Washington – VIN News has confirmed that Orthodox Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, spiritual leader of Ohev Sholom of Washington, D.C., the National Synagogue, is calling for the Vaad Harabonim of Washington to take appropriate action to ensure that the meat we are eating is kosher.
This is significant in that Rabbi Herzfeld is the first Orthodox rabbi to call for such temporary, clarifying action. Of equal significance is the fact that while the Vaad Harabonim of Washington are not the actual hechsher providers for AgriProcessors, they do strive to ensure that all kosher meat sold in the D.C. area meets their standards of kashrus. The Vaad has thus far not responded to Rabbi Herzfeld request.
VIN News has also learned that other Jewish Kosher organizations might call for the same action, which in turn may put pressure on Rabbi Weissmandl and the OU to react.
Rabbi Herzfeld’s letter is below.
Rabbi Kalman Winter
Vaad Harabonim of Washington
11161 New Hampshire Ave, Suite 402
Silver Spring, MD 20904
Dear Rabbi Winter:
It has been reported in The Washington Post that Agriprocessors Inc., also known as Rubashkin’s meat, has been the subject of a raid by the government on their kosher slaughtering plant.
It has been reported that numerous, serious ethical violations have gone on there and there has even been an allegation of a meth lab on the premises. Furthermore, certain other allegations might have a direct impact on whether the animals are actually slaughtered properly.
Although we can not be certain, at this time, whether the allegations are actually true, we should act with caution and concern.
Thus, I urge the Vaad Harabonim of Washington to temporarily suspend Rubashkin’s meat in the stores and caterers that it supervises. Because such a suspension, if it applied to product currently in the inventory of stores and caterers – as well as product in people’s homes and in restaurants – would impose a burden on those persons and entities, I suggest that this ban apply only to future shipments from Rubashkin’s and that the suspension expressly provide that it does not apply to product that had been shipped by Rubashkin’s prior to the suspension. I also urge the Vaad to personally investigate this matter and report back to the community on the status of this company.
Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
Ohev Sholom—The National Synagogue