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Is this a reliable hechsher?


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#1 the Real Adiel

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:45 PM

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#2 justbatya

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:48 PM

Eagerly awaiting an answer-- I've always wanted to go there.

My poor SO still thinks that a Batya is a what, and not a who.


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#3 Psychodad

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 12:50 PM

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#4 Nooch

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:01 PM

I thought certifications that have hebrew on them are automatically okay

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#5 Leah Anderson

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:02 PM

We have a butcher take out place near me called Ben's Take out and it has his hechsher. Was always wondering if it was kosher, stopped in to get a soda or chips a coupld of times. I only see reform and conservative Jews shopping there. Nobody orthodox. I would call up the OU if I were you. and just because he learned at this yeshiva thirty years ago doesn't mean that he would hold by the highest standards.

#6 Psychodad

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:06 PM

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#7 Leah Anderson

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 01:43 PM

so now the OU gets to say which other hechsherim are acceptable or not? seems anticompetititve


Okay, so if someone doesn't trust the OU they can call up a Rabbi who they do trust.

#8 accolade

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 02:41 PM

The fact that he doesn't want to disclose which national orthodox rabbinical organization he is a member of is the clinching factor to me. I wouldn't trust him without further information.
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#9 Bezalel

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Posted 19 December 2008 - 03:55 PM

I would say that it is as reliable as any hechsher that expired at Pesach 2008.

#10 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 01:17 PM

A certain H.com member once posted about eating there. Is that reliable enough???
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#11 NY-LON

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 08:51 PM

I'd say not reliable.... based on what I know of multiple establishments with that hechsher. Including one my sister worked at in high school.
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#12 TheDuncePolice

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 08:55 PM

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#13 the Real Adiel

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 09:43 PM

It's also interesting that he signs his name with "rav" in front. Do most rabbonim do that?

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#14 TheDuncePolice

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 09:57 PM

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#15 grend123

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 10:15 PM

There are a large number of vegan restaurants in lower manhattan that claim to be kosher. Many of them sport teudot like this. My chavrusa in YU once looked extensively into one of them (found the rabbi's number and called him) and discovered that the "hechsher" consisted of him visiting once a week at a fixed time and looking around. The store was open on Shabbat and there was absolutely no chance of the rabbi visiting on that day. And he had no specific kashrut training, just a generic semicha. Since then I've had occasion to look into some other of the hechsherim on other vegan places and the story was basically the same in each case, with mild variations. Note that I have not looked into this rabbi in particular, but it fits the pattern. Perhaps he's the exception.

Is that kosher? In a technical sense the answer is "probably." The food is, after all, supposed to be vegan, and there is some minimal "supervision" that probably fulfills the b'diavad condition according to some posek. But there's absolutely no way I would eat there, and I would classify eating there as one (small) step above eating in a similar vegan restaurant that did not claim to be kosher.

In general, you need to think about context. If a store in the middle of Manhattan has a hechsher that you have never heard of, you need to wonder why they didn't go with one of the dozens of well known hashgachot that are common in NYC (OU, Kof-K, the various Va'adim), or even with one of the less known but still commonly accepted ones (like the Chuster Rav, for example). Money could be a factor, but it's a major red flag... and that coupled with the laughable language on this particular teudah (a rabbinic organization???) smells like a problem.

For the record, the OU policy is that they will NOT tell you if another hechsher is reliable. (Unless you know someone personally who can tell you off the record - they do have a list of who the OU allows products from, but they won't release it for various reasons.)

Edit: To be clear, I'm not accusing the rabbis involved in these hechsherim of duplicity per se. Rather, they genuinely seemed to think that this was ok. I would say more "dangerously naive" than anything else.
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#16 Bezalel

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Posted 20 December 2008 - 10:34 PM

If a store in the middle of Manhattan has a hechsher that you have never heard of, you need to wonder why they didn't go with one of the dozens of well known hashgachot that are common in NYC (OU, Kof-K, the various Va'adim)


Can an idolater whose restaurant is open on Shabbos get one of those hechshers?

#17 YBS

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:41 AM

Dudes who can't properly write in either English or Hebrew kill me.
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#18 GlenRose

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:54 AM

Ben's is definitely not okay. There are several of them in NYC and I looked into it.

As for the Indian restaurant in lower Manhattan, as a Lower East Side resident I can tell you that no one uses it. I once looked into this guy. Nobody seems to know him. I wouldn't eat there based on what I know.

#19 mosheshmeal

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:58 AM

Hmm, I called the 718 number listed, and a teenage girl (so it seems) picked up. Residential phone number.

Well, did you speak to her and ask about the hechsher, or did you just breathe heavily and then hang up?

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#20 GlenRose

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Posted 21 December 2008 - 02:59 AM

Well, did you speak to her and ask about the hechsher, or did you just breathe heavily and then hang up?

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