How many electricians does it take to screw in a light bulb? That’s an old joke, yet when we think of the kashrus industry, it has certain parallels. Let’s examine the kashrus hashgocha industry in some areas.
The town of Monsey, NY – has a total population of about 19,000 (2010 census estimate). If even half this number are Jews, why do we find no less than 36 hashgochos (see Kashrus Magazine)? Or Lakewood, NJ with some 93,000 people (2010 census) and 21 hashgachos?
The *real* kings of the kashrus world must be found in NY. In Brooklyn, which has a total population of 2,500,00 (2010 census), we find no less than 123 hashgachos. Manhattan, you ask? How about 19 agencies? Queens? 17 of ‘em, around half of which appear to be in Flushing. Add Staten Island and Long Island for another 21. Do you begin to see a pattern here?
Nor is the U.S. unique in this situation. Without even touching on Israel (trust me, you DON’T want to know how many kashrus mashgichim operate out of just Yerushalaim!), England has 21; France some 24 and even Germany (!) has 15. A nice little country, Belgium, total Jewish population of 30,000, has some 13 hashgachos, more than half in Antwerp alone. And let’s not forget our neighbors to the north. Canada’s 375,000 Jews have 27 hashgocha organizations, yet the major province of Ontario is served by 8, the largest (and arguably the most powerful) being COR, which guards its territory like a fiefdom
Kind of makes you wonder: where is the achdus?
Here might be a clue: go to Google, type in the phrase “some poskim hold” and see how many hits you get. Then wait a month and do it again!