READ IT: Important Letter from Rabbonim Regarding New Hechsher in the Community

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פ”שת זומת ‘ז

To our Beloved Five Towns and Far Rockaway Community,

Our community is very unique in that we have a hashgocha where the kashrus professionals work under the auspices of the community Rabbonim. In the day to day running of our Vaad, the kashrus professionals answer to a rotating board of community Rabbonim and lay leaders reflecting a broad cross-section of the community.

There is a great advantage in having a single universally recognized hashgocha in a community. In communities with competing hashgochas, the consumer is often ill informed of the specific reliability of each kashrus organization, which leads to confusion, and inevitably lower standards of kashrus. Our community is unique in that any community
resident or visitor, who sees the certificate of the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway, can eat without any hesitation as to the quality of the kashrus. Due to the transparency through which the Vaad operates, even a consumer who accepts stricter standards, can know with certainty whether a given establishment is appropriate for him.

Two Rabbonim in the community have recently formed a new hashgocha, the “Mehadrin of the Five Towns” which certifies FiveFifty Restaurant and Shoppe, Chimichurri Charcoal Chicken, and Keneret Fresh Market.

We have no personal ill feeling toward the Rabbonim who provide the hashgocha, and are always open to consider and incorporate opposing views to enhance the kashrus standards of our community. However, after careful consideration, we cannot in good conscience, recommend that one rely on this hashgocha.

We are aware that kashrus issues are often contentious, and can easily lead to discord within a community. However, we feel strongly that maintaining high standards of kashrus is best accomplished when the vast majority of the community Rabbonim volunteer their time to direct our kashrus professionals, with no motive other than ensuring the best interest of our community. This is done by Rabbonim who have nothing to gain other than enhancing the religious life in our community. When the field of kashrus is opened up to those who do not collaborate with the vast majority of community Rabbonim, there will be an inevitable decline in both standards and unity. We therefore discourage the members of our community in the strongest terms, from patronizing local food establishments that are
not under the hashgocha of the Vaad of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway.

As a rule, it is worthwhile to remember that if one sees an unfamiliar hashgocha it is wisest to consult with your trusted local Rabbonim for guidance, just as you do for all religious matters. The established Rabbonim of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway have earned the trust of its residents over many decades of selfless service and dedication. It would be tragic to throw this valuable relationship away in one of the most important areas of Judaism.

With heartfelt prayers that our sincere efforts to enhance kashrus and religious life in our community are successful.

We, the 53 undersigned Rabbonim,

Rav Shalom Axelrod, Rav Hershel Billet, Rav Yaakov Bender
Rav Dovid Bender, Rav Eli Biegeleisen, Rav Yisroel Meir Blumenkrantz
Rav Meir Braunstein, Rav Moshe Brown, Rav Dov Bressler
Rav Pinchas Chatzinoff, Rav Shaul Chill, Rav Shaya Cohen
Rav Ariel Edelstein, Rav Aaron Feigenbaum, Rav Eytan Feiner
Rav Yaakov Feitman, Rav Binyomin Forst, Rav Yitzchok D. Frankel
Rav David Friedman, Rav Aryeh Zev Ginzberg, Rav Daniel Glatstein
Rav Dr. Aaron Glatt, Rav Kenneth Hain, Rav Simcha Hopkovitz
Rav Yaakov Yitzchok Horowitz, Rav Yudi Jeger, Rav Yehuda Kamravapour
Rav Mottel Katz Rav Moshe Zev Katzenstein Rav Aryeh Lebowitz
Rav Simcha Lefkowitz, Rav Yoni Levin, Rav Avi Miller
Rav Jonathan Muskat, Rav Motti Neuburger, Rav Uri Orlian
Rav Ephraim Polakoff, Rav Zvi Ralbag, Rav Isaac Rice
Rav Shay Schachter, Rav Pesach Schmerling, Rav Yehuda Septimus
Rav Dovid Spiegel, Rav Mordechai Stern, Rav Moshe Teitelbaum
Rav Ya’akov Trump, Rav Moshe Weinberger, Rav Pinchus Weinberger
Rav Akiva Willig, Rav Shmuel Witkin, Rav Eliyahu Wolf
Rav Zalman Wolowik, Rav Mordechai Yaff



21 COMMENTS

  1. Shocking that the Vaad would push for people to not go to restaurants that they can’t make money off of.

  2. Completely unprofessional and would only divide the community for no apparent reason. You can’t possibly create a monopoly in hashgaha. And then we wonder why Mashiach is not here yet

  3. Classic, im wonder if instead of maintaining a monopoly if these rabboim have ever dealt with the Vaad. Maybe instead they should focus there group of self appointed rabboim on better practices and fairer rates with the Vaad.
    This seems rushed and unprofessional

  4. What a disgrace how these rabbis keep going along with the vaad of 5 towns who are mofia and want to keep prices high and control the market so every new haskacha just happens to be unreliable ! The prices here are outrageous and this just shows how the rabbis in this community don’t really care about the poor people that’s why no cheep supermarket like bingo will or can open up here in the 5 towns every other major town has more then on haskacha

  5. Way to maintain your monopoly gig. Can’t take the competition so pulling the old “ my brand of religion is better than yours” card….Keep it up and turn more fellow Jews off.

  6. Makes sense to me a single standard of kashrut… if they were talking about a different organization. All around the world systems exist with multi kashrut. Having a competitive responsible kashrut organization does lead to some more laxed kashrut but also leads to more aggressive and more effectively run hashgochas.Anbody who travels out of 5t figures out how to deal with this and its just not that complicated. Any bochar who has been to Israel knows the learning curve of multiple contradicting hechshers but eventually you figure it out. this half baked letter can only lead to trouble.

    what happens when a letter comes out with a list of 50 rabbis who say the polar opposite.

  7. Why publish this on your site today to divide people? The 3 weeks is a time for unity not this nonsense.

  8. lost alot of respect for a lot of people today. And right before the 3 weeks, in tumultuous time like this. NICE

  9. If you notice, they don’t even criticise the Kashrus level of the new organization. They just say ” we think it will lead to too much confusion.”

    More like ” were grasping at straws to maintain our ability to make money in the community and this is a threat.”

    Why not just be honest about your intentions????

  10. I don’t like writing this way but someone should point out that many of the people on this list do not live in 5T. While im sure they are all fair and righteous people it seems misleading to put out a VAAD Rabbonim letter by people who don’t live here.

  11. This letter is not from the vaad.
    It’s from the robonim of the community
    If anything, this letter is trying to keep unity not break it up. If you actually think about it for more than 2 minutes you will see. The rabbonim have been deliberating this for many months

  12. @clarity you do realize TONS of other communites have multiple Kashrus agencies? This is all pressure from the Vaad to keep their money and their control. Wake up.

  13. Kinas Sofrim tarbeh chochmah. The vaad was resistant to changing for the better due to its monopoly and inertia/ complacency, now it will be forced to change. Sounds like a win/win.

  14. The Vaad is dedicated to reliable kashruth; entrepreneurs are dedicated to making money as a side gig.

  15. This is so disturbing, The Rabbanim that our community is supposed to be soimech on would write against talmidei chachamim and yarei shamayim that they worked so closely with for so long. Further, this letter is riddled with sheker, “are always open to consider and incorporate opposing view to enhance the kashrus standards of our community” These rabbanim were in touch with the vaad for years in regards to many issues that compromise their claim to have a ‘higher standard’. The vaad made no changes regarding these interactions and as many of the comments mentioned are motivated by financial venues and NOT the halacha!
    It is known that the new vaad tried for over 2 years to work with the vaad, with no intention to open their own Hechsher but they were ignored. Now when their finances are being challenged, they give attention to the new hechsher LIKE THIS!
    And to say that the standard is high enough for everyone in the community to eat then why is there a ‘RABBI FORST’S LIST’?!?!?!!? clearly the standard is NOT good enough and that is exactly what this new vaad is trying to address and will now be able to accomplish. I’m confident they will have a lot of siyata d’shmaya.
    Lastly, I would like to thank the rabbonim that, despite over 2 years of hard work, attempts at protecting us from what we can’t possibly know and the lack of mentchlechkeit they are facing, plowed through and did what they felt was right l’halacha with focus on what is ultimately the most important and NOT financial motivations.

  16. I wonder why we should only have one hashgakha. Why not have some competition??? I for one will still go to these 3 establishments. I know the owner of one and I know for certain he is a shommer shabbat family and a good jew. That matters to me more than any corrupt money hungry hashghacha.

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