Melbourne in Meltdown

May 20, 2012 by J-Wire
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Many of Nestle and Peters ice creams have been declared Kosher this week by Melbourne authority Its kosher, but Kosher Australia says don’t lick that cone…it’s not Kosher.

Rabbi Meir Rabi took over the reins of authorising foodstuffs from Rabbi Shlomo Rudszki, a former chief minister at Melbourne’s South Caulfield Hebrew Congregation. However, many members of the community do not recognise his Kosher VeYosher certifications and the dominant Kosher Authority has told J-Wire that whilst they are still checking Nestles and Peters ice cream products, there has been no decision made and they state that the products classified as Kosher by Rabbi Rabi are yet to pass their tests.

Rabbi Rabi told J-Wire that the standards imposed by the K-A were more suited to the ultra orthodox and he remains satisfied that products declared kosher on his Its Kosher  web site present no problems for mainstream Jewry who maintain Kosher homes.

He said: “We have certified the “Lord of the Fries” restaurants as being Kosher to which many of those who say our standards don’t meet theirs are regular visitors .”

The latest stoush between Australia’s two Kosher authorities is over the range of ice cream produced by Nestle/Peters. KosherVeYosher has accepted their full range as meeting Kashrit standards with the exception of Heaven Chunky Cookie, Heaven Rocky, Smarties Pushup and Drumstick Kit Kat. Both authorities have given the green light to the Nestle Polar products.

Rabbi Rabi told J-Wire that the products approved are all manufactured in Melbourne at the company’s Mulgrave plant under Its Kosher’s supervision.

A spokesman for Kosher Australia told J-Wire: “We are hoping to soon be able to declare the Connoisseur range of ice cream suitable for Kosher consumption but we strongly advise those who use the K-A as their guideline that we are not yet satisfied that Nestles/Peters ice creams are acceptable as Kosher.

Rabbi Rabi told J-Wire that he was concerned that if standards remained too high to meet the demands of the ultra-orthodox, mainstream Jewry could wander away from keeping Kosher. His web site displays a certificate from the London Beth Din acknowledging his ability to certify products Kosher although it does not specify this…it merely alluded to his religious knowledge.

This is not the first time the two authorities have had differences of opinion. Earlier this year the Kosher Authority issued a joint statement with the Rabbinical Council of Victoria and the Sydney Beth Din advising community members that a soft matzo which had been declared Kosher for Passover “should not be consumed or owned by a Jewish person during the festival of Pesach”. The same statement repeats one made in 2010 in which the RCV writes that Kosher VeYoshser “had been authorising the kashrut of products and establishments through means which do not conform to the standards adopted by international halachic and kashrut authorities”. KA issued a further statement last year declaring  that “the KosherVeYosher certification cannot be relied upon at any time”.

KA is very clear in its attitude towards the certification of Nestles/Peters ice creams. Yankel Wajsbort told J-Wire: “We still have to check Nestles’ suppliers.We have been working with Nestles for two years on this issue. The ice cream certification is a gradual process. There are 59 favours used on site of which three are kosher. It is a challenge for us to understand that someone can walk into a facility and walk out an hour later and say all is fine. Nestles themselves are quite keen but we have to look all the ingredients that go into the product and what other products are produced using the same equipment.”

In Sydney Rabbi Aron Groner said “The Kashrut Authority does not accept the Hechsher  of Kosher VeYosher. The wider community tend to follow the opinion of a particular agency. The K-A is the main agency in Australia.

In the meantime those who accept Kosher ViYosher will get cones for Cohens…but it may not be too long before community members whose standards level out with K-A’s enjoy their first lick of a Connoisseur.

 

 

Comments

4 Responses to “Melbourne in Meltdown”
  1. Harry Joachim says:

    “In Sydney Rabbi Groner said “The Kashrut Authority does not accept the Hercsha of Kosher VeYosher.”

    “Hercsha”??! Surely this should be hechsher?

    Also, in some places the story refers to “K-A” and in others, “KA”… Both presumably mean Kosher Australia, but this is confusing…

    Sorry, but I can’t stand inaccurate reporting and sloppy sub-editing Mr Benjamin!

  2. Harry Joachim says:

    “Earlier this year the Kosher Authority issued a joint statement with the Rabbinical Council of Victoria and the Sydney Beth Din advising community members that a soft matzo which had been declared Kosher for Passover “should not be consumed or owned by a Jewish person during the festival of Pesach”. ”

    Another error. The 2012 statement was issued by the RCV only. In 2011 a statement was issued by the Kashrut Authority NSW.

  3. Harry Joachim says:

    “A spokesman for Kosher Authority” – this is presumably a mistake? I assume you meant to say “Kosher Australia”?

  4. Harry Joachim says:

    “His web site displays a certificate from the London Beth Din acknowledging his ability to certify products Kosher.”

    The document on the KvY website does no such thing. It is a letter from Dayan Yonason Abraham from the LBD saying that R Rabi is a talmud chacham. It makes no comment whatsoever on KvY or the kashrus of the products under the KvY supervision.

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