Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I am saddened and appalled at the way our 5 towns Vaad has handled the Gourmet Glatt issue. I have the utmost respect for the rabbis of the Vaad; however I can not stand by idly while an injustice is being done. I have spoken to a number of rabbis on the Vaad and have been told that Mr. Bolender was not at the meeting where the Vaad decided his fate (gave the psak that he must sell the store). How is it possible that NOT ONE Rabbi on the Vaad (that signed the letter and attended the meetings) asked or insisted that Mr. Bolender have the opportunity to relay his side of the story???????????? Did the thought of putting this individual (and others supported by this store) out of business without giving him the chance to speak in front of those who are deciding his fate not cross their minds??????? How can a psak like this be enforced or even given? I know the Vaad states in their letter "It should be self-evident that such a decision was not taken lightly." However I am not sure it can get any lighter than not hearing the other side of the story. I would venture to say that if one of the rabbis on the Vaad were being accused of something they would think it is only fair and just that they get an opportunity to be heard. Why was it not done here? This is not a joke; it is the livelihood of 5 families at stake as well as an individual's reputation. The Vaad's letter also calls the acquisition of a second hashgacha an affront to the unity of the community, and states a claim that "When there is one universally recognized and accepted hashgacha in a community, the kashruth standards are clear to all. When one local store takes on multiple hashgachot on their premises, then there is a threat to the uniform standards we have all worked so hard to achieve." Yet the Vaad has a double standard, they allow their own philosophy and statements to be contradicted by a local Rav in the community who has certain "recommended stores". According to the Vaad is this not an affront to the unity of the community? Should we as a community ban him and his shul? Why is the Vaad not writing letters about him? The Vaad seems to be more concerned with the the monopoly they have over all the 5 towns stores rather than the most important issue- Halacha. If the Vaad for whatever reason feels they can't or don't want to supervise this store they don't have to. But why does it bother them so much if another expert in the area of kashrus, a competent halachik authority, a talmid chachom and an individual who has a chezkas kashrus is willing to take that responsibility on his shoulders? Halacha certainly allows this. Why are they making sure this store goes out of business? This is pure rishus (evil) and does not allow me to believe this is being done lishma (for the sake of heaven). I don't recall seeing in the Shulchan Aruch (Jewish Code of Law- written by R' Yosef karo) that all stores in the 5 towns must only be supervised by the 5 towns Vaad. The Vaad has certainly done an excellent PR job of convincing the community that they must have one standard in kashrus, however as stated previously they themselves allow a local Rav to set a second standard. Also the Vaad relies on various different kashrus organizations themselves (OU, Kof k etc.). Are they writing letters and calling for all these organizations to consolidate as well? I am calling upon our community to stand up for what is right and follow Halacha. Halacha tells us that we can shop at Gourmet Glatt under Rav Kravitz's hashgacha. I hope and pray to Hashem that we all come together as one for the sake of Heaven and for the sake of our wonderful community. It will be intriguing to see whether our holy community follows the Shulchan Aruch of Rav Yosef Karo or that of Rav Yosef Eisen. A concerned member of the community