Washington – First Orthodox Rabbi Calls To Halt Sales Of Rubashkin Meat In DC Area

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    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
    Director
    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.

    Sincerely,

    Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld
    Ohev Sholom—The National Synagogue

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    63 COMMENTS

    1. If it was kosher before the future shipments then it is kosher now as well. If it wasn’t good before, then it isn’t good if you bought it before!

    2. Stock up on meat now, because new meat may become unkosher. Only the meat that was purchased before the deadline is good, even if it was from the same batch.

    3. Rabbi Herzfeld, I have a halachic question. I was cooking meat and afterwards I realized that half of it was bought after your ban, but I looked at the packs and they were from the same shipment of meat. Do I need to Kasher my pots?

    4. There should be more rabbis like him that are not afraid to speak out. Neemanus in kashrus is a very serious matter. There is no question that people should refrain from buying these products until these allegations are investigated properly.

    5. Thank you, Rabbi Herzfeld, for having the courage to act and say what many of us are thinking. Kudos to you. The Rov in my shul also have banned Rubashkins and all Agri products from our shul, but, though he is the head of a good local kashrus organization, has not had the courage to extend the bag beyond his own shul.

    6. Kol hakavod to Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld. I am poroud to say that I have know him and his family in Staten Island for almost 40 years.

      I hope the Agriprocessors scandals will be wake-up calls to the realities behind the production and consumption of meat and other animal products — the epidemic of diseases, the major contributions of ‘livestock’ agriculture to global warming and many environmental threats and the massive mistreatment of animals on factory farms.

      Can we justify eating animal products today when animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve our heakth, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people?

      Is there any rabbi to argue the affirmative side on the question “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?”

    7. This Shmuel Herzberg is one of these “moralist” Modern Orthodox rabbis. He is a talmid of “Rabbi” Avi Weiss. Check out his website to see all the other “moral” issues he is busy with (like why it is important to celebrate Martin Luther King day in Shul).

      Why should the Vaad of Washington reply to him?

    8. Oy Vay! Vat is dis rabbi going to eat ven he makes hiz annual “Martin Luther King Tibute” in da shul this year??.. vaat!? u don’t believe me.. just take a look here! >> http://www.ostns.org/pics/2006MLK/

      I’m very surprised he even felt the need to eat rrubashkin until now.. When I was in Washington just a few weeks ago his shul wasn’t even open during the week for mincha/maariv so I had to daven outside b’yechidus.. Seems to me he’s got more important issues to work out…

    9. Dear Rabbi Herzfeld, Do you believe everything you read in newspapers???

      Also anon 318, I guess your happy we are finished Vayikrah as the Torah is withiut Karbonos! O the’re in Bamidbar too!! A Pity!

    10. Ok now this has opened up all the envioronmental

      wackos to call for no more meat.

      What does having illegal aliens as workers

      (possibly innocently although not likely) to do with the Kashrus of the meat ?

      I really don’t care who they use (other than making a Chillul Hashem) the product is just as Kosher. I’m sure thousands of businesses use illegals for menial labor as others won’t do these jobs. What’s the big deal ?

      They’ll pay their fine & clean up their act

      & be careful to scrutinise their workers papers

      as well as is possible from now on. End of story.

      This is being blown out of all proportion –

      I have no idea why other than there are many jealous people out there that have an agenda.

      I am far from a fan of Rubashkin I think (admitedly based on heresy) that he has a huge ego etc.

      But that doesn’t mean he will feed neveilos & treifos to people He has a top of the line hechsher that’s good enough for me – If you don’t like it don’t eat it – But for heavens sake stop bashing & burying this man just because he is successful & made a mistake for which he (lawfully) paying dearly.

      How many out there use cleaning & handyman help & report it ??? Please stop the utter hypocrisy already.

    11. Anonymous Says:

      become vegeterians! oh come on this is all bs! rubashkin doent have any treife animals on premises, he has only frum shochtim – get real!

      05-23-2008 – 3:14 PM

      =================================================

      YOU get REAL,. since when does frum shochtim and not having treife animals in the plant kosherize a meat packing plant. Wake up u fool.

    12. Being that Rabbi Herzfeld is a rabbi I’ll refrain from saying “shame on you”. The shochtim, mashgichim and supervising rabbis are all g-d fearing scrupulous individuals. Is it right of you to accept lashon hora and rechilos from PETA and non-Jews to defame an ehrliche kosher slaughterhouse? Does Rabbi Herzfeld take the responsibility that even one family should stop purchasing Rubashkin meat? With this inflammatory statement he is unjustly attacking the thousands of Kosher eating consumers that rely on Mr. Rubashkins impeccable character.

      To my fellow Yidden! Please don’t take all these allegations at face value and destroy a viable Kosher business.

      If you’re in doubt, ask your OWN rabbi.

      No! I’m not a relative or an employee. But what’s fair is fair.

      Gut Shabbos to all.

    13. Rubashkins has A Haskacha and not just one it has more then one if you do not trust these hashkachos(which have actually more chomris (according to shulchan harav) then most haskochos) then don’t eat it i will eat rubashkin until thees hashkochos say that it is not alright and i think that R Herzfeld before making decisions from a newspaper should call the hashkochos and confirm

    14. mashgichim and supervising rabbis are all g-d fearing scrupulous individuals

      The last time I heard that line was in Monsey, circa September 2006.

    15. Why is it, that when we disagree with a person or rabbi (actually rabbis are people too) we need to find other things we think he does wrong.

      Instead of debating the point in question, we attack the speaker.

      Or, attack the person for being anonymous, as if this alone should discredit him.

      Many people are anonymous, not because they are hiding and ashamed of what they are saying, but to prevent machlokes and attacks in their real lives. I once signed my name to a controversial remark here on this blog, only to get attacked in shul but the “committee” who disagreed with me.

      Nothing wrong with being anonymous.

      Nothing wrong with discussing an issue for the merits of the matter on hand. Never a need to attack the speaker.

      I do not agree with much of this rabbi’s other issues. But he is right on this one.

      With Kashrus, you need nehehmonus. I can’t believe a person who blatatly violates child labor laws, or makes employees pay a $50 “immigration fee” out of every paycheck.

      There is an old but wise saying, “Where there is smoke, there is fire.”

      We may stubbornly claim there is no proof on some of these claims, but they came out in individual interviews with employees who were already separated from their friends.

      And, how about those young female employees who “claim” they had to “perform” to keep their jobs.

      Sure, we can choose to disbelieve them.

      I choose to think there is WAY TOO MUCH SMOKE HERE to ignore. I can’t believe these people. I can’t eat their food.

    16. nobody seen nothing no time,is a kashrus issue.

      now the kosher eating public has an idea.nobody knows what going on there. this raid provides the supervising rabbis with a fig leaf to get out of there.

      it is impossible to supervise that plant.

      the only way is if you live in new york.

    17. welcome to frum yidden!

      so satmaer meats are better?

      Moryia veraboisa As a frum yid, i am embarressed of rubaskin and rabbi hertzfeld,

      1. yidden should eat trief better???

      2. Peta wants all kosher meat banned!

      3. Now you will raise the meats

      4. sinas chinom in seferiah!

      5. We should shecht our own chickens and kasher them ourselves> let see how many more shalious will come out of this!

      6. Does this rabbi have experience in a shectia house?

      7. May moshiach save us from all this simple talk

    18. This issue raises many emotional issues.

      Firstly the Rubashkins are respected members of Lubavitch and as everyone knows when one Lubavitcher is attacked all Lubavitchers will come to his defense.So basically the actual issue will not be based on merit or lack therof.

      So to anti-Lubavitchers will latch on to this issue as a convenient Lubab bashing opp.

      Then we have the vegetarians

      And Peta…..

      It is quite unfortunate that Agri is playing into the hands of its detractors.It’s time to clean up their act.Time to hire professional, non family members to run the plant.

    19. The Mashgichim as far as I know only testify

      to the shechita & kashering process nothing else.

      If the mashgichim are reliable and I think they are then it is Kosher meat.

      That’s good enough for me & I belive that it is good enough for the Shulchan Aruch as far as being able to eat the meat.

      It can be argued that we need additional hechsher

      as to the complete ethical behavior of the whole

      operation & each worker should be squeaky clean

      & completely moral etc.

      It would be nice & perhaps should be implemented

      if it is at all possible (maybe an investigative division of accountants and auditors & private eyes & PETA reps that will scrutinize every grepetz) with an ethical hechsher stamp of approval in addition to the regular KOSHER certification.

      However, I think the costs would be prohibitive.

      I am not choshed even for a second that because

      Rubashkin was (IF it’s true) not abiding by

      immigration laws & maybe even looking the other way when some employees were doing illegal stuff

      that therefore the meat is not kosher.

      It is af if you can’t trust the kashrus of anyone that has used some creative accounting on their tax return.

      Please stop the nonsense – I am not condoning cheating on taxes or hiring illegals it IS WRONG & probably asur but has nothing to do with kashrus –

      There are leide even muderers & rapists & pedophiles in jail that are scrupulous about eating kosher & davening 3 x a day.

      What Rubushkin did is a make a mistake (we all make mistakes) the meat is probably as kosher as in any other kosher establishment.

      Of course if it is found (by credible people) that there are real kashrus issues that would be an entirely different matter.

      This poor man is being lynched (schechted) by the media & his enemies & maybe by jealous competitors. It’s so easy to destroy a yid & his business when he is in trouble. Be careful – are you such a tzadik that you can withstand a DRE ???

    20. Let me make some comments on the above comments who attack a Rabbi and decide on their own who is a God Fearing Rabbi and whom not.

      Lets first point out that KAJ has removed their hechsher for some reason and that was Kashrus related, The OU wanted to follow suit but due to internal pressure within the organization they were unable to remove their hechsher. When i’ve been to Israel About 3 years ago before the Finkel story I spoke to a Rabbanut Mashgiach which told me that we americans eat Treifos, and that we unfortunately have very unreliable hashgochos. when I asked him for an example he told me Rabbi Weismandel. I screamed at him for being so naive because he is one of the best supervisions in the United States. He told me thats the problem, because if he’s from the best what is called bad.he told me that Rubashkin takes all the Shochtim and Mashgichim that are thrown out of the Israeli Hashgochos. at that time I didn’t take him seriously but after the horrible Finkel story I Investigated and revealed

    21. Who does he think he is playing with yenem’s parnossah? ..Half of you readers proBably wouldn’t trust the Kashrus in this Rabbi’s home anyways

    22. The previous comment 4:47 PM is nothing less than loshon hora rechilus & moitzi shemra.

      All that are in the know know that kashrus in Eretz Yisroel especially Rabbanut has alot of controversy & they should not be mixing in to what is going on here in America – First clean your own house.

      As for KAJ removing their hechsher, they have not said that it was due to any known lack of Kashrus just that they were not satisfied with their level of access & their decision power etc.

      for them to provide a Kashrus certificate.

      They are 100% justified & correct in removing their certifiction on that basis.

      This in no way means that it is NOT KOSHER.

      I’m quite satisfied to rely on the other certifications that are of the highest calibre

      I really think that waht this is all about is POLITICS & MONEY.

    23. Cont. I revealed that it is really not a very reliable Hechsher. since then I only eat Empire which I always thought was not so good as Rubashkin. I know that all the Rubashkin Fans (although they claim the’re not) will start attacking me, but I did my homework and these are the facts. Kudos to a Rabbi that had the guts to say what he thinks is right. I’ve spoken to many Rabbies and they all agreed with me, but answered me that they don’t have the guts to say it.

    24. It could very well be that Empire is a better hechsher than Rubashkin & if your ivestigation

      & inquiries of Rabbonim leads you to buy Empire

      that’s wonderful.

      But you are very wrong for bashing Rubashkin as if it is not Kosher.

      They have their Machshir/Hashgacha & it’s considered to be very reliable by very many erliche consumers that don’t have an agenda.

      It is a huge aveira to spread malicious gossip

      especially in sefirah – Shame on you !

    25. Kashrus is one thing. Immigration another the two issues should not be mixed – they allegedly violated immigration regulations and the gov. Will do its job.

      As per Mr Schwartz – why don’t you buy all the cows you can at the auction and put them on your farm and care for them – then tell everyone else what to do.

    26. well, before the Finkel story the machshir/mashgiach was also very reliable and known to be trusted!

      I know that Rubashkin is the cheapest meat around, looks like money comes before kashrus, but don’t bash the rabbi he rather cares for Kashrus over money!

    27. Which Rabbi does not know the most basic element of not jumping to conclusion before doing a proper research; to take action that are base on an “allegation” – speaks for itself!

    28. After watching a video on the improper mistreatment of the cattle at the Rubahskins Kosher Slaughter house this year, and also wathcing the eye opener “A sacred duty”, as practicing Orthodox Judaism, we decided the only thing left to Morally, ethicially and spiritually do, was to become Vegan! Kiddush Hashem!

      This serves to be a most important wake-up call today since so much scandal has been going on not only with Agri-processors but all over the world! The recall of millions of pounds of E-Coli contaminated beef, and shut down of Hallmark meats this past 6 months alone, should be for sure, the wake up call for all Jews and all others, to seriously consider becomeing a vegan/vegitarian! Thank you for the article!!

    29. Kudos to Rabbi Herzfeld … the only orthodox rabbi, so far, to have the chutzpah and integrity to stand up to the brutal, corrupt, abusive abomination known as AgriProcessors!

      The epitome of kashruth is veganism.

      Meat is unhealthy for humans and the environment and (obviously) for the animals!

      Go Veg!

      R.Deych, RN

    30. Ok, I have no personal nor business conections with rubashkin, though I did go to camp with one of his kids who is a good guy.

      Dont knock rubashkin because you “think” yada yada yada. My cousin learnt in postville yeshiva and is a buki in shechita and halacha and a real what we call in chabad a “chasidishe guy” and says rubashkin shechita is all k’din.

      I had rav shpritzer as a rav in yeshiva close to 10 years ago, before and after that year he was a shochet at rubashkin.. I know many others that are shochtim and mashgichim there.

      You argue “we heard that by monsey” listen, if you want to accuse ALL past and present shochtim and mashgichim of either partaking or ignoring traife shechita etc.. your making a very sad and serious accusation..

      Rubashkin my have issues with labor and stuff.. but kashrus wise there are no issues.

    31. If this Rabbi wants to eat another Hechsher let him. Just don’t dictate to everyone what they should do. Too much interference in our lives & this has nothing to do with Kashrus & everything to do with a beef (pun intended) the Rabbi has with someone at Agri. Maybe his chickens were too dirty?

    32. Rubashkin has been doing a great service to Jewish communities worldwide with providing quality Kosher meats for quite a few years. They have gotten lots of bad press lately and some people with an agenda are using every opportunity to contribute to their downfall. Do you think it’s an accident that the largest INS rade in US history happens to be on a Kosher meat plant? Let’s not let them down during the time they need us most.

    33. The lesson re Rabbi Herzfeld’s letter has nothing to do with Kashrus. The latter was`apparently sent to Rabbi Winter (my Rabbi) & publicized BEFORE Rabbi Winter had a chance to read & respond. Rabbi Winter is currently in Eretz Yisroel for the unveiling of his father’s matzaiva. The lesson: Fomenting divisive publicity at any time–but especially during sefira–is “pas nisht” for everyone, especially Rabbanim. Rabbi Herzfeld (who I also know) has done many wonderful things, and perhaps he meant this letter to be private. But, knowing how things get publicized in the DC area, it is unlikely the letter was leaked by Rabbi Winter. Re Rubashkin, the matter of Kashrus is best left to the accepted Kashrus authorities.

    34. Apparently, Rabbi Herzfeld paskens from the Washington Post. I can say one thing, if it had HIS personal Hechsher, I definitely would not eat the meat.

      The fact that he makes a distinction between meat in stock before he read the Washington Post vs. after shows that it has NOTHING to do with Kashrus, and perhaps everything to do with his own political image.

      The fact is they have been under Hashgocha of the best Hechsherim, and employ frumme shochtim and mashgichim. To me that is all that matters.

    35. Why would anyone thank rabbi Hertzfeld???? Did he actually go and investigate all the accustations about METH and the rest? Ach, all hes doing is fueling the fire by what he read from other sources. How CAN anyone trust SUCH a person. just making decisions by what he hears?? And just a ps, my husband is in the food line, Hechsheirm are ALL ABOUT MONEY MONEY AND MONEY,,, If you dont believe me, open a restaurant for yourself and youll see, money speaks many languages.. Im not saying that for $ rabbanim will allow certain foods into an establishment, BUT i WILL say that for $$$ they will put on or take off their hechsheirim,

    36. I would like to see a statement from the Rabbonim in KAJ advising which meats they approve and disapprove of for the time being. The only hechsher currently by KAJ is on Empire,which is only poultry (and other products)but whose meat do they currently allow their kehillo and followers to use? Who can we trust? Do we have to go back to privately shecht and have each household do their own kashering like many years ago?Perhaps each Rov and kehillo should set up their own slaughtering operation instead of using a big factory? No,we cannot do that in this day and age. There should be an outside agency that spot-checks to make sure that the mashgichim are reliable?Let’s not make uptories and tell rumors. That would be even worse. The meat may or may not be reliably kosher,but the bad-mouthing definitely is evil;loshon and motzi-shem rah.

    37. dear rabbi

      the last time i checked a shulchan oruch it says that we need 2 witnesses before we believe something. halacha also says that we need to choiker vedoiresh. and the last time i checked with my lawyer in america we are innocent till proven guilty. and halcha also say that a rov that paskens a din without listening to both sides.

      may you as a rabbi go back and take a refresher course in halacha versus politics and the halacha verus the mass media. because that is where you aree getting your information.

      may hashem protect us form these “rabbis” and from all the politicions.

      instead of seeing this as an attack on kosher meat throught america and staning up for it. they go and defend the goverment

      hashem yirachein

    38. “Is there any rabbi to argue the affirmative side on the question “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?”

      “we decided the only thing left to Morally, ethicially and spiritually do, was to become Vegan! Kiddush Hashem!”

      That’s going to make it tough to bring the korban Pesach….

      As for me I’ll keep eating Eidah and Rav Rubin…

    39. “Meat is unhealthy for humans and the environment and (obviously) for the animals!”

      We’re not interested in the opinions of goyim. Bring a daas Torah or keep your trefy to yourself, koifer.

    40. you know him for 40 years he is only 29 years old,

      show how acurate your and his comments are!!!

      please only post acurate info.

    41. Read the letter carefully. Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld Shlita does not call for a boycott but rather he calls for an independent investigation. There are a lot of allegations here and we need to be certain that our fleish is kosher. All the supervising agencies are making a lot of shkalim off of this and chas veshalom we might be eating treif. An independent investigation would give us the confidence that we need.

      New York

    42. 1 – KAJ made a decision to move away from Rubashkin. If there were actual problems there, would they have given a few months timetable for the removal to take effect?? The change was political and certainly had to do with their getting a contract for Empire.

      2 – How dare anyone compare Rubashkin with the Monsey story. In Monsey you had a mashgiach that didn’t figure out that a guy he was totally enamored with was running a totally seperate operation bringing in treif meat and and re-labelling it as kosher. This even after someone sounded an alarm that was seriously kashrus related i.e. tounges that could not be properly accounted for as coming from a reliable kosher source.

      3 – Rubashkin did what has been industry standard – hiring illegals in order to keep prices reasonable for the kosher consumer. How many people out there have undocumented cleaning ladies working in in their houses during the week ?? Even if they are documented are they paying their social security and other taxes ?? People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

      4 – If the good Rabbi is so concerned with the “morality” of how workers are treated and paid is the next step to have all slaughterhouses ( even those in south america where most Satmer & Debretziner meat come from ) under inspection for worker treatment, overtime pay and taxes as well as PETA’s OK?? Should kosher butcher shops, caterer’s, fish stores, pizza shops have all their records checked to make certain that all their employees are documented ??? Rabbi, your fears and direction unfortunately remind me of methods used by PETA and others to put Shechita in the hands of those unfriendly to Yiddishkeit R’L.

    43. 1- Mr. Rubashkin is not the rav hamachsir. if there is a problem with the meat then Rav Weissmandel is the one to question.

      2- KAJ left Agriprocessors inc. because the hechsher of Rav Weissmandel forcibly pushed them out by giving them limited access. telling them in other words that you are not welcome.

      3- Mr. Rubashkin is an ehrliche, chasidishe yid, and accusations made by goyim who have zero ne’emonus, and reports made by the media who purposely invent or change info. to get more publicity should be trusted at all.

    44. The letter sounds like a typical liberal type making a foolish statement/ doing something idiotic to make themselves feel better about a situation, or garner support for their own faction. Think about the recent scandal of a Dartmouth professor who sued because her students didn’t buy her liberal BS. Nobody HEARD of her before she did something stupid and got huge coverage. The scandal of Rubashkin shows a lack of competence and basic ethical business behaviors by the Rubashkin company, though like the above posters mentioned it may be blown way out of proportion, as the WashPo hates Israel and jews, like 99% of todays printed media. PETA hates jews as well, and preys on shechita, while in the average American slaughterhouse many animals are pretty much tortured to death. The fact that Rubashkin has so many recurring problems makes them suspect in my mind, however.

    45. OK lets try a little refresher course in basics:

      Torah, shulchan orech and the chofetz chaim tell us: We are not supposed to be mikabel loshon hora.

      Herzfeld says: 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.

      Mishna says: Al tadin as chavercha od shetagiya l’mikomo.

      Furthermore, certain other allegations might have a direct impact on whether the animals are actually slaughtered properly.

      (I don’t where he got that idea from. PETA made a great video showing animals being properly shechted. Then they dubbed the video with sound so you can hear the animals bellowing in agony, even though an animal that’s been shechted can’t make noise. Did some of the illegals pose shailos on kashrus?)

      Shulchan Orech says: even if a guy steals he has ne’emonus in issur v’heter.

      Herzfeld says: Although we can not be certain, at this time, whether the allegations are actually true, we should act with caution and concern.

      The Posuk: V’ahavta l’rayacha komocho would probably cover saying something or doing something that would adversely affect the parnasah of hundreds of Jews. especially without any concrete cause.

      Herzfeld says: 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.

      (Great thinking, only apply the ban to the meat that will be subject to improvements, not to the meat you actually question.)

      Herzfeld: I also urge the Vaad to personally investigate this matter and report back to the community on the status of this company.

      (Wise commentary from a clean shaven guy that eats pas akum, bishul akum, gevinas akum drinks cholov stam, things that the Gemara says even Eliyahu and his Beis Din can’t be matir, and expresses his concern over Rubashkin products, but only AFTER they put improvements in place. Smart.)

      This is just modern orthodoxy jockeying for position to try to take up a leadership position in Klal yisroel that they have no right to. For example: when a certain Rabbi in Monsey was ousted from his position due allegations of sexual impropriety and booted from the 1000 member strong RCA, the largest rabbinical organization in America, he threatened to take them to bais din. The 1000 member strong RCA, the largest rabbinical organization in America having no-one in their 1000 member largest organization in America cabable of bringing a case to bais din hired S.F., A chasisidsha Yid from Brooklyn, to be their Toen.

      Go vegaterian Herzfeld. Your brain cells will never miss the protein.

    46. Firstly, I would like to say that the cliché “history repeats itself” is to teach us to learn from our previous mistakes and not to repeat them. We are standing now in the days of sefirah when 24,000 students were killed because of their lack of ahavas yisroel and yet there are so many of us who are hastily condemning Agriprocessors based on allegations they read in a newspaper! It says in the torah “lo saamod al dam reyacha” doesn’t it apply to a time where a jewish company is going through very trying times not to step in and make matters worse? I do not know who this Rabbi Herzfeld is and probably never will. However, my question to him is how is it that he can assume a kosher status of a company based on an article in a newspaper? And, if he is truly sincerely worried about their kashrus then why is it that the stores are allowed to keep the previous shipments? Kosher is kosher and treif is treif there is no two ways about it. I for one agree with being cautious especially after the whole monsey scandal and that is exactly why (being that I do sell meat from Agriprocessors) when I heard that there is a kashrus concern I researched into it myself instead of jumping to any conclusions. If someone is worried about the kashrus at agriprocessors why is it that they question it now after a raid by the United States government? Even if they knowingly hired illegal workers how does that affect the kashrus of the meat and chicken in the plant? Many people are questioning the “Kosher” status of issues brought to light in the recent Immigration Raid in Agriprocessors. More than any of these allegations, it is unKosher to assume guilt when an accusation is made. This is a cornerstone of justice – presume innocence until guilt is proven. In regard to the PETA accusations it is well known that PETA has an agenda which is to wipe out shechita altogether from the United States as animal right activists have done in so many European countries. This has nothing to do with Agriprocessors or their method of shechita but rather they chose to attack the largest kosher meat packing plant in the United States. In any case, there is an article which was printed in the Jewish Press (written by Nathan Lewin) explaining all of this. In addition, there is a letter signed by 14 different rabbonim stating that they saw the video that was used by PETA in their accusations and there is nothing halachically wrong with what went on. Not only that, but the USDA came to the plant and put out a statement afterwards that the process in which the cows are slaughtered is not inhumane. As for the recent allegations on the plant I am sure that the company filled out all the required paperwork on employees, and demanded

      all of the required ID from them. Many employees were turned away for having invalid IDs. The affidavit itself describes an attempt to get hired which failed until the government supplied the applicant with a valid Social Security card. The fact that so many were employed is a tribute to the quality of their deceit, not a willful transgression on the part of the company. The biggest proof of this all is that in every article it states that of the 382 employees arrested 302 were charged with criminal activites such as I.D. fraud and all but two of them pleaded guilty to these charges. In regard to the stories of abuse taking place at the plant the following is a statement which I think is interesting and something to take into consideration –

      “The stories of abuse in the affidavit seem to be fabricated. The first, a

      particularly offensive anecdote, tells of a floor supervisor, identified as

      a Chassidic Jew, duct-taping an employee’s eyes and striking him with a meat

      hook. A convenient qualifier, “apparently not causing serious injuries,”

      neatly avoids the possibility of verifying the story by asking local doctors

      or hospitals. Another story follows that one, also alleging abuse by a

      Chassidic Jewish floor supervisor. One flaw with both stories – there are no Chassidic floor supervisors in the plant, nor have there ever been.” The story of the drug lab has hopefully been discredited by most people. It has been over two weeks since the raid and no statement by the authorities have mentioned finding such an operation. The allegation is a preposterous one to begin with – the plant is constantly monitored by the plant authorities, the government, and numerous third parties. For something like that to have taken place without comment would mean either that these authorities chose to ignore a drug operation (highly unlikely) or that they did not notice (again, highly unlikely). I have not seen many media outlets with the courage to question the allegations. Most news sources seem content thinking up attention-grabbing headlines, rehashing old attacks on the company, and interviewing press-informed legislators, instead of practicing honest investigative and informative journalism. It is my hope howevever, that the frum community (especially the rabbinic authorities) would not base their opinion solely on what they read in the newspapers and do some research for themselves. It is obvious to me that there are unfortunately many people out there who would rather bring about this company’s downfall then find out the truth for themselves. Do you realize that because of the statements you are so freely saying you can cause hundreds of people to lose their parnassah!?! Forget about the Rubashkin family and the countless mosdos and people they support. What about their employees in Postville (There are over 100 families living there with only four of them related). What will all these people do if you succeed in what you are trying to accomplish? How about their employees in Miami Beach and New York? You are not just attacking one man and his company but hundreds of yidden who rely on this company for their parnassah. And as clearly proven time and time again after so many negative accusations have come out against them that they are running a plant which is dedicated completely to supplying kosher meat and poultry.

      Blindly assuming guilt without any understanding of the situation or investigation into the claims is not only unKosher. It’s wrong.

    47. I find it very troubling that we are in a time of sefirah, yet many are quick to attack the Rabbi, even on items that are not in the letter. Lashon Hora applies to web postings as well! Let us all be careful lest we be judged.

    48. I agree that soem of the posters here are pretty vituperative, but Herzfeld himself writes that this article is on charges ALLEGED against Rubashkin, and he advocates a boycott based on said allegations. If people/the Vaad actually ordered a ban, and the allegations proved to be untrue, I think that Rubashkin should sue all parties for any losses they incur.

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