Kashruth in NSW

October 30, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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A great number of the NSW Jewish community appears to be embracing food served be new caterer Amaze in Taste as sufficiently Kosher to meet their needs…but the Rabbinical COuncil of NSW has something to say on the matter.

Rabbi Chaim Ingram

Rabbi Chaim Ingram

The following is a statement released by Rabbi Chaim Ingram, the Council’s honorary secretary:

“The RCNSW wishes to state categorically that it does not deem acceptable  any    communal function that is not under adequate Rabbinic kashrut  supervision.  This includes Rabbinically-unsupervised functions overseen by amashgiach who is in the direct employ of a caterer as a conflict of interests may result.

It is our considered view that the KA is presently the only rabbinic body in NSW with the expertise to oversee such supervision to an acceptable standard.  Under no circumstances can a rabbi who merely “oversees” a function and chooses to remain anonymous be acceptable as a form of Kashrut supervision

The RCNSW undertakes to spearhead negotiations, insofar as it is able, to end the current impasse between the KA and AIT with a view to restoring AIT to the ambit of acceptable kosher supervision.  It urges both sides to be flexible and show goodwill and a sincere desire to resolve the situation for the benefit of the Sydney Jewish Community.

Until the matter is resolved, the RCNSW  strongly urges all communal organisations as well as kosher-conscious individuals to employ only caterers operating under KA supervision .”

Members of the community attending a Jewish National Fund dinner in Sydney last night were catered for by Amaze in Taste with a few requesting KA-sanctioned food prepared by Katzys.

Amaze in Taste will provide meals for more than 700 guests at tonight’s JNF Gala Dinner. The food will not be under the supervision of the Kashruth Authority but a meshgiach will be in attendance and the company assures diners that the meat, which has been supplied by a Melbourne Kosher butcher, is under the supervision of a  mashgiach. Provision has once again been made for those attending who require a KA herchsher. They will also receive sealed meals prepared by Katzys.

J-Wire understands the number of Kosher meals requested represents a very small number of the 750 expected guests at the function.


6 Responses to “Kashruth in NSW”
  1. Baron says:

    Colin, There is a major consideration in this that you are either not aware of, or are simply choosing to ignore.

    Whilst The KA is a “communal” and a not for profit organisation, it is totally self funding. All KA income is derived from providing services to the community. The KA receives NO FUNDING from the community or organisations such as the JCA. Eventually all our income comes from the members of the community who have functions, whether they be individuals for smachot, communal organisations for catered fundraising and other functions, the day schools for camps, Shules for kiddushim etc. If our licensees don’t pay their accounts, for whatever reason, and bare in mind that the very major portion of those accounts is for the payment of wages for Mashgichim, who will always have been paid by the time the invoice is issued, any unpaid invoice has an immediate impact on our financial health. We have no “bank” of funds to call on to meet any shortfall.

    If we don’t pursue the protections we have to have in place, such as directors’ personal guarantees and bonds, the ONLY alternative we have is to increase our fees and charges and then the whole community pays for the shortfall, and that is hardly fair. To not have these protections in place would fiduciary irresponsibility. All KA licensees enter into the contractual relationship with The KA knowing full well what their obligations are, there are no surprises.

    Directors’ guarantees are a very standard practice right throughout the business world, and bonds are also quite widely demanded.

    Either in the case of The KA or any other business arrangement with these requirements, no person is forced to enter into the arrangement, but if they make that choice they must accept all the conditions and terms, that is just the way business operates.

    As to your suggestion that we are unsympathetic, what about our employees and all the other unsecured creditors, almost $1 million our of pocket, do they not also deserve sympathy, and where there is a legal avenue for them to seek that which is theirs, why would you deny them the right to pursue that avenue? Your argument is extremely one sided.

  2. Baron says:

    Do yourself a favour and read the Myths & Facts document we distributed this week and which will be appearing in the AJN next week, and also take the trouble to read the Passion8 administrator’s report to creditors.
    If you can’t be bothered, call The KA office, 02-9365-2933, and pick up a set of our audited accounts which are filed with Fair Trading EVERY year.
    As to The KA being unsympathetic, the reverse is true, we are sympathetic to this community which has lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, $74,000 alone of KA funds,which in effect belong to the community, in the collapse of Passion8, for which we hold legally valid directors’ guarantees. Why do you not show the same concern for all those hard working families who have no chance to recover their money lost? Your sympathy and concern seems to only go one way. The alternative is to impose increased fees on the community because that amount of money vanishing from our annual income is a major hurdle to overcome. The reason we don’t disclose individuals’ salaries is twofold, it is no one’s business what someone else earns, and there are privacy laws to prevent it. Do you publish your salary? You comment that a view was expressed in regard to Passion8 not surviving “under our conditions”, how is it then that all our other licensees manage to survive under the same conditions? Perhaps the administrator’s remarks might show you the answer.

  3. Dane says:

    Here’s another potential “conflict of interest” for Rabbi Ingram and the RCNSW to consider:

    The only salaried board member of the Kashrut Authority – who has the potential to benefit financially from the RCNSW’s support of the KA expressed in this statement (e.g. improved job/salary stability if the KA maintains its monopoly) – is also President of the RCNSW’s de facto national parent, the Organisation of Rabbis of Australasia*.

    Interestingly, the RCNSW issued two statements published by J-Wire on the exact same date – one jointly signed by their de facto national president (on another matter), and one that this same person could potentially benefit from financially. When criticising mashgichim for potential conflicts of interest, the Rabbinic leadership must ensure that they too demonstrate true independence.

    * If in doubt about this de facto relationship, note that the ORA has exactly two vice presidents – the President of the RCNSW, and the President of the RCV (see http://www.tzedek.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/130911-ORA-Yom-Kippur-acknowledgement-and-apology.pdf).

  4. Benseon Apple says:

    Colin – your allegations about the KA are both pernicious and entirely unsubstantiated. The KA has been quite open in stating the nature of their financial requirements from caterers. In the case of Passion8, the caterer went bankrupt because of mismanagement in the face of an economic slowdown.

    I refer you to the comments by myself and KA president Baron Revelman at http://www.jwire.com.au/news/ka-and-amaze-in-taste-talks-break-down/37725#more-37725

    The KA is owed tens of thousands of dollars by Passion8, as is Katzy’s. Why should these important communal bodies have to suffer because of the financial mismanagement of the former directors of Passion8?

  5. Colin says:

    The KA has just issued letter of demand to the directors of Passion8. By doing this they have shown their true colours. They clearly are not a caring Jewish organization that shows compassion to people who are going through hard times. By this action they have shown that they are a commercial organisation interested only in lining their own pockets. They hide behind the veil of being a not for profit organisation but unlike most not profits, they do not disclose the salaries that they pay the board or executives or provide any transparency on their financial operations. I can only assume these salaries must be very large or they would have no problem disclosing them.

    The KA was informed early last year that Passion8 would struggle to survive under the conditions that the KA imposed on them.

    The KA ‘s response then was as unsympathetic as it is now.

    The Rabbis on the KA board need to remind themselves about the essence of the Jewish religion, its commandments and edicts about charity and how one should treat his fellow man.

    I am shocked by the callousness of the KA pursuing three hard working families who are already experiencing tough times and have made such a valuable contribution to the Sydney community’s ability to enjoy outstanding kosher functions and meals at home over many years.

    If the KA continues to pursue this matter I will not attend any communal functions under their auspices and urge others to do the same.

  6. Otto Waldmann says:

    In regards to the ongoing controversies on this matter, a few things must be clarified:
    – financial considerations – as per costs to alternative “meausres” -, are completely extraneous. The issue is purely chalachical.
    – as complementary observations, rationals, one must demonstrate that (a) KA superviosn is not reliable against (b) that non KA supervision is reliable.

    I, for one, would negate both and affirm that ONLY KA supervision IS reliable.

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