Tuesday, September 13, 2005

And they wonder why the public is cynical about rabbis...

From In Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Post's local supplement for Jerusalemites, comes a tale of politics and religion, scandal and blackmail - in the mehadrin (extra-stringent) department of the city's kashrut certification department. It disgusts me too much to repeat any of it here - Read it yourself.

Personally, there is an upside. Since I'm not one to succumb to rabbinically-decreed economic boycotts, this might be a good opportunity to dine in one of those always-crowded mehadrin establishments that are now being shunned by the haredi masses.

Ultimately, anyone who relies on occasional inspections and signed certificates to ensure kosher enforcement is somewhat naive about the restaurant business. The owners can easily outsmart the mashgiach if they feel the need. The upshot, as the owner of Angelo's restaurant notes in the last line of the article: "I think you need to trust the owner of an establishment more than the piece of paper on his wall." Very true.


AS said...

I don't think they are niave for looking at the supervision. Yes if they want to they can try to outsmart them but it does not garauntee they won't get caught. Many have maybe not in your town. There is nothing wrong with havig strict standards ( checking lettuce for bugs etc.). If you don't agree with the whole issue you can eat wherever you please and that's your perogative. The problem with trusting the store owner is he is the owner and money blinds people. It certainly doesn't hurt if the owner is shomrai torah u mitzvot. Striclty to rely on that fact however is silly.

Zman Biur said...


I didn't say to rely only on the owners; on the contrary. I said you can't rely on the piece of paper on the wall if you can't trust the owners. It's not about whether they're shomrai torah, but whether they're personally trustworthy. Unfortunately, one does not necessarily imply the other.

But did you read the original story? In this case, nothing has changed about the kashrut status of the restaurants or the food. Rather, due to a political dispute over goings-on in the kashrut authority, rabbis have instructed their followers to boycott city-supervised restaurants. That's not about being strict about kashrut. That's about blackmail.

Which makes your other comment kind of funny: "He is the owner and money blinds people." The same, regretfully, is no less true about kashrut authorities, mashgichim and rabbis.

AS said...

I can't speak for these rabbis since I know nothing about them (other Rabbi Elyushav) the article says This was clearly intended, as a muscle-flexing pressure tactic, not only to force the restaurants to keep to the same standards as before, but also in the hope that the boycott would force the Jerusalem rabbinate to re-appoint the rabbi that had resigned or appoint someone else who would be considered trustworthy and could guarantee uniformity of standards at all mehadrin restaurants – and would be selected from among the followers of that particular ultra-Orthodox group. You can agree or disagree but Vaads try to keep out other hashgachas so that they conform to a standard. I'm not sure I see the problem. Since the people in place are no longer the same there is no way to garauntee the same level of kashrus. Of course there might not be a change in the type of products used by these stores but whose looking out to make sure. That's what it comes down to who do you trust. That's a choice you make.

Cosmic X said...


The story is much more complex than what is written in jpost. Ein Kan Hamakom Lehaarich.