AIT seeks “communally-minded” Kashrut organisation

December 27, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Sydney caterer Amaze in Taste has rejected a claim made by the Kashrut Authority that a settlement would have been reached in the dispute between the two entities had Rabbi Yosef Feldman not issued the company a hechsher.

ait290Cohn said: “AIT was in a position to conclude an alternative arrangement with another Rabbi had Rabbi Feldman not taken on the supervision. We were delighted that Rabbi Feldman took on the Hashgocho and he has already improved the standard of Kashrut, not only at AIT but also at other kosher facilities. Rabbi Feldman is also attempting and working with all parties to ensure that local Sydney Shechita should be utilised as much as possible. The community has already saved many thousands of dollars in fees, as the function charge per head levied by the KA has not been applied under Rabbi Feldman’s supervision. We hope that the community can see the costs benefit under the present arrangement.”

He added: “The KA has displayed a belligerent approach in its discussions with AIT, and its treatment of AIT’s Mashgiach, a former KA employee, has been questionable. The assertion by the KA that he cannot continue to work as a working Mashgiach is not a halachic requirement. Although many leading Rabbis have expressed their awareness of this to me, the KA remains intransigent.

As the lay leadership of the community has correctly asserted, the main issue preventing a united Kashrut is the current structure of the Rabbinic Governance of the KA.  AIT will not enter into an agreement with the KA under its present structure, which we believe is in essence a privately run authority.  We believe in a communally run organisation.”

The views of many people I have spoken to are that, unless both the KA and the Beth Din become properly representative of the community exercising full accountability, the community should  establish both a new communal Beth Din and  Kashrut organisation as soon as possible.

AIT’s objective is to reverse the downward trend of the number of kosher functions over the last few years by making them more affordable. This under the current KA structure in our view is not possible.

A transparent, community based, trustworthy, not for profit organization is one that AIT strives to work together with in order to promote Kashrut for the benefit of the entire community. AIT will continue to use all its endeavours to working with all interested parties to achieve this goal.


5 Responses to “AIT seeks “communally-minded” Kashrut organisation”
  1. Rabbi Meir says:

    So heres the story
    KAS blames RYFeldman for there no longer being a communal Kashrut in Syd
    AIT blames KAS
    RYF has improved Kashrut in NSW
    RYF is also ensuring that NSW Kosher meat is kept in business
    AIT and RYF are saving the NSW Jewish community heaps of money
    Is RYF doing this for free??
    AIT and RYF want to encourage more Kosher functions by making them more affordable
    KAS is not belligerent but “display a belligerent approach”
    KAS is intransigent because they will no longer employ the Mashgiach who gave them the finger
    AIT insists that Rabbinic Governance [WTH is that?] of KAS is the main problem
    AIT believes that KAS is a profitable privately run enterprise
    AIT knows that NSW needs a new Beis Din and a new Kashrut Authority
    AIT will work with anyone and everyone who is earnest and honest
    BA [Benseon Apple] admits KAS is not perfect
    BA advises that there must be personality clashes at KAS

  2. Benseon Apple says:

    AIT’s demands are astounding.

    Whilst the KA might not be perfect, it successfully fulfills its mission in advancing kashrus in the city. Since its establishment in the early 1990s it has brought relative stability to the kashrus scene in Sydney and significantly broadened the range of kosher options for the community.

    The level of kashrus offered by the KA is on a par with major American kashrus agencies (such as the OK, with whom it has a working relationship). While the level of supervision it offers and the halachic standards it adopts may not be as high as some would like, the agency is respected worldwide and its rabbinic administrator is a thoroughly trusted colleague of leading kashrus representatives overseas.

    The KA has a rabbinic and lay board and, until the recent resignation of Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, it was a (rare) public project of both the Sydney Beth Din and the Yeshiva Rabbinate.

    The KA’s books have been open for scrutiny in the past and, from recent news reports I have read, they have again been made available to JCA representatives.

    Given this, it is hard to imagine what else the KA could do to satisfy AIT’s amorphous demands that the KA become a “community based, trustworthy, not for profit organization”.

    No doubt there are personality clashes in the equation, but one cannot realistically expect the rabbinic or lay leadership of the KA to resign simply because a rogue caterer cannot get along with them.

    Similarly, AIT’s desire to use Melbourne meat and to have the deposit waived are unrealistic in that the KA has set policies that all caterers/eateries have to abide by for sound halachic and financial reasons. Even if the KA somehow found a way to give in to AIT’s demands, no doubt it would lead to a plethora of other caterers/eateries knocking on its door seeking dispensations for a range of issues.

    Aside from all of the above, AIT is a private, profit-making business and it is chutzpahdik in the extreme for it to seek to dictate what a community organisation should or should not do. It is also chutzpahdik for AIT – whose function charges are some of the most expensive on offer – to claim that it advocates “revers[ing] the downward trend of the number of kosher functions over the last few years by making them more affordable”.

  3. Michael says:

    I find a few points in this article highly disturbing:

    1) What areas of kashrut has Rabbi Feldman improved? And which other establishments? What wasn’t good enough before? If this is a genuine claim, it should be made public.

    2) The cost benefits of the present arrangement is irrelevant, as this is only (allegedly) a temporary arrangement. As for saving the community “thousands,” how many hundreds of thousands of dollars of communal debt did its predecessors, Passion8, rack up before they went bankrupt?

    In addition, I was under the impression that the overhead charge is to enable the KA running (secretaries, office rent etc). Seems fairly reasonable for a non for profit organisation.

    3) As for the mashgiach, the view of many people I have spoken with is that he pretty much pulled off an Edward Snowden on the KA, by stabbing his employers in the back after the KA sought financial security from AIT. Would any company maintain such an employee? And who are the “leading rabbis” and why haven’t they come out publicly with regard to this issue?

    4) The AIT spokesperson asserts that the main issue preventing a united kashrut is the “rabbinic structure governance,” of the KA. Let us not forget that this entire saga began because AIT was unwilling to give a financial bond to the KA. Had they concurred, the maelstrom over the last couple of months would never have started. The KA would continue as it had over the past 20 years, being the one, unified kashrut of the city.

    5) I am slightly disappointed Henry. There are some comments here that are borderline tabloid material. The KA is a privately run authority? They don’t have full accountability? This is the same vitriol that rears it’s ugly head every couple of years. How many times do we have to hear the same nonsense! The KA is incorporated. All it’s finances are on the books and are for free viewing. It has a rabbinic and lay board.
    Am I missing something here?

    6) AIT, upset by having to financially commit to a bond to the KA, which was just burned 70k ( as printed by the AJN) by its predecessors, Passion8, wishes to take this city back over 50 years!? Make another Beth Din, and another communal kashrus? Bring this city to its knees through machloket? Our Beth Din is the most internationally recognised in Australia/Asia, what exactly requires fixing?

    It is quite clear, even through the vitriol, what the problem here is. AIT, whilst preaching accountability and trustworthiness, have created an untenable situation. Instead of simply committing the bond, they chose to wreak havoc. And the only ones to suffer? The rest of us.

  4. Pamela says:

    its all meshugge lets eat

  5. Laura Jacks says:

    Who exactly is this unnamed “spokesperson” of AIT? Why is he or she too much of a coward to put their name to the utter lies and disgraceful slander they have publicly spoken about the KA?

    The matter is really quite simple- AIT refused to pay a bond to the KA (whom they still owe money to)- and are now covering up their corruption by allying themselves with known corrupt “community leaders” (the Feldmans)- who owe hundreds of thousand of dollars to their employees in their own organization!
    Who exactly are you trying to fool?

    The only people who aren’t transparent are AIT and the Feldman crew!

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