit instructions that the seal MUST NOT BE BROKEN, the seal is broken. There is no question, you certainly will not eat it.

    All of El Al’s food is actually kosher so I’m not sure whether I would be concerned in this case. If it were another airline, serving kosher and non-kosher food out of the same kitchen, then I would agree with you. In that case the possibility of deliberate or accidental substitution is too great. In fact I once noticed a steward innocently adding non-kosher baked goods to a kosher meal, thinking that he was doing the right thing.

    To bring your analogy down to earth, as it were, the supervised kosher eatery is more like El Al: everything there is kosher, even if the chain of supervision is temporarily interrupted. This is presuming that the hashgacha has the technical skills to detect, e.g., the illicit importation of non-kosher ingredients. In contrast, a hypothetical restaurant that serves both kosher and non-kosher food would surely be avoided by all people who are serious about kashrut: there’s just too much risk of error, and too many opportunities for substitution.

  • Is it true that KAS [KA Sydney] was bringing meals to Sydney from Melbourne; at an early stage of this conflict?

    Were these vegetarian meals or was there a special dispensation provided to permit the use of Melbourne Kosher meat?

    Perhaps they flew the Sydney KAS certified meat to Melbourne, Kashered all the Kelim, cooked and prepared the meals and then flew them back to Sydney?

    Sounds like a great way to make Shalom.

  • Benseon Apple says:

    RR writes: “Is it true that KAS [KA Sydney] was bringing meals to Sydney from Melbourne; at an early stage of this conflict?”

    This claim and the information in the post is incorrect in its entirety.

  • If Beseon says it is so – It MUST be so

  • TheSadducee says:

    Ian Grinblat is correct – the tone of this debate is woeful for the orthodox community. You have a bunch of folks on here hectoring a rabbi about his own views and have been doing this for quite some time – why?

    If they object to this point of view why not just categorically detail why, avoid him, avoid his products and even take the issue to other rabbis for opinions to support their disagreement. And let it be – there is no need for the endless acrimony.

    If you are so concerned about your brother, in terms of their purity etc, then why aren’t these ‘kosher police’ utilising their considerable energy and resources to assist Jews in need – perhaps start businesses that supply kosher food at affordable prices etc or providing lectures for free to Jews to help them understand kashrut and implement it in their lives?

  • Joe in Australia says:

    You have a bunch of folks on here hectoring a rabbi about his own views and have been doing this for quite some time – why?

    Hectoring whom? Meir Rabi? This is his soap box, of course people are responding to him. As for your other criticism, to which I might reply tu quoque, how do you know what other posters do or not do in their personal lives?

  • TheSadducee says:

    I don’t know what people do in their personal lives. I can suggest however that the time that they spend on the internet criticising rabbi rabi could be better spent doing more useful and beneficial things. :) But who knows? Perhaps certain critics of rabbi rabi type with one hand while dispensing charity with the other!

    And to suggest that certain posters haven’t hectored rabbi rabi here is either disingenuous or dishonest. yes of course you can respond to him, but to consistently argue with and criticise him and his views over an extended period moves beyond legitimate and productive discussion into that of non-productive conflict.

    The internet is a little like the sword of damocles you know – I happened to find this post from you from an earlier rabbi rabi article which suggested that even you thought that the critics were going a little too far…

    Joe in Australia says:

    June 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    There’s no need to badger R’ Rabi.

  • Kosher Fest, an annual meeting of world-wide Kashrus agencies [and running at this present moment] is dedicated to promoting Kosher food manufacturers.

    This promotion is not just the manufacturers promoting themselves, it is the Kosher agencies promoting. I wonder if anyone suggests [is brave enough to suggest] that there might be a conflict of interest in the proximity and intimacy of these liaisons.

    Is this not pretty much the concern of Rabbi Feinstein? Reb Moshe criticises the trustworthiness, the vulnerability to pressure and how subtleties can distort one’s perception. The Torah warns that even those who are Wise, will be blinded by bribery. Accordingly, he advocates that no financial connection, he does not speak of gain, in fact he clearly states even if only to defray the costs of the supervisor, the system is contaminated and will be better served by the small single rabbi Kosher authority.

    In this regard he says that an individual, be it a Rov or a Mashgiach, will be more fearful of being unmasked and trashed whereas the Kosher org, like a juggernaut, will just carry on, crush all criticism – business as usual.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    I am large, I contain multitudes.

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  • Joe says:

    Meir, I’m still unsure of what you r saying? It would seem that you are trying to disqualify your own kosher organization by explaining the superiority of the model that AIT is progressing with a stand alone mashgiach.

    Your authority provides a multitude of certifications across multiple domains, including catering, bakeries, dairy, large corp manufacturers and you hire mashgichim as and when you require alongside your business partner in Mr Gradman? You seem to be disqualifying yourself as per Reb Moshe

    It would seem that the differentiator between your group and others is that you don’t have any Rabbinic endorsement either local or internationally to your methodologies and practices. In addition, the other organisations don’t have any business partners but rather laymen willing to give of their time for the community.

  • I do not support the AIT model as it is presently running
    – however that does not mean that AIT’s arrangements are Halachically invalid
    – it is Halachically wrong to suggest or imply that AIT’s foods are not Kosher
    – it is also wrong, on many other levels and from many perspectives, to suggest or imply that AIT’s foods are not Kosher

    I prefer that a Rov provides the ultimate assurances that public functions are Kosher.
    – however that does not mean that in these or other circumstances it is wrong to use a Mashgiach with or without a visible Rov

    I support Mehadrin standards
    – however, this does not mean that it is correct to enforce these standards upon the general community

    Reb Moshe Paskens, as all clear minded readers can see for themselves at http://www.kosherveyosher.com/lone-rabbis.html, that the large Kashrus orgs are less reliable since they are more prone to being careless since there are no real repercussions for any failures, whereas the single rabbi Kosher authority faces being trashed for any omissions or mess ups.
    The only way a large agency would be superior is if absolutely no financial benefits are accrued, even if only to defray the costs of the Mashgiach.

    Reb Moshe’s ruling is supported by our unfortunate experience. We have Kosher certified eaterie that processes meat, fish, hard cheese or ChYisr, yet never have full time supervision by a ShShabbos.

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  • We unfortunately, are not surprised that the established facts, eateries sporting kosher certification, which process meat, fish, hard cheese or ChYisr, yet never have full time supervision by a ShShabbos; issues that can and should be verified and corrected by responsible rabbis (and honest posters) are not.

    This is tragic evidence supporting Reb Moshe’s ruling, that Kosher orgs and rabbinic groups, are more likely to be irresponsible than single Rabbanim.

    Everyone blessed with common sense can only wonder [and form their own conclusions] at the refusal of some posters here, and the community rabbanim in general, to address these foundational issues.

  • Insulted Intelligence says:

    RR, as you are so close with Rav Belsky of OU which is the world leader in Kosher Orgs that run in this manner contrary to Rav Moshe. Has he provided you with clarity as to why most groups don’t abide by Rav Moshe on this issue and whether there is another opinion that everyone else seems to follow including his own Kosher body.

  • bobby basrah says:

    Benseon Apple :
    RR writes: “Is it true that KAS [KA Sydney] was bringing meals to Sydney from Melbourne; at an early stage of this conflict?”

    This claim and the information in the post is incorrect in its entirety.
    +

    Sorry BA, YOU are wrong.500-600 meals per day (mainly fleishig)
    is being ‘imported’ daily by KA from Unger in Melb.

    And another important point made to me by several Sydney caterers.
    The reason why AIT (or its previous gilgul) were so much in demand was because Rabbi Moshe Gutnick and his KA assisted them in securing exclusivity for all the major hotels and function rooms. Now this has come back to bite him

  • emanuel newgant says:

    Insulted Intelligence: Is this the Belsky you mean?
    https://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/belsky-harmed-kolko-and-his-victims-family/
    Yes, he sounds very reliable.

  • Benseon Apple says:

    bobby basrah: The meals are brought to Sydney by a community organisation, not the KA… As such, the meals are under Kosher Australia.

  • Reb Moshe did not disqualify [nor did I] the large Kosher orgs, he merely says that the single Rabbi Kashrus Authority is more reliable.

    I prove Reb Moshe’s wisdom from our own Australian experience. Australian Kosher certified eateries operated by non-ShShabbos do not have full time ShShabbos Mashgichim, yet the Kosher orgs remain unchallenged and unrepentant.

    Everyone can and should ask to see the Mashgiach before they eat food from eateries that are not run by a ShShabbos.

    Reliable Kashrus agencies do not certify eateries that do not have a dedicated ShShabbos Mashgiach, and the OU do not even rely upon a ShShabbos owner operator.

    I have discussed some Kashrus issues with Reb Yisroel Belsky.

    Thank you Bobby; will Benseon Apple now apologise and retract his untrue statements?

  • That’s a great apology, Benseon.

    Twisted and perfect for upholding the very high Kashrus standards of our very reliable Kashrut authorities.

  • judging by the sophistication and difficulty of brokering a “peace agreement” between AIT and KAS, one must wonder if the problem is limited to money.

    Read carefully Baron Revelman’s words [he’s president of the Kashrut Authority]- why is he saying AT THE TIME? “At the time when AIT refused to sign a license agreement, the only points of disagreement were the bond and Director’s guarantee …” This was the problem AT THE TIME but that suggests that the problem NOW is different.

    see this more than 1000 word article from jwire
    A statement issued by The New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies attempting to work towards clearing the impasse between the Kashrut Authority and caterer Amaze in Taste has been described as “largely erroneous” by the KA.

    In the meantime, the Rabbinical Council of NSW has said it will shortly announce a new peace plan…
    Yesterday’s announcement from the NSWJBD stated: “NSW Jewish Board of Deputies president Yair Miller has urged the Rabbinical Council of NSW to find an urgent interim solution to the impasse over Amaze in Taste and to find a long-term solution which restores community confidence in corporate governance and transparency around kosher catering in NSW.

    The current uncertainty around kosher certification has led to an untenable situation,” he said. “There is a widespread lack of confidence in the current corporate governance around kashrut provision in NSW.

    There is a unanimous view that this situation needs to be resolved in a manner that is in the best long-term interests of the community and is done in a manner that ensures complete communal confidence in the provision of kashrut in NSW. There is also an urgent need for an interim solution to be found.”

    Miller emphasised that “there is no attempt to pass judgment on either the Kashrut Authority of NSW (KA) or any kosher provider, nor do we claim to be making a judgment on the kashrut status of any entity”.

    However, “as the lay leadership of the community, it appears that the current dispute is primarily focused on financial and commercial considerations only and not on the kashrut status of the entity involved. After discussions with many senior communal leaders, we are looking to work with the RCNSW to find an urgent interim solution. “

    A number of communal organisations and individual have upcoming major events, school camps and smachot, yet are concerned that none of the other kosher-certified caterers in NSW have the capacity to meet the demand, Miller added. “They are therefore left with the options of using AIT, bringing in a caterer from Melbourne or cancelling events. This is clearly not an ideal situation and cannot continue. We are calling for an urgent interim solution to be found and have offered to work with the RCNSW to find a long-term solution that ensures communal confidence and the integrity of the entire kashrut system, including food standards and corporate governance.”

    But Baron Revelman, president of the Kashrut Authority has responded by saying: “At the time when AIT refused to sign a license agreement, the only points of disagreement were the bond and Director’s guarantee, both standard conditions of our licence agreement to which ALL other KA licensees agree. This is also clear from much of the correspondence.

    Our meat policy is clearly explained in the “Myths & Facts” piece sent to you last week, and to repeat, endorsed by the ACCC. Not only that, it has been known to the Kahns for many years, just as it has to all other KA licensees.

    We presume you will incorporate into your article the various other points from the “Myths & Facts” article, as relevant.kashrut
    If this is a new company, no-one has any idea as to whether or not they can fulfil the community’s needs. If they are a rebirth of the old company – as clearly appears to be the community’s view – how hypocritical that they dredge up false issues of corporate governance at The KA, when it is they that left approximately $1m in unpaid unsecured debt, including to creditors in the Jewish community.

    Many already licensed caterers, who willingly abide by KA terms and conditions, can fulfil the needs of the community and yes, if necessary, so can Melbourne caterers also under KA supervision, as has happened in the past – all at least as economically as AIT. This caterer should not be allowed to hold the KA and the community to ransom and receive preferential treatment.

    The KA is extremely surprised that the BOD saw fit to issue a statement without first consulting with The KA, and only two days before a scheduled meeting with The KA that was arranged two weeks ago, by the BOD, to discuss these matters.”

    The Rabbinical Council of NSW is expected to shortly present a peace plan to calm the waters currently stirred up by functions catered in Sydney by Amaze in Taste which is currently working outside the jurisdiction of the Kashrut Authority.

    The two parties have been unable to seal a deal for a KA license. The caterer has been working under the guidance of an experienced mashgiach and has been importing meat from Kosher sources in Melbourne.

    Rabbi Chaim Ingram has told J-Wire that a meeting of the council to which two senior rabbis were invited has “come up with a workable interim solution which if implemented will bring peace to the community.”

    He said that the Council had a back-up plan and had pledged to find a long-term solution.

    In the meantime, John Mulligan of L’Amour Catering has assured J-Wire his company is more than capable of catering to over 700 guests. He said: “Despite advertising in the local Jewish paper, in the three years we have been trading we have not attracted any communal business…only private functions. But I have had experience in working in the industry catering to functions of up 2,000 guests including the launch of the Museum of Contemporary Art at which there were 1800 guests. I have been a chef for 23 years and now operate a Kosher kitchen in Bondi. A community function of over 700 would present no problem but I have not been approached.”

    Deena Miller of Kosherlicious told J-Wire that she would have to amalgamate with another caterer in order to provide meals for 700 guests.She added: “On Sunday I will cater a function for more than 450 guests and I have been feeding school camps for ten years providing meals for 200 kids three times a day for four days using the help of volunteers. Amalgamation is what the caterers did in the past in order to deal with big functions.”

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  • The inconsistency is breath-taking, as is the Chutzpah.

    Please take note, no one has even attempted to refute, dismiss or rubbish my repeated observations in this discussion, that our own Australian experience suffers “Mehadrin” and “Glatt” Kosher certified eateries operated by non-ShShabbos that do not have full time ShShabbos Mashgichim, yet the Kosher orgs remain unchallenged and unrepentant.

    Somehow, this is acceptable – whereas a Kosher caterer who has a full time Mashgiach prompts a reaction from the establishment rabbis as though a hot poker is prodding them, all hell breaks loose; because the caterer, although acting within the orthodox Halachic framework, does not bow to the established rabbinic system but elects to choose a legitimate Halachic alternative.

    Everyone can and should ask to see the Mashgiach before they eat food from eateries that are run by a non-ShShabbos, Nebech.

    Reliable Kashrus agencies do not certify eateries that do not have a dedicated ShShabbos Mashgiach, and the OU do not even rely upon a ShShabbos owner operator.

    The OU would not eat in these establishments.

    So ponder the following scenario – you are on an El Al flight where all the food is Kosher. However, you have ordered special “Mehadrin” “Glatt Kosher” meals. But, you are furious when you notice that contrary to the boldly printed, explicit instructions that the seal MUST NOT BE BROKEN, the Jewish, Nebech non-ShoSha steward, brings your meal with a broken seal which you certainly will not eat. So why is the food from these eateries, the meat, the fish the hard cheese and the Chalav Yisrael, any better than the unsealed Mehadrin Glatt airline food?

  • bobby basrah says:

    Benseon Apple says:

    bobby basrah: The meals are brought to Sydney by a community organisation, not the KA… As such, the meals are under Kosher Australia.
    >>

    Azoi?

    So whay does Rabbi Moshe Gutnick raise such a hue and cry whenever a caterer wishe sto import Melb meat to Sydney?

  • Bobby,

    Bension is not in a pickle, [like I said earlier] oh no; he’s in the Charif.

    But we still judge him favourably and invite him and also the principles in this sad affair, to apologise and seek truth, justice and peace, honourably.

  • We invite Benseon and also the principals in this sad affair, to apologise and seek truth, justice and peace, honourably.

  • YES
    BIG changes will be taking place in Sydney.

    Just as we see in our days, that the clergy cannot successfully outrun the community on various issues, and the harder they try to escape the more the community suspects and pursues; so too the hollow, disingenuous placating words that have been offered in response to the Sydney Kashrus issues will soon be addressed in a bold initiative.

    Our applause and admiration to those who have led and to those who pushed for these re-evaluations about what is most critical for Jewish continuity and integrity.

  • Amaze in Taste has its Herchser
    J-WIRE POSTED THEN REMOVED THIS ARTICLE

    Rabbi David Rogut and Rabbi Pinchus Feldman will represent the rabbinical council under which caterer Amaze in Taste will offer Kosher catering to the NSW Jewish community.

    A high level meeting was held on Monday evening at Sydney’s Montefiore Home where Rabbi Pinchus Feldman according to one of those present “dropped a bombshell” by announcing he would be resigning from the Kashrut Authority the next day.

    One of the main issues under discussion was the absence of rabbinical supervision for catering provided by Amaze in Taste who do operate under the experienced supervision of mashgiach Mendy Gershowitz.

    Attending the meeting were Rabbi Yehoram Ulman, Rabbi Yosse Feldman, Rabbi David Blackman, Rabbi Paul Lewin, Rabbi David Rogut and Rabbi Pinchus Feldman.

    Representing the community were JCA president Peter Philippsohn, NSWJBD president Yair Miller, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, KA president Baron Revelman and representative of AIT Hilton Cohn.

    In the meantime, Rabbi Rogut and Rabbi Pinchus Feldman will supervise the kashruth standards under which AIT operate.

  • I have communicated with Rabbi Ingram about the Sydney Kashrus issues. I sought his comment about having our communications [pasted below] posted in the public arena. I also sent an email to Rabbi D Blackman [Subject: Rabbi Ingram Directed me to bring this to your attention] who viewed it on Nov 13 – 7:20 pm – but has not yet responded.

    These communications are published in order to clarify the disastrous circumstances I wrote about in my article above; what ought to have been done and what has actually been done. Those who believe they are being loyally served are entitled to know they are being deceived and cozened with empty assurances.

    Sent: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 5:50 PM
    Subject: Have you any objection? I will be posting this on the Galus website

    Rabbi Ingram,

    You know my position about Kashrus in Australia and its problems. [we have discussed this on previous occasions]

    However, I write this letter to you now not to reconsider old issues but to challenge you over what you [the Council’s honorary secretary] published on behalf of the RCNSW [RABBINICAL COUNCIL of NSW, see http://www.jwire.com.au/news/kashruth-in-nsw/37913.

    I will be brief: the inconsistencies and hypocrisy is prolonging our Galus.

    On the one hand the collective you – all the Frum Rabbanim – are protesting that the established Kashrus norms are being challenged. But this is of little Halachic significance when compared to the ongoing situation of Kosher certified eateries in both Melb and Syd operated by non-ShShabbos that process meat fish hard cheese and ChYisrael, yet have no full time ShShabbos Mashgiach.

    Ponder the following scenario – you are on an El Al flight where all the food is Kosher. However, you have ordered special “Mehadrin” “Glatt Kosher” meals. But, you are furious when you notice that contrary to the boldly printed, explicit instructions that the seal MUST NOT BE BROKEN, the Jewish, Nebech non-ShoSha steward, brings your meal with a broken seal which you certainly will not eat.

    So why is the food from these eateries, the meat, the fish the hard cheese and the Chalav Yisrael, any better than the unsealed Mehadrin Glatt airline food?

    [And why has the RCNSW remained silent these long years over serious Halachic breaches yet is so quick to protest the AIT break with your expectations even though they are not breaching Halacha?]

    Best,

    Rabbi Meir G. Rabi,
    – – – – – – – – – –

    Some time later I called Rabbi Ingram but he did not want to talk to me.

    I sent him the following SMS message

    Moving same people into new positions is a recipe for disaster. Who will trust them who hid the Schmutz, to now be the guardians?

    he responded

    Rabbi Rabi. I am not the best person to speak to re Kashrus in NSW. Better speak to RCNSW President R. Yehoram Ulman 0414770*** or our Kashrus Liason Officer. R Blackman 0404000***

    I responded

    I know. As mentioned in a previous conversation, this is a Torah obligation. It is not any ONE person’s duty but EVERYONE’S duty. May we merit to greet Moshiach
    – – – – – – – – – –

    Rabbi Chaim Ingram responded to my email:
    On 13 Nov 2013 18:45, “Rabbi Chaim Ingram” wrote:
    I have every objection. I object to being singled out when there are SIX MEMBERS OF OUR RCNSW EXECUTIVE of which I am only one.

    If you post that I “did not want to talk to you” I shall hold you as being oveir sin’as chinom.

    Making enemies is not in your best interest.

    BeVirkas Sholom.

    Rabbi Chaim Ingram
    – – – – – – – – – –

    I responded
    Ok, so please list the six members.

    But the truth is I hold this is a Chillul HaShem [desecration of Gd’s reputation] perpetrated by all Australian rabbis. As the Gemara says in Shabbos 55.

    On the matter of whether you did or didn’t want to talk to me: it’s pretty clear from your messages to me that you did not.

    On the matter of Sinas Chinam, you would only have that claim if I did NOT inform you. I am pursuing this matter as per the Halacha. You have aligned yourself, and I have no idea why, with people who are degrading Gd’s name in public. I am encouraging you to break free from these people and publicly disassociate yourself from them and their dishonourable machinations. I don’t hate you, I love you and love HKBH.

    Thank you for your concerns for my best interests. My best interests and the best interests of all Yidden, are best served by being loyal to HKBH.

    Rabbi Ingram responded
    On Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 9:22 PM, Rabbi Chaim Ingram wrote:
    Your presumptuousness is astonishing.

    Please do not harass me any more on this matter.

    Rabbi Chaim Ingram

    I responded, Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    As you wish rabbi Ingram, but Gd’s command is to attempt to correct those who are mistaken and continue in these attempts, even one thousand times.

  • Benseon Apple says:

    Thank G-d Rabbi Meir Rabi lives in Melbourne. Imagine his “contribution” to restoring the peace if he was in Sydney…

  • Is anyone surprised that Benseon
    – – has not yet apologised
    – – will not address any matters of substance
    ? – ? – ? – ? – ? – ? – ? – ? – ?

    But Benseon must be admired and applauded for having the fortitude to use his own name and identity and not hide behind a false ID

  • Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Zt”l taught an important lesson but I wonder if we have learned it.

    He did not demand that others accept his preferences. He did not insist that his holy standards rule over everyone. He saw himself as a visitor, a guest who is always grateful to his host and lives within the framework of the host’s style and standards.

    But the Australian Kashrut orgs, wish to exclusively impose, by force, super Mehadrin standards that suit the ultra orthodox fringe group, a tiny fraction of the Jewish population and exclude regular Kosher standards by describing them as “not suitable” or “not recommended” and not listing them on the generic Kosher lists. Yet these super Kosher certifiers simultaneously, brazenly and cynically; support, endorse and certify non-Halachically acceptable, eateries: those that are run by non-ShShabbos and have no full time Mashgiach.

    Read the story below and witness how authentic religious leadership guides its community. A pity that Rabbi Aerbach’s lesson is pretty much lost.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was traveling home on the number 12 bus from Bayit Vegan where he taught in Kol Torah.

    An immodestly clad woman boarded the bus and sat next to him.

    Without making a fuss or indicating his discomfort, he waited a while, rang the bell, got off the bus at the next stop, and waited for the next bus.

    The student escorting him home asked, “Why did the Rav get off the bus?”

    Rav Shlomo Zalman smiled at his dear Talmid and explained that he was now learning a lesson more important than any he might learn from listening to his Shiurim. “We had three options.- Remain on the bus sitting next to the woman. But that is untenable.

    We could have moved seats. This would have saved time, money and the inconvenience of standing here in the cold, waiting for another bus. However, that would have insulted the woman.

    The only option available was to get off the bus.

    Rav Shlomo Zalman Zt”l taught this important lesson but I wonder if we have learned it.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    What a beautiful story. I heard a similar one! The Sydney Kashrut Authority was riding a bus when a caterer came and sat down next to it. The caterer wasn’t wearing a hashgacha, but the Kashrut Authority didn’t make a scene; it simply left the bus. Consequently, because of the Kashrut Authority’s discreet and courteous behavior, nobody used that caterer for kosher functions.

  • What a beautiful and gorgeous fantasy. What a tame, pleasant and heart-warming imagination. Walt Disney’s FantasyLand; at his very best.

    But the story was a little different in the fact
    – Robbie Gutdoer was driving the KAS bus.
    – It is the only bus servicing the community.
    – And it’s not because the community does not want or need more buses and more routes. It’s because Robbie loves his job.
    – Robbie does not want any other buses or drivers or routes to compete with his service.
    – Robbie has arranged with his mates to lock up the licensing for buses so that no licences will be offered unless they comply with the standards they design.

    – Robbie also insists that all passengers dress according to his dictates of Kosher and get off at his stops and constructs the timetable according to what he thinks is best.

    – Robbie does not care if his bus is not roadworthy.
    – He does not care if some of the stops drop people off where they are likely to eat at eateries that “reputable” Kosher certifiers would not certify.

    Anyway, one day Hilton chooses to open his own bus service. But Hilton is not granted a bus licence by Robbie and his mates. So Hilton chooses to defy Robbie and his mates. His bus is safe, secure, complies with all legislated requirements and services a much broader community.

    When this initiative is greeted with great applause and much congratulations by the general public, Robbie’s mates decide to ditch Robbie and offer Hilton a licence according to new guidelines and dictates. So they who aided and abetted in locking up the licences all these years now become, or pretend to be the champions of true public service.

    Did they live happily after? Maybe; we will have to wait and see. But double dealing turn-coats are not the sort of people one expects to provide for a happy outcome.

  • Joe says:

    I assume that those who you refer to as ‘Double Dealing Turn Coats’ are
    The ethically moral and upright Kahns & Cohn families who left many creditors with many tens of thousands of dollars of loss before setting up again under a new name and of course the ethically moral Mashgiach who obviously ensured a fatter paycheck than he had previously before making the move to becoming the in-house, on the books kosher authority

  • Joe, I am sure you have written to Rabbis Rogut and Feldman, and also all the other rabbis of the RCNSW, to advise them how evil they are.

    Joe has succeeded in making an ass of himself. He writes, “I assume” [ass u me] and in making an ass of himself wants to ensnare others in the same asinine foolishness.

    The double dealing turncoats are those who for so many years supported endorsed and facilitated the [stubborn, secret and stifling] establishment system that has been so successfully challenged by AIT. Now they are turning on their good friend, colleague, rabbinically trained and respected and trusted family, and offering to assist and endorse those who Joe claims are evil scheming immoral embezzlers.

  • Now peace reigns upon Sydney’s Jewish or Kosher eating, population. A rabbi has been appointed to look after AIT – and now it’s all OK, all Kosher LeMeHadrin, to the satisfaction of Benseon and Joe and the fringe group they belong to.

    Suddenly, Joe’s concerns about the propriety of the principals at AIT is no longer an issue.

    That one rabbi will undermine the single Kashrus authority – the glory of Sydney’s Ahavas Yisrael programme – is not an issue.

    That the rabbi is a close relative of the other rabbi, is like a sweet aroma for Benseon and Joe’s olfactory sensors, that aroma that Gd savours when His Children bring their sacrifices upon the Altar of the Beis HaMikdash – which was destroyed and remains destroyed due to SinAs Chinam. All this is not an issue.

    That the ongoing problem of sub-standard Hashgacha in both Melb and Sydney certified Kosher eateries operated by non-ShShabbos, which was not once denied, in fact there was not even an attempt to address it – is not an issue.

    When one’s loyalty is to the tribe then it can do no wrong. The tribe defines what is Gd’s will, and the Benseons and Joes follow.

    two legs bad, four legs good; until …..

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