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Categorizing different kasharus levels

My buddy recently went to the Upper West Side for a shabbos of boring conversation, shallow questions and a shidduch marathon which means 3-5 dates over a weekend. He found something interesting, when he asked many people where he could take a girl to eat, being as he is not from New York, they would immediately ask Kosher??? He found this completely ridiculous being that folks rant rave about New York as compared to smaller communities due to its breadth of kosher eateries, and how could someone who lived in a city with so much choice even consider eating treife. These people also considered themselves orthodox didnt they?

With that story I bring you the unfortunate state of kasharus within the different sects of Judaism. The most common being the folks who say they are orthodox yet will say Oh, I eat milk out, I call this psychological kosher, these are the folks that will go into the Olive Garden and order anything on the menu as long as it does not contain meat. Salad, soup, bread eggplant ptarmigan- thats actually what I would order if I were one of these folks- who tend to deny that their fish and sticks was fried up in the same oil as the bacon that is wafting through the air of the roadside diner they are seated in.

These psychologically kosher people tend to cross pollinate within modern orthodoxy and conservative sects. So while sitting in a shull with mixed seating is just appalling- eating treife that doesnt seem like treife is perfectly kosher- pun intended.

Of course that was generalizing, what about the folks who order a salad at a company party or at some conference, because they dont want to eat an apple. Maybe they will be embarrassed tearing open the 300 wrappings on those stomach pain inducing meal mart meals that the person running the event will inevitably order. So while your co-workers are eating from the 5 course gourmet meal- you are seen trying to use your car kets to get into your meal of old matza kugel and tzimis topped with an old Dr. Shoals shoe sole that has been drizzled with gravy to take on the look of roast beef just like bubby made.

Kosher style is what todays intermarried crowd does. You know the guys you meet with last names like Goldberg or Cohen, whos father is Jewish and they had choice between Catholicism and Judaism. Then you go to a wedding done by one of these couples or maybe they are fully secular besides for a kamtza and one mezuzah in their house. The wedding will undoubtedly have the finest in treife foods, then you will hear hushed whispers from the folks that grew up with Yiddishisms spoken in their house by their semi-knowledgeable parents, these whispers will inevitably be this wedding is so goyishe, did you see the shrimp? or I dont even think the bride is Jewish. Of course this is coming from people in skimpy gowns with children in prep schools who know more about Jesus then Moses. Side by side with shrimp and calamari will sit matzo ball soup and kasha knishes. Jewish food meets the ultimate in treife- interjewish fusion food eh

Kosher style also can happen when everything is treife but Jewish. These are the folks that define themselves as culturally Jewish- they may not even be Jewish. Kind of like in every city without a true kosher restaurant. They all have one of these used to be kosher delicatessens- names like Katzs or Foxes or Bubbies. Old school sounding names with big salamis hanging in their greasy windows, maybe some big jars of pickles and pickled tomatoes. Menus filled with homemade tzimis, kinishes and stuffed cabbage. Always run and patronized by the types of folks who get Lifestyles Magazine and Moment, maybe they are members of Bnei Brith and ADL. Kosher and Jewish Style without actually doing anything religious. Like the types of folks who donate to charities because its the Jewish thing to do, yet they will die before actually giving to a Jewish charity. The types of folks that protested Borat and the Passion, yet praise Noam Chomsky and Jesse Jackson, munching on their kneidalach, talking about how much the goyim hate them.

I spent the first days of Pesach with anarchists, well actually they were Lubavitch, but judging from the food they were definitely anarchists when it came to kasharus. Homemade everything including potato starch and mayonnaise, I felt like I was in a white supremacist camp up in the panhandle of Idaho training people like Tim McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski. Nothing is kosher on pesach and they revolt and do it themselves. Yet they are not militant about it, simply going about their business in a non-violent way. At least they dont go in public and declare that something is treife so they can get their way.

If you talk with any mashgiach or someone that works for a local vaad they will undoubtedly tell you about the politics within kasharus, which leaves me to believe that whenever someone tells me that a certain hashgacha is no good, I usually dont believe them no matter how learned and high up they are. If we judged by actions of folks within organizations we probably wouldnt hold of many hechshers. The Agudahs cover up of Rabbi Kolko and his sexual escapades, the OU covering up Rabbi Lanner and his NCSY touch a thons, or the latest in Star-K with the dead guy who loved little boys. If they are covering up such massive items that effect peoples lives, whats to say they dont throw in pork to the pork and beans or dolphin into the tuna?

When my father attended Ner Yisroel in the 1950s the Rabbis told the bochrim to check the back labels of products and thats how you knew it was kosher. Well these people still exist even though I have no flippin idea what guar gum or maltodextrin actually is. I like to call these folks the technically kosher crowd. These people tend to be orthodox folks who think that kasharus agencies are full of crap and they just make up excuses to charge the companies who in turn charge us more for their services. I know a ton of people like this, they wont eat out in a treife restaurant, but when it comes to a can of vegan soup void of hechsher it is no issue.

What about the folks who will only eat in treife restaurants when they are on vacation. There is no food where they are going and they dont bring any with the notion that vacation can be vacation from many things including kosher. They will of course only eat milchigs, they may even wash for bread, or wear a head covering, but they inevitably eat treife. I know people who look forward to vacation due to the fact they can sample some real food. This is kind of like those frummies in the Catskills who will wear polo shirts during the summer yet in the year they speak out loudly against any outfit besides penguin.

What about the yarmulke effect? This is most prevelant in Israel where no one knows what is really kosher, so they just look in the place and check if anyone has a yarmulke and depending on their kasharus level they will judge based on yarmulke. A restaurant with a bunch of peyos and hat wearers will deem high scores even if you just saw these folks in a peep show- because of course they keep kosher. A srugi in Israel may not score that high but if you saw a dude with a knitted kipa in one of those questionable Indian places on the east side in the 20s in Manhattan you wont think twice about going in. I remember this popular vegan place on the upper west side that had no hechsher but everyone ate there anyway, Zen Palate, as I recall. Vegan has its issues, grape and vinegar products, wine, bishul akum, non toiveled equipment and non-Jews cooking as well as a slew of other issues. On top of this if you live in Manhattan there are a slew of kosher vegan places, I guess if you lived in Montana it may be understandable.

The yarmulke effect also works like this, your sitting at someones house on shabbos and they whip out some wine coolers that you know not to be kosher. Instead of embarrassing your host, you say I didnt know those were kosher, when did they get their hashgacha? Your host will answer, Oh I saw them at whats his names house. Whats his name is
obviously someone who wears black velvet and therefore is a valid source of course. This happened a lot with Mikes Hard Lemonade and flavored beers like Tequiza- which is awesome so if anyone knows the deal with Tequiza- give me a shout.

There is also the hangout effect, this is the opposite of the yarmulke effect. This is when someone goes to restaurant and sees folks of the opposite sex hanging out with each other, they either wont eat there saying it supports such activity or the vaad will tell that place that certain nights have to be take out to prevent the kids hanging out. This of course takes these kids and puts them in front of seven eleven or at some open house, at least in the pizza store they couldnt all get naked and start snorting vicaden. I know for a fact that this has happened in a few communities where I have stayed in. This is also known as the bribery effect.

The bribery effect works similar to federally funded programs that force states to lower speed limits or ban smoking in order to receive their funding, is this what happened to that store in the Five Towns that every blogger screamed about a few months ago? This is of course where kasharus gets political and some folks just say screw it and dont even bother looking at the hashgacha, as long as there is a K.

The as long as there is a K folks tend to be the Liberal Modern orthodox folks and old people like my dad who remember a better time, a time before black hats meant your place within the caste system we have created. People who say, of they took the time and effort to put something on the product it must be kosher. I really dont know if it is, these people also tend to eat Hebrew National nowadays since they recently got promoted from kosher style to the lofty well known but less trusted triangle-K.

In your face kahsarus is alive and strong in places like Monroe and Mea Shearim. Places where in order to open up a baker you need two entrances men and women. Places where clothing stores can receive hechshers- though I always wondered what would happen if a girl who is size 14 bought something that was size 10, would the kasharus police come and deem her muffin top inducing skirt treife? Places where secular products are banned, who knows if Heinz bottles will have women or men without yarmulkes on their wrappers? Or maybe the Spongebob giveaway at the bottom of cereal boxes will be untznius? Places where mechitzas are not only reserved for shulls and buses, and they adorn the restaurants as well.

This post is definitely a work in progress and will be added to when I get home to my own computer that doesnt mess with my typing style, I figured I would throw it up and maybe when Wednesday rolls around add some more.

{ 100 comments… add one }
  • June 18, 2007, 11:48 AM

    “bread eggplant ptarmigan” — I think you mean, parmesan (which, as a hard cheese, needs a hechser to begin with…) because a ptarmigan is an Alaskan/Canadian bird.

  • June 18, 2007, 11:49 AM

    Ok Ok i just like to be the first commenter…as we all can see I am way too bored at work lol…

  • June 18, 2007, 11:56 AM

    Its interesting i am personally very strict on kashrus….growing up and still now my fam is super makpid on it…we dont eat in half the BK establishments that were under “good” supervision
    Ive always known abt this “eating out dairy” concept- I had some modern cousins but untill I started working in a not specifically frum place im more exposed to it. A bunch of ppl i work with eat out dairy, vegetarian, sushi etc (depends on how religious they are how strict they are). Some of them I respect for keeping at least some kosher- others I think are just confused. I dont really like to criticize because i have obviously alot to work on so I guess they have their issues too.
    But its funny how ppl are sooo makpid on a kosher home but outside its like whatever

  • June 18, 2007, 12:38 PM

    Nobody keeps Taharas Hamishpacha, nobody keeps Kosher…I assume your next post will be on Idolatry?

  • June 18, 2007, 12:59 PM

    Oops, I meant Shabbos.

    Reminds me of the old joke. The new Rabbi gives his first sermon on the topic of Family Purity. The response was awful. So next week he tried talking bout Kosher. Again a dud. The third week he talks about Shabbos. Again, no one is interested. Finally he consults with the president and asks: “What should I speak about?” The president retorts, “JUDAISM!”.

  • June 18, 2007, 3:23 PM

    I bet you if you asked, most Jews would have absolutely no idea what taharas mishpacha is. Kosher is something that all Jews- not just religious ones know about. It is also easy to characterize people based on my personal expereince. I am not married and hence have no experience with taharas mishpacha. Maybe you can enlighten us to what I would venture is a pretty hard mitzvah during shana rishona

  • June 18, 2007, 3:26 PM

    You would actually be surprised how many VERY modern and not really religious ppl keep taharas hamishpacha…

  • June 18, 2007, 3:46 PM

    I bet if you asked, most Jews would have no idea who Eibeshter is. And even if you asked around many of the frum yidden for whom Torah is a “way of life” (i.e., misnagdim) what was the last time they thought about Eibeshter, they’d probably give you a blank stare. Such are the times we live in. I suppose not much changed since the days of Yeshayahuh.

    On a much more important note:

    your = belonging to you
    you’re = you are
    its = belonging to it
    it’s = it is

    Sorry, it’s been driving me crazy since I started reading your blog last week. Had to let it out. Keep up the good job. 🙂

  • June 18, 2007, 3:55 PM

    Coming from a BT prespective kashrut is one of the hardest things for me to follow. I like to have my lobster and butter every so often and being Greek my lamb gyro with tzadiki sauce. It’s also so hard because when I go away to school I have to either a. eat in the crappy dining hall (paid for by Mummy and Daddy) or b. spend my own precious hard-earned money on expensive kosher food and buy all new plate and go to the mikvah which is on the other side of Milwaukee to dip my plate because I don’t believe in polluting with paper and plastic. And in order to get my kosher food I have to travel to the opposite side of town again to the kosher meat/food market. I feel guilty every time I bite into a PB and J knowing full well that the knife that spread my peanut butter just spread someone’s mayo that is going to touch their bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. I feel better by saying the brochas and washing but maybe that’s worse to say a brocha on treife food. It certainly is counter-intuitive. I guess I would say I follow the lame but easy kosher style or psychological kosher until I can afford to do other wise.

  • June 18, 2007, 4:40 PM

    I would say in today’s world, where water and soap needs a hoshgocha, people rely TOO much on just finding a kashrus symbol they trust. In other words, I don’t think most people have any idea about the halachos involved. They just pick something that the rest of their community does and go with it and tend not to think about it. It’d maybe be better if there were fewer hoshgochas and people were forced to understand what they were doing. And really do you think its a problem eating at a vegan resteraunt if somebody knows how to properly order? There are exceptions to Bishul Akum after all.

  • June 18, 2007, 4:51 PM

    I just moved to Northern California for 2-3 years after 18 years in Israel and the hechshers have me stumped. When I left the USA there was O-U, Chaf-K, and triangle K which you didn’t eat. Now there are so many and it’s so hard to learn what’s reliable and what isn’t, and if they’re not is it because of politics? I’ve been told that trangle K is stricter these days because it’s the son but I still don’t know anyone who eats it. Ner tamid K? Not recommended (I was told). So confusing.

  • June 18, 2007, 4:54 PM

    First of all, great post-not as controvercial as the last (but you never know!) ;o)

    Very true that you dont know what is kosher in Israel and what is not. I was once in the old city and bought a fulofull-(however you spell it) and I completely forgot to ask about the hechsher. Its not that I assumed it was kosher becuase the guy spoke hebrew, I just didnt think about it. Afterwards I told my friends brother that learns in Israel what place it was and he said it was kosher-thank goodness.

    The hangout effect is also more common in Brooklyn.-and of course the catskills/country where most places with good food and a cool atmosphere is banned cuz of the motzei shabbos hangouts.

    “though I always wondered what would happen if a girl who is size 14 bought something that was size 10, would the kasharus police come and deem her muffin top inducing skirt treife?”

    -I had the same question when it first came out. Its rediculous.

    Also, which Ner Yisroel did your father attened? The one in Toronto of Baltimore??

    And last but not least, I think many pple keep Taharas Hamishpacha, at least in my community. I happen to know a lot about it because I learned it from schooling, reading all the halachos (just a few nights ago so great timing) and I know A LOT of kallah teachers. All I could say is that when I was reading all the laws I got so depressed I nearly cried. I cant even look at my husband in a sexy way (when a nida of course) A person can only BE with their husband for about 2 weeks out of the month. It feels like nothing. I have no choice in keeping the laws but I guess it makes me not desperate to get married cuz the laws are so freaken hard!!!

  • June 18, 2007, 4:59 PM

    MW you mean falafel? It’s spell the way it’s said.

  • June 18, 2007, 4:59 PM

    you know, its amazing how perceptive you are!

    noname.. bt’s know the halachas, cuz they go through all those stages and everytime you go up a step you learn the halachas to try and avoid going up one more (and to keep yourself from getting completely excommunicated by your family and friends:)

    btw, the vegan indian not-so-non-kosher restaurants are the hardest to resist.. especially when you see others eating there.. but like you said, in a place like nyc, how do u justify being lax..

  • June 18, 2007, 5:02 PM

    MW, so you do have a libido!
    you had me fooled in the past couple of posts 😛

  • June 18, 2007, 5:28 PM

    Are you kidding me? Of course I do, and it is soooo hard to hold myself back cuz I LOVE guys, but I have to do it anyway!! As my mother calls it-I have REALLY good hormones! LOL!!

  • June 18, 2007, 6:52 PM

    I find this subject fascinating, partly because it seems so foreign to me. In the UK, anyone who considers themselves orthodox would never dream of eating at a non kosher establishment. Maybe because levels of observance here are much more polarised. I think there’s less grey area in England and Europe than in the US.
    Personally, if I were to eat treif, I’d probably throw up. Its like eating a worm or slug. What I mean is that if you’ve been brought up that treif is disgusting, you will automatically have an aversion to it. Like most people have an aversion to eating nasty wriggling things, cos they’ve been indoctinated from birth that these things are gross. Maybe thats why people dont have as much an aversion to assur things of a sexual nature, its just not talked about, so theres no inbuilt aversion.
    Talking of Israel and misleading kashrus, one thing I saw that I found quite ironic – a tattoo parlour in central Jerusalem, with a birchas ha’esek (blessing for business) on the wall complete with a pic of the Lubavitcher Rebbe!

  • June 18, 2007, 7:05 PM

    Tzivo Mishta, that is exactly my opinion and who I am. Thanks for saying it so I didnt have to! LOL!

  • June 18, 2007, 7:17 PM

    My friends grandmother used to make gefilte fish with shrimp…taste a little like salmon.
    nobody died from it. loosen up man

  • June 18, 2007, 7:18 PM

    tzivo nishta: i was in Israel for the year and every single store im serious has a Rebbe picture, either for Emuna reasons of for marketing reasons. 😉 (or both)
    frumbutwithit: great post! yes for me its very confusing , in my hometown there are lots of thigns withouth hashgacha so we really go by the ingredients, in Israel i was told which were the hechsherim that were deemed right for me to eat but in America with such a big variety one wonders which ones are really the better ones.

  • June 18, 2007, 8:24 PM

    Mayer- The point of it is not life or death, but rather carrying out a commandment that G-d told us to follow.

  • June 18, 2007, 8:44 PM

    sniff, sniff

    Do I smell a grammer nazi trolling this site?

  • June 18, 2007, 8:45 PM

    No, it’s just the yummy rabanut kashrus whopper of BK on Ben Yehuda St.

  • June 18, 2007, 8:46 PM

    Or chip salad

  • June 18, 2007, 10:05 PM

    [WARNING: shameless self-promotion ahead]
    well, i did a small post on the topic of those who “keep a kosher kitchen”.

    check it — booyakasha

  • June 19, 2007, 1:02 AM

    Der Rebbe hot gezogt; es geven ayn alter man, er hot gahabt a tattoo. Es zayn a kashere tattoo. Ayn tattoo mit deym panim fun der Rebbe. Azoi is es geven. LOL.

  • June 19, 2007, 1:56 AM

    What’s so hard about kashrut in Israel? Look for a teudah – I trust any plain Rabbanut one. If you want a mehadrin teudah, or one from a Badatz, it’s easy to spot those. It’s usually hanging in the window.

    Just remember to look for the original (sometimes they hang a copy in the window, but they should have the original somewhere) and check the date, it says that in big letters. And if they say “it’s arriving any day”, tell him you’ll be back when it arrives.

  • June 19, 2007, 4:16 AM

    i dont trust rabanut only badatz yerushalaim and chatam sofer

  • June 19, 2007, 7:45 AM

    I guess my diet of pasta, morningstar veggie burgers and tofu doesnt really take so much out of me. One of the things I always assume is this. If I walk into a place that has either yoshon, cholov yisroel, glatt or something in yiddish- I usually trust it. This is called the black hat effect- see black hats are good. Yes this is probably wrong.

    I worked as a mashgiach many a time for long stints sometimes and we were way more strict on veggies then anyone I have ever met. I know very few people who check leafy greens on a lighted platform for bugs. I also did find out how easy it was for the cooks or people entering the kitchen to treife up the place and a mashgiach must be on his toes all the time- inevitably things get messed up- this is a big complaint people have.

    Or how about the mashgichim that have no idea about certian things. My friend walked into the subway on Ave j in Brooklyn and asked the mashgiach timidi if theyt were maphrish challah at that establishment and he had no idea what she was talking about- not a very good sign- especially at a fleishig well travled eatery.

  • June 19, 2007, 7:54 AM

    General rule in Israel: The more ‘mehadrin’s on the certificate, the more likely its treif! There was one hechsher that said glatt chalak bet yosef mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadrin or something, and it turns out that to get the certificate you just need to send money in the post and they send you back the hechsher! It really does pay to get clued up on whats trustworthy and whats not!

  • June 19, 2007, 7:59 AM

    Kind of like those mail order college degrees eh- they do look very professional.

  • June 19, 2007, 8:02 AM

    I could imagine that most kosher joints dont do hafrashas challah. And even if they didnt, its not like we cant eat there.

    BTW Hesh, do you still have the TIUNY article that you took down? If you do can you email it to me? If yes, I will email you my email address. Thanks!

  • June 19, 2007, 8:08 AM

    I do= it really wasnt anything bad- just about the good old days of high school- but the Rabbis didnt want parents to know how much we in fgact had.

  • June 19, 2007, 8:15 AM

    Thanks, I am sure it was fun. The videos speak for themselves and I know a couple of dudes who go there and they seem to like it. Well it does beat being at home in Brooklyn so no wonder they like it! I will email now and you could send it at anytime. Thanks again!

  • June 19, 2007, 9:43 AM

    Nice article BUT …. I think theres 2 points you overlooked to some degree . 1) The difference between actual halacha and the insane chumras that people have adopted 2) the backroom politics that cause people to “do things they normally wouldnt”.

    1) 99% of the people who keep kosher dont know what is halacha, what is minhag, and what is chumra. The idea of kosher itself has changed in the past 50 yrs, and the idea that “the more chumras on kashrus you take, teh more frum you are”. As a child we all ate Wrigleys, Tootsie Roll ect – and there was nothing trief in it – no glycerin ect. One day the “word” came down from NYC that it was all trief, and that was the end. (Who’de believe that 3 musketeers can be kosher in Australia but not in the US?). Rabbis (sorry to say) dont tell people what is halacha and what is chumra – they subcribe to the “reverse judism effect” (everyone who came before you was a bigger tzaddik then ull ever be (including the people in easten europe whos sum knowledge of science was that of a US middle schooler)) therefore you MUST be more strict.

    2) The insane politics that go on behind the scenes is breathtaking. Who here eats triangle K? most dont – but years ago people ate it when it was on doritos, entenmans and drakes – now 2 out of 3 are OU. I know the rabbi behind Triangle K (his family and mine were personal friends) – and while he may have been maykil he wasnt ignorant of halacha – yet no one ate it. How about Hebrew National? Yes theres an issue with meat washing, yet prominent rabbis would call the rabbi of Hebrew National and discuss halacha with them! Lets not even get into why Perdue never became Kosher.

    On the whole things are turned upside down as alot of things in judism are ,,,,,,,

  • June 19, 2007, 10:48 AM

    Perdue is kosher, you can get it @ Shevach Meats in Monsey.

  • June 19, 2007, 11:24 AM

    oooh jacob…..

  • June 19, 2007, 11:30 AM

    u kno- not to be a party pooper but all this commenting is pretty moot. There will always be ppl who are more religious and are more strict with halachah and there will always ppl who are less religious and less strict. Thats just life. We are just basically rehashing the same thing over and over- ppl hold from different things….this is never going to change.
    This is a satirical and humorous blog, Hesh makes fun of stuff….then ppl get so involved in the halachah aspect….its cool i guess to have a forum to discuss…

  • June 19, 2007, 12:53 PM

    I totally agree with the poster named “used to be int he kashrus biz”. Some time ago, I wanted to increase the kosher resources in my community and what can I say? It’s all about turf wars and politics and less about kashrut.

  • June 19, 2007, 7:42 PM

    In my hood, the hechsher of Yisrael Mayer Steinberg is shunned by most orthodox Jews, largely because its rabbi is an “alumnus of Torah Vodaath” but not a member of any large kashrut agency.

    Many Bukharian restaurants go by Steinberg, despite the fact that the Chief Rabbi of this community runs his own Bukharian Jewish vaad hakashrus.

    These restaurants are shunned by active shul-goers, but patronized by more moderate and less orbservant members of the communality.

    Many Russian breads are either tablet-K, which some orthodox consider too liberal, or the OK, which is based in Crown Heights.

    Both of my neighborhood’s bagel stores have hechshers, but are mechallel shabbos. “The rabbi looks the other way,” one of my neighbors responded to the arrangement.

  • June 20, 2007, 2:20 AM

    every time i think about eating traif

    i think to myself “defend the kosher faith”

    meanwhile doing that i lost 30 pounds

    kosher is deff scarce in most of the world i thinks thats the point

  • June 20, 2007, 11:28 AM

    I myself, have been tortured with the “special kosher meal” at company events. The last time, the poor waiter had to go next door to get my a plastic fork.

    I was actually surprised that you didn’t get to the topic of Kosher + The Home. People tend to be very flexible at home. I think my roommates and I just assume that if we stick a meat fork in a dairy dish, then we just have to wash it. We’re terribly flexible.

    Great post!

  • June 20, 2007, 5:15 PM

    Duddes I know exactly what you are talking about and it always sucks when I am at someones house for shabbos and they “warm” up the food while they tell everyone not to look jokingly. Or those folks you go to that have one sink. Or the folks who put their fleishig forks inside the mayo jar they use for milchigs.

  • June 21, 2007, 6:00 AM

    You forgot the guilty-Jew kosher style. That’s when you buy kosher meat for the home, but eat at cruel and bloody steakhouses just as long as your meal is not pork or shrimp.

  • June 21, 2007, 10:58 AM

    You should make a posting on Politics and kosher. They go hand in hand. What they have 50 years ago? did people not eat? now, it has come into a great business and alot of politcal power on what to make what have a hechsher. Im sure there are foods that are missing a hechsher that deserve to be kosher while others bearing some kind of kosher symbol that isnt kosher. For all we know, the O U has a contract with Wise and Lays that to make them kosher they cant work with Dorritos. Its far fetched, but its very likely.

  • June 21, 2007, 2:17 PM

    I think it involves too much loshon horah for my taste, it also doesn’t look good for me when I happen to do mashgiach work.

    I think the whole kasharus agency thing is also a conspiracy but what the hell are we going to do about it? We could all switch to the raw food diet and then we wont need the kasharus agencies.

  • June 24, 2007, 2:34 AM

    boy you should come to england (london) and check out the kosher situation here… i manage a meat factory and due to unbelievable ‘politics’ and as someone said, turf wars, i am not allowed to b a mashgiach(ette) anymore. i cant have keys to the factory or any of the fridges. now that my boss bought another factory under a different hashgacha every room is sealed at night not just the meat, all the doors, there are even prison bars at the entrance to factory now. if the ‘rabbi’ is late we cant start production until he shows up and opens everything up. and can i just point out, they are both orthodox hashgachas who both think they are more kosher than the other. so wat is kosher really? the guys with the bigger mouths who make the most fonecalls to the newspapers and the most money for advertising? i think halacha got lost along the way cos i have seen way too many cover ups to not watch all the meat i take home… and that’s just wat i see in the meat trade.
    i think that in the end kosher is how you make it, if it means looking at labels cos you live in the middle of nowhere or just following your rabbi and wat he tells you is a ‘good/reliable’ hashgacha or doing your own research into the different hashgachas and how they work (although you might not want to probe too deep)

  • Alex February 14, 2008, 4:27 AM

    I think, Friends of Efrat is the best Jewish charity around. It simultaneously achieves major religious and political aims. I found it here samsonblinded.org/blog/the-best-jewish-charity.htm and donated that same day which is sort of unusual for me.

  • heshman February 14, 2008, 1:38 PM

    Shameless self promotion eh, at least pick a newer post man. You web 2.0 marketers are pathetic.

  • Anonymous April 24, 2008, 12:17 PM

    They do have mashgichim and schoctim at the Hebrew National Plant… they come down to my community for Shabbos.

    Of course none of them actually eat their products…

  • T April 29, 2008, 4:44 PM

    do u have a thing against secular jews

  • Hesh April 29, 2008, 8:05 PM

    Not a thing- all Jews are created equal.

  • Hesh April 29, 2008, 8:09 PM

    Not a thing- all Jews are created equal. I make fun of all Jews equally.

  • T April 30, 2008, 2:01 AM

    that’s a good thing. but here it is, i’ve noticed that different types of jewish people tend to look down on each other. Like i’ve heard the negative comments about russian jews from some. I’m from there, & we had no access to synagogues or jewish schools like here in the u.s. So i hope that the more religious people gain a different pespective, & see both sides of the story as to why some jews are secular.

  • T April 30, 2008, 2:03 AM

    but your answer was a good one

  • Hesh April 30, 2008, 10:12 AM

    You may notice that I pick fun at orthodox Jews much more then secular and conservative- but that is just because I know more about them. I try to keep things level, because I have a bunch of irreligious readers- but I cannot keep everyone fully satisfied all the time.

  • Joshua Katz January 12, 2009, 8:08 PM

    How about only sushi out?

  • ghottistyx January 12, 2009, 9:52 PM

    Bubbies. Heh, that place makes me laugh. I remember getting my hands on a menu for that place; I was expecting, with a name like Bubbies, that it would be a kosher restaurant. What’s the first item on the dinner menu? “BBQ Pulled Pork” Just like Bubbie made…Mine would smack me for even asking!

    Kashrus and politics, or Kosher Nostra, as we call it. Don’t get me started. You should know, my cousins who live in Netanya don’t trust BaDatz in priciple; they claim that BaDatz doesn’t even check the places they certify, they simply check whether you’re Chareidi or not, and based on that they’ll certify you. I’m not sure if this is them or not, but I get the feeling that amongst some of the more liberal “mizrahim” in Israel, there is a general resentment toward Chareidim. As such, they only eat at places certified by Rabbanut. And yes, my Chareidi relatives don’t trust Rabbanut at all, not even Mehadrin. My Rosh Yeshiva in Israel used to say that Rabbanut is fine, but if it’s not Mehadrin, the meat is probably not Chalak (Glatt in Yiddish), and we should check to make sure Terumah/Ma’aser was separated.

    As for Chalak/Glatt (whatever you call it), that’s a chumra. I have a friend whose father sincerely believes that it was perpetuated by the mafia. I’ve asked a number of Rabbis whose opinions I trust (I know they’ll give me an honest answer). None of the Rabbis I’ve asked ever heard of this, but they all admitted that YES, Glatt is a chumra and is not as big a deal as people make it out to be. And they all had numerous stories of “Kosher Nostra”, of the Kashrus industry using scare tactics in other ways. I remember one story about a milk company that refused to use the local hechsher that had the monopoly in a kehilah. So one day, the truck was making a delivery, when men in ski masks with payyos sticking out blockaded the road and made the truck driver get out. They held a knife to him and made him spill the entire delivery on the side of the road. They then told him that next time, it will be his blood that’s spilled on the side of the road, and they drove away. So whether or not Glatt is a conspiracy or not, many pe0ple I know who have dealt with Kashrus industries would not be surprised. Hell, my non-Jewish friend from Texas was telling me that his father was easily able to get a hechsher for some restaurant he once invested in–all he had to do was pay them some exhorbitant fee and they’d send a certificate. He didn’t remember who the hechsher was, and he definitely doesn’t remember any mashgiach ever coming over.

    Finally, I remember this half-year period when I was living in Boro Park in 2002, when there was a controversy of a Turkish grocery store in the heart of 13th ave. My grandmother even brought me there once. The people who ran the store were very sweet. I should add that my Grandmother is one of the few Modern Orthodox people still living in Boro Park, a relic of the pre-Bobov era. Both of my parents grew up in Boro Park, and they tell me that before the Bobover Rebbe moved there in the early 70s, the Chassidim all lived in Williamsburg, and Boro Park was mostly Modern; now, it’s come to a point where one of the relics of the old Boro Park community died, and because the person was Modern, they had to import a minyan from Teaneck because there are few people in Boro Park who would attend his funeral.

    But I digress. There were flyers going around Boro Park that were boycotting this Turkish grocery store saying that these people support Islamic Jihad. I heard that all the kosher brands were even stopping shipment to these guys to drive them out of business. Knowing that my Grandma had brought me there once, I asked her what she thinks. She got angry (I’d like to add that she’s pretty biased against Chassidim, and gets a kick out of their reactions when she speaks fluent Yiddish to them; they wonder how a woman wearing pants with no sheitel can speak Yiddish at all…like she’s from outer space). She assured me that the people who run the grocery store were very sweet, and by no means were anti-Semetic at all. They were just trying to run a business, and this was a way of the Chassidim (unfairly) trying to maintain a monopoly of Kosher businesses on 13th Ave. BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Further articles I read about this confirmed my suspicion, that these Turks were unfairly branded just because they wanted to run a business on 13th Ave.

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