Rabbis with integrity. That ought to be a pleonasm, but sadly as we know, it is not

[Hat tip BA] Of course in Melbourne, we have solved this problem with Super Rabbis, able to clear halachic practice with a single huff and puff. We need more Rabbi Aryeh Sterns around the world. Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Rabbi Shlomo Amar has recently refused to implement a proposal designed to reduce corruption in the arena of kashrut supervision in the capital, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Severe questions have been raised about the integrity and reliability of the kashrut supervision provided by the Jerusalem rabbinate in recent months, with concerns that some kashrut supervisors do not properly execute their supervisory duties. One problem in particular is a phenomenon in which supervisors are awarded supervision over more restaurants and food businesses than they can physically supervise in one day. Kashrut supervisors get paid either directly by the businesses they supervise, or in some instances by a manpower organization that provides the supervisors to the different businesses. The more establishments a

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Meir Gershon Rabi is involved once more in controversy

They say that all publicity is good publicity. I’m sure Meir Gershon Rabi and Kalman Gradman’s business benefit from each bit of publicity negative or positive. His clientele are set in their ways and largely are happy to leave the onus on Meir Gershon. This article and and happenings won’t bother those few. I understand there is a fracas brewing between the Australian Jewish News and Meir Gershon over an apparent refusal to remove a Dayan in London’s letter of approbation ostensibly originally designed to ensure Meir Gershon is accepted for a job as a Mashgiach. Where the truth lies I do not know. I am not a prophet. However, note that there is a concept called Asmachta. Without using it formally, it can be thought of as an adjacency relationship. This much I know for a fact. Meir Gershon has/used to have/ a gravatar which included Rav Belski from the OU. There can be many theories why someone would

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[Hat tip BA] November 24, 2014 Rabbi Hershel Schachter once told me that if there’s a disagreement in matters of halachah at the OU between him and Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, you are the deciding vote. The halachic decisors at the OU are the three of us. So if there’s a dispute the majority rules. You’re also involved in running the office? Yes. That is part of my responsibilities. Have standards been lowered over the years to expand and broaden the kosher market? I think that generally during my 35-year tenure as the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division the standards have actually been enhanced. There’s a good side to the kosher market’s expansion, and a less good side. Rabbi Berel Wein would often bemoan the fact that we’re seeing a lot more “glatt” kosher and a lot less “standard” kosher, a lot more “shmurah” matzah and less “regular” matzah. My own experience growing up in America was that even


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Come clean on meat kashrus, melbourne

Last night, I enjoyed a Simcha. It’s common for me to attend a Simcha, except that I usually eat with my band, and prefer to for professional and menchlich reasons, even when I am often also a guest. Last night, though, I was a regular guest sans any musical involvement. I was just a Moshe Kapoyer. As we sat down to the main course, I noticed two fine members of Adass who appeared to be vegetarians. The catererer was a fine Adass caterer, however, there was a sign advising that the meat was from (Chabad supervised) Solomon’s Butchers. Clearly Chabad prefer their meat at their functions. Some Chabadniks will eat Adass meat, others will not. There is nothing new about the fact that there are different approaches to Shechita. There is Beis Yosef, Chassidish, Litvish, and variations. These can vary because of whether there is freezing of the meat with the blood intact before latter processing, the expectation of the morality of the Shochetim (do they have an iPhone for

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Gelatine? I’m hardly surprised

The issue of gelatine and the view of R’ Chaim Ozer is  well-known and as old as the hills. Sure, the Oilom Goilom think that someone has suddenly leaped to R’ Chaim Ozer’s defence and set him back up on the pedestal of decisor for all. Well, R’ Chaim Ozer was and remains so! On the issue of Gelatine from Cows (not Pigs) however R’ Chaim Ozer’s Psak was not accepted. So what next? You can expect Meir Rabi to scour every nash in order to ascertain that they definitely don’t use pig gelatine and then make a splash that the delicacy is now suddenly kosher after all. Well, the facts are that all major world-respected Kashrus authorities didn’t and don’t accept R’ Chaim Ozer’s Psak. Those of you who want to follow Meir Rabi and his company (they curiously claim a”community service”, heck, it’s a private profit making business making money out of declaring things kosher) go right ahead. For

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What? Palestinian Coke isn’t acceptable?

See the article below from Yediot. Surely, but surely, there is a wonderfully opportunistic business opportunity for a Rabbi to do a quick fly over and declare that it’s kosher, importing and then selling to those who want to save money and “need” that stamp of approval? Just think, they could then serve it at Limud Oz as a sign of solidarity with the downtrodden and give it out for free when that imported BDS lecturer vituperates. Tikun Olam at its best. Rabbinate: Palestinian Coke not kosher The Chief Rabbinate released an urgent statement this week, warning the Israeli public against Coca-Cola manufactured in the West Bank town of Beitunia, near Ramallah, which is marketed alongside the strictly kosher beverage that has been manufactured in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak for the past decades. According to the statement, written by Rabbi Yaakov Sabag, director of the Chief Rabbinates Kashrut Department, and Rabbi Rafi Yochai, head of the Kashrut Fraud Division,

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Is Milk Kosher in Melbourne?

A number of years ago, while listening to one of R’ Schachter’s Shiurim, I came away with the distinct impression that he had a serious issue in regards the Kashrus of any Milk in the USA because of the prevalence of Halachically damaged milk cows aka Treyf cows. I discussed the issue with Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick of Kosher Australia and he advised me that the veterinary procedures extant in the USA were not germane here in the same way on account of the different feeding practices which obviated the potentially Treyf inducing condition common in the USA. I also asked Rabbi Tzvi Telsner Dayan of of the Chabad Yeshivah Shule in Melbourne whether in light of Rav Schachter’s views, there was a problem with Chalav Yisrael in the USA. Rabbi Telsner claimed that the conditions in Chalav Yisrael production in the USA were much better than the general USA dairy industry and did not have this problem. To understand this

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Improving the management of Kashrus in Melbourne

The Mizrachi Organisation is to be congratulated and commended for the incredible amount of time and money that they have put into Kashrus in Australia. Starting from מורי ורבי,   Rav Abaranok ז’ל the move over time to align standards with the world respected and renowned OU is something we should all celebrate and not criticise. Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick, and his team, of late, together with the lay committee are responsible for the thick booklet we now have. It is true that life would be a lot easier if all Australian products had a Universal Symbol for Kashrus, and if the Sydney Kashrus Authority also adopted the OU standards across the board. My feeling is, and I haven’t discussed this with Rabbi Moshe Gutnick and could be completely wrong, that Sydney tend to adopt the standards of the London Beth Din. These are legitimate, of course, but, to me, the OU is the best hechsher in the world. To appreciate

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Are we being misled by Kashrus Authorities-Quinoa revisited

Quinoa (pronounced Kin-wa). It’s not a grain; it is related to spinach. Its ברכה is האדמה. Its seeds may or may not be ground in the same way as Potatoes maybe ground and everyone eats potatoes (despite the חיי אדם trying to make them אסור on פסח because of Kitniyos). There are, of course, others, who assert that the גזרה of Kitniyos on Pesach doesn’t apply in Israel, but we won’t go there in this article. Let’s just look at Kosher Australia. Recently, a letter was circulated by Kosher Australia, explaining the reasons for food items becoming non kosher “suddenly” together with an explanation denying a sudden lurch to “the right.” It was a well written letter and I am a supporter of Kosher Australia aligning their standards with the OU. The OU, in my opinion, is the premier and most trusted Kashrus Authority in the world. Okay, I’m  biased because I ask (major) questions to Rav Schachter, who happens

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We are what we eat?

There are clear effects on a Jewish soul. The effects, both positive and negative, stem from actions and environment. We normally understand actions as constituting the performance of Mitzvos and good deeds (מעשים טובים). Mitzvos include the principal Mitzvah of Talmud Torah that underpins all Mitzvos and leads one to action (ideally). Kabbalistically inclined Jews amplify claims that there are effects on the spiritual Neshama (טמטום הלב) stemming from the physical food we put into our mouths.  Jews who are inclined towards rational interpretations of Judaism, are less likely to be concerned about meta side-effects to a soul from a physical item. Let’s take a concrete example. These days we mostly eat Glatt meat. Glatt means that the internal membranes of the animal are “cleaner” and, therefore, don’t attract attendant questions about whether a particular type of faulty membrane renders the animal Treyf. So called pious Jews prefer not to confront the question in the first place. If the animal is Glatt,

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