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Friday, December 29, 2006

More on GG Buyer

The 5TJT has some background on the new buyer of Gourmet glatt:
After protracted and intermittent negotiations, the Gourmet Glatt Food Emporium was sold on Tuesday to a small group headed by Henry (Yechezkel Shraga) Kauftheil of Brooklyn. The sale will clear the way for the return of kashrus certification of the store by the Vaad HaKashrus of the Five Towns. The total sale price is purported to be between seven and eight million dollars—a complete buyout of the business from its former owners, the Bolender family.

In a wide-ranging phone interview with the Five Towns Jewish Times on Tuesday morning, Mr. Kauftheil emphasized that his objective is to get past the bad feelings that have plagued much of the Five Towns community due to the dispute between the Vaad and Gourmet Glatt, and to restore Gourmet Glatt to its position as a leading kosher supermarket. He added, "Our goal is to make Gourmet Glatt a showcase kosher supermarket unlike any other." The Kauftheil group, which owns the kosher.com name, has big plans for the store and the web address, which they believe will ultimately serve kosher consumers around the world.

Mr. Kauftheil says that his interest in purchasing Gourmet Glatt began long before there was even a hint of a kashrus crisis in Cedarhurst. He had been hoping to purchase the makings of a world-class kosher food emporium and had seen the Gourmet Glatt facility as possibly providing such an opportunity. The dispute with the Vaad has both complicated and sped up the purchase process. Mr. Kauftheil is hopeful that all details of the sale can be finalized shortly and that the Vaad HaKashrus of the Five Towns can resume its kashrus supervision of the store within the next few days.
As I noted below, I have been informed that Gourmet Glatt is back under the hashgacha of the Vaad. I have been informed that the Vaad will be reinstating the Hashagacha as of January 8 January 2. I wish the new owners the best of luck.

65 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to prove how dumb and how blind the five towns people are

just to let you know that
as of thursday about 5:00 pm
gourmet glatt is under NO HASHGACHA
whats so ever untill TUESDAY MORNING
so Ortho Mom you and your fellow five towners can hide under neath your covers because it shows how dumb and sad you guys have been treating this entire sick story.

so i wish all chovod seekers and money suckers and liars a GREAT SHABBOS and watch now because there is a lot more to come and Happen

Remmember all five towners and RABBONIM it is FAR FROM OVER.

Watch how this Will enfold NOW!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just to prove how dumb and how blind the five towns people are

just to let you know that
as of thursday about 5:00 pm
gourmet glatt is under NO HASHGACHA
whats so ever untill TUESDAY MORNING
so Ortho Mom you and your fellow five towners can hide under neath your covers because it shows how dumb and sad you guys have been treating this entire sick story.

so i wish all chovod seekers and money suckers and liars a GREAT SHABBOS and watch now because there is a lot more to come and Happen

Remmember all five towners and RABBONIM it is FAR FROM OVER.

Watch how this Will enfold NOW!

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OM: re: your comment earlier that the "Jewish Star... seems to be making itself the go-to place for all the local Jewish news" - apparently you may have jumped the gun, at least in this instance - not only did the 5TJT also have the story this week, they had much more detail, including the purported sale amount. Let's not annoint the Jewish Star the "go to" publication just yet - and know this isn't being written by Larry Gordon.

9:29 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

OM: re: your comment earlier that the "Jewish Star... seems to be making itself the go-to place for all the local Jewish news" - apparently you may have jumped the gun, at least in this instance - not only did the 5TJT also have the story this week, they had much more detail, including the purported sale amount. Let's not annoint the Jewish Star the "go to" publication just yet - and know this isn't being written by Larry Gordon.

I think that the papers have two very different identities, and serve two different purposes.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in GG today and Rabbi Lefokowitz is giving the hashgacha untill the Vadd formally takes over. The Vaad is working with current management now to have the Cert back by Tuesday and Lefkowitz has is mashgiach there.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous sad and dissapointed said...

"I believe the better good of the community has been served with the vaad prevailing" said Rabbi Ginsburg.

of course ,

on innocent people's CHESHBON.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

597 Willow Avenue, Cedarhurst, NY 11516

Tel. 516-569-4536/Fax 516-569-4565 e-mail vaha2002@aol.com


Vaad Statement Regarding Gourmet Glatt



The Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway is pleased to announce that the Gourmet Glatt Emporium of Cedarhurst will once again be under our supervision as of Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think that the papers have two very different identities, and serve two different purposes. "

I may have agreed with you prior to the change in editors at the Jewish Star, but since the change they've been covering "local" issues in much the same manner as the 5TJT.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway is pleased to
announce that the Gourmet Glatt Emporium of Cedarhurst will once again be
under Vaad supervision as of Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007.

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Rabbi Lefkowitz who has been a Rav here for over 29 years, is a member of the Vaad and obviously is lending his personal supervision with the remaining masgichim to help the Vaad. Do you think he is out to hurt someone? Do you think he wants you to eat tarfus? Do you think people can turn on a dime? Rabbi Eisen has to get new people. Why are you calling people fools and dumb when most of the people involved in the in this case have working over the holidays to make sure the kosher level is still good and we are served well as a community. You name callers have you ever opened Yoreh Deah. Do you know your N'at bar N'at from a d'var sebminyon? Something like this takes time and everyone seems to be moving forward. If Rabbi Lefkowitz says to eat there I will eat there, if Rabbi Lefkowitz tells my wife to count another one two or seven days I will do it. Give me a break youi meanies

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you pervert,

who is interested in your wifes counting thats no ones business

any body talking regarding their bedroom life calls the gemorah a SHOITE (an idiot)

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Lefkowitz in giving his hechser for the interim period... Rabbi Lefkowitz IS A VAAD RABBI AND HAD SIGNED THE ORIGINAL PULLOUT LETTER> IF HE IS THE TEMP SUPERVISION SO BE IT> let us all put this nonsense behind us...

12:10 PM  
Blogger The Town Crier said...

No hashgacha does not people cannot shop in the store for packaged items just like they do at keyfood.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"any body talking regarding their bedroom life the gemorah calls a SHOITE (an idiot)" [excerpt has been edited for clarity]

We didn't need the gemorah to tell us that Mr. I-wish-I-was-a-USDA-inspector is an idiot.

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to still wondering? you obviously are a male blogger..no woman would lower herself to make the asinine comments you have made throughout this situation.. i truly pity your wife and children.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe if a Rav has yideas in two chelkei Shulchan Aruk (Yoreh Deah Aleph and Bais, if you so smart you know what I mean) as opposed to just one he is a baal nemaan. Do you get it?

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO

12:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Rabbi Lefkowitz who has been a Rav here for over 29 years


It is in the 20's but don't believe that it is 29 years-he came in the early 80's to join the family business after living in California for a few years. He is a very shrewd and sharp person.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"..no woman would lower herself to make the asinine comments you have made throughout this situation.. "

Interesting factoid.

1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The following from YIdwithlid is probably a balanced description of the incident.


Five Towns Vaad Vs. Gourmet Glatt : A Tragedy in too many acts
Now that it seems that Gourmet Glatt has been sold, I thought it appropriate to write on last post trying to summarize some of the facts that I do know. This will be my last Post on this subject unless I find out something new to bring to the table. This story has brought a lot of interest from outside the Five Towns. Even when I wasn't writing about it I would still get around 20 hits a day on old stories in this saga. When I posted the story of the sale at around 9pm , I got approximately 300 hits on that story before midnight at least 200 of them from outside the five towns. Why I am I telling you this? To give you an idea of the scope of the story and the interest. This is a story of Rabbinical abuse and bad decisions by store owners who were fighting to maintain a business that had been serving a community for the better part of 40 plus years.

What Came first the Chickengate or the Egg?
On one side was the five towns VAAD (mainly Rabbi Eisen who rules the Vaad roost with an Iron fist). The Orthodox Rabbinate of the Five Towns had total confidence in Rabbi Eisen, as they should since they also constitute the board of the Vaad and they hired Rabbi Eisen. The entire chicken incident was only an excuse, from almost the beginning Rabbi Eisen saw one of the GG owners, Mark Bolender, as arrogant because he had the nerve to question some of the new rules that Eisen put in place when he was brought on to run the Vaad. At the very least--- all sides will admit that Mr Bolender is not great at being political. In the end it became a battle between the two, Rabbi Eisen did not want Mark Bolender in "HIS" town and Bolender like a wounded bull at a bullfight striking at everything he can to avoid the inevitable. Following behind were the Orthodox Rabbis of the community who did not want to have the embarrassment of publicly breaking with their hand picked Rabbi (Eisen) and the Orthodox community, while many disagreed with what was going on they followed their rabbis' call for a boycott and posted anonymously on blogs so they could disagree in secret.

When the "chicken incident" happened it gave Eisen his opportunity for revenge, GG was given four months to sell before the Hecksher would be removed. Keep in mind there was no real investigation of "chickengate" The offending chickens/tags were never looked at etc. In fact according to sources the VAAD mashgiach working at GG was never asked about the incident and Not even one of the VAAD Rabbis ever saw the chickens for themselves, they were supposedly placed in a locked freezer. No word on whether this is true or where this mysterious freezer is.

Some Vaad apologists tell me that the Bolengers were not forced to sell, the were simply threatened with a loss of the Hechsher. Folks its semantics, in an Orthodox community it is th same thing.

Also keep in mind that throughout the entire process Gourmet Glatts Kashrut was not in question. This was not a matter of Kashrut it was a matter of pride, The pride of Rabbi Eisen, the pride of the rabbis who hired, him and the pride of a community who loves their rabbis so much that they followed them like sheep, destroying a family business.

Gourmet Glatt Hires a second Mashgiach
The opening salvo in the public part of this story was an ad in the local Jewish papers by GG. This infuriated Rabbi Eisen even further and made him adamant that there would be no compromise. The next mistake by the Bolender family was to listen to the advice of one of the local Five Town Rabbis who advised him to hire a second Hechser organization to help him deal with the first..take Mark out of the picture and let them talk Rabbi to Rabbi (additionally as a safeguard in case the Hecksher was withdrawn.

Rabbi Kravitz was brought in at the suggestion of some of the VAAD Rabbis to show that they were seriously following super kashrus rules and that the new mashgiach would be the liason between the store and Rabbi Eisen. They did not announce the new supervision until the VAAD protest the hiring of Rabbi Kravitz. Eisen demanded that Bolender remove Rabbi Kravitz because it was against the contract. Since they were forcing him to sell anyway he ignored the demand and announced Rabbi Kravitz's credentials to the public. One of the major hipocracies of the story is that it was one of the VAAD rabbis who brokered the meeting of the Bolenders and Rabbi Kravitz. The same VAAD Rabbi also signed in support of removing the Hechser.

Of course Rabbi Eisen too this as a major affront to his authority(it was). Bolenger didn't understand what the big deal was---he was following the advice of one of the Vaad Rabbis. But in the end the Vaad (Rabbi Eisen) immediately withdrew the Hecksher(about an hour and a half before Shabbos) . GG's owners were not told but the workers in the store were given the message for their bosses.

The Vaad released a letter talking about GG's Heckser being removed because of the second Hechsher..and an off hand mention of "multiple violations" by Gourmet Glatt. That shabbos most of the Orthodox rabbis in the community called for a boycott of Gourmet Glatt, they were told that they could use the food from the store that was already in their house, but couldn't purchase any more (another proof that Kashrut wasn't an issue if it was they would have been told to throw everything out immediately).

The Loshen Hora Campaign
The Vaad went on attack, they began to tell reporters that they had thick files of violations made by GG. Some papers like the Star or the 5tjw reported this "inside information" others like the NY Jewish Week refused to because the Vaad offered no proof. Remember no one ever spoke to the actual mashgiach placed by the vaad into GG. If so Then the truth would have been out there instead of slanderous comments. The Boleders, level of observance, primarily Shabbos observance, was called into question and rumors spread that the Boldenders were not Shomer Shabbos (not confirmed either way). In fact Eisen called on the Bolenders to prove that they were Shomers Shabbos.

It was clear that Rabbi Eisen wanted to make sure that the Boycott held. In most part it did. Local Orthodox rabbis kept quiet no, because they realized that their initial call for a boycott left them open to litigation and they needed Rabbi Eisen to come out ahead. After all they brought him in--if his authority could be questioned, so could theirs.

The other supermarkets in town expanded their flayshic offerings and of course took advantage by jacking up their prices. Many of the locals were upset but refused to go beyond anonymous emails or postings on the internet, they were afraid of retribution by the Vaad and their supporters or being ostracized by the community for speaking their mind.

To this date, Rabbi Eisen has not told anyone what he meant when the Vaad talked about the "file of violations" We are a people who do everything out in the open. We are the only people that can say G-d spoke to us directly...all of us at Sinai. Our sacred teachings, the Torah is a public document, in fact with Hagbah we hold it up for all to see, "This is the Torah That G-d gave to Moshe." Yet Rabbi Eisen took someones business away with a "secret" file.

Orthomom a major blogger and five towns resident..disagrees with me. She responded to one of my comments with "But for reasons they have chosen not to disclose in full (and I don't know why you think that Halacha mandates that they must), the Vaad decided that a certain owner [Mark Bolender] was an insurmountable obstacle to proper supervision." I respond with G-d does three times a week with hagbah.

The Meat Compromise is rejected.

In early November I asked a Long Island friend to go shop at GG on a Friday afternoon when the store should be packed with Shabbos shoppers. It was empty..except for one woman behind a cash register crying at the "death" of the store.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving a deal was in the works, The Bolenders had a buyer for the meat department. It seemed like a fair deal brokered behind the scenes by many of the community Rabbis. But once again, the iron fist of Eisen smashed this deal as he rejected any deal that would leave Mark Bolender in HIS community.

The Sale
In the end the Family could not wait for the anonymous blog commenter to start shopping. The store was sold to a man from Boro Park. There was much protest, I got emails saying that they will never shop at GG with the new owner. I say to those people, if you shopped at GG over the last two months it wouldn't have been sold. And it is not the fault of the new owner that the Boldenders were forced to sell their family business.

The Epilogue
I covered this story for much of the past two months. It is the classic Shakespearian tragedy only this time pride and arrogance won out. Mark Bolenger was thought to be arrogant by one Rabbi (he might very well be I have never met him). That Rabbi's [Eisen] arrogance did not allow any questioning of his authority. The community Rabbis needed to support Eisen because they picked him. In the end everyone lost..the community, the Bolenders, the local Rabbinate. Everyone except Rabbi Eisen who continues to rule the Vaad with an iron fist.

Why is this story so important? Because if a Rabbi Eisen can do this to the Five Towns..a Rabbi Eisen can spring up anywhere. A bully can rule a town and if people don't speak up publicly..the bully wins. Thats what happened here, the community was willing to speak out but only anonymously. So I guess they are the biggest losers, they lost a vendor with a long term commitment to the community, they lost their ability to speak out as individuals, and gained the resentment that builds when you hold your tongue...what a shame.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are actual restaurants in Boro Park, for example, which have no hashgacha- yet you won’t even see a non-Frum person eating there.

1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Star---Little League

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to yid with a lid... thanks for the enlightening story of truth....this is not meant to be viewed as a tongue in cheek comment.. yur analysis is correct...please contact the new york times long island reporter..she did an expose on RYE and the Shula scandal several years ago... she might want to write a book.. believe me,, the five towns would buy it immediately... and the comparison of RYE and Hitler ruling with an iron fist will be exposed to world.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yid w lid's story shows nothing except what a good imagination he has. Our bloghostess answered his fiction very well on his site. Go look at her comments. If yidlids story is balanced then I'm a monkeys uncle.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wanna banana??

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...

Wanna banana?? "

as if

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Yid w lid's story shows nothing except what a good imagination he has. Our bloghostess answered his fiction very well on his site. Go look at her comments. If yidlids story is balanced then I'm a monkeys uncle.

2:49 PM

Well, then,, you are a monkey's uncle.

7:05 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...



Well, then,, you are a monkey's uncle.


Actually, I don't think he is. Though I respect and welcome Yid with Lid's opinion, I do think his account of the events that transpired here was highly fictionalized. There was far more opinion than fact in his version, and I pity the gullible person who treats Yid with Lid's story as the definitive version of how events transpired here.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"please contact the new york times long island reporter..she did an expose on RYE and the Shula scandal several years ago... she might want to write a "


You're lying again, Mr. USDA. There is no record of any such article in the NYTimes Archive,

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am urging all RAABONIM to rectify what they have done.

it will be very messy if they won't.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"it will be very messy if they won't."

More threats?? Now USDA-crybaby is threatening Rabbonim?

Does your mommy know you're playing with the computer?

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still wondering-


You're lying again, Mr. USDA. There is no record of any such article in the NYTimes Archive,

There is an article by Marcelle Fishler in the NY Times Long Island section somewhere in 2000-2001. Google "Kosher in the Five Towns"
She is planning another article-you can also confirm with Shula's!
RYE almost ruined her business!

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Still Wondering? once again your ignorance is abound... do you actually know how to use the internet to research an article??
try NYTIMES LONG ISLAND the article is by Marcelle Fisher, Or go into Shula's and ask her..or ..are you afraid to hear the truth about RYE?

10:32 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

"There is an article by Marcelle Fishler in the NY Times Long Island section somewhere in 2000-2001. Google "Kosher in the Five Towns""

Post a link know-it-all.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"
try NYTIMES LONG ISLAND the article is by Marcelle Fisher, Or go into Shula's and ask her..or ..are you afraid to hear the truth about RYE?"

This wasnt about RYE. The entire Vaad agreed to up the standards of Kashrut in the 5T. The local retsaurant and store owners are very happy with the uniform standards.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

...by the way USDA boy, isn't it past your bedtime?

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The local shop owners FEAR the Vaad they don't respect them! I have worked as a mashgiach in at least 3 Vaad food establishments-the consensus is "the less they see of RYE the better" And considering how little time he actually spends in the 5t-I guess they are granted their wishes!

10:46 PM  
Anonymous SCHONFELD said...

ANON 10:34 You talk about the ENTIRE VAAD AGREED TO UNIFORM STANDARDS" wake up MR. it is EISEN who manipulated the RABBIS.When the story hit the times EISEN backed off.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9507E3D71E3DF93BA35753C1A9669C8B63&sec=travel&spon=&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

This will bring you to Marcelle Fishlers article published October 2000
You must be a guy-an arrogant lazy know-it-all-too busy griping to actually do a little legwork-I pity your wife!

10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second the above comment...and i was the original post to SW's lack of intellect.


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9507E3D71E3DF93BA35753C1A9669C8B63


It might help you if you learned how to use the computer to research before you open your bloghole.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear OM,

You are going to believe whatever you "choose" to believe and so is everyone out there. Everyone has free will and free choice. But just because you see it one way and he sees it the other way doesn't mean that he is wrong the same way that you pointed out to me that it doesn't mean that you are wrong and I am right. There are two sides to every story.

It is over now RYE knows the truth and so do the Bollenders and the mashgichim that worked in the store. In addition other Mashgichim that work in other local stores know truths as well. People who ask will get answers. People who hide behind their computers and judge what other people say will just decide who they wish to believe.

It is as simple as that. If you really want to know the truth you go out and investigate. Some of us did and some of us didn't. Those who did and spoke to both sides of the story gathered more facts than others. Those who chose to follow blindly are entitled to those choices, but you can't keep criticizing people for making their choice. Yid with Lid, saw the truth for himself. If you are blind to that truth, and you can't see it, let it be, you can't see it and that's that. He saw both sides of the story and he understood it from both sides and came to his conclusion.

You saw it only from the Rabbinic side and decided that the Rabbis cannot be wrong. If that is the way you feel KOL HAKOVOD to you. Rabbis can't be wrong IN YOUR OPINION. I don't know how old your children are and I wish you should never know what I have been through with many families. I have learned that Rabbis can be wrong in many, many cases.

But for you and for all others who have never experienced that, I wish you never do, and I wish that Rabbonim never ever let you down. I wish that they are pure and honest and that you should never experience losing faith in them.

For others who have different experiences, you can't keep arguing with them. What's the point?

Sherree

11:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear All,

In response to the notice I received from the White Shul forwarding the Vaad Announcement I sent the following email to the White shul as well as the VAAD:

Dear Rabbi Benedek, Rabbi Flaum and members of the VAAD,

Excuse me, but as a member of the community who has been extremely hurt by everything that has transpired during the past 7 weeks, I ask you where are all the signatures? Where is an explanation? Where is there anything at all; at least a letterhead with someone's name on it taking some kind of responsibility giving the Hechsher back to Gourmet Glatt? Everyone was so willing to ban together to destroy this family and remove the hechser. Why isn't anyone proudly stepping up to the plate and announcing that a deal has finally been arranged and that the parties have come to an agreeable conclusion. Why hasn't every single RAV who had supported the Boycott and signed their name that fatefull Black Friday, that tore this neighborhood to shreds sign a professional and proper letter that starts the healing process in this community.

This announcement is a busha and a slap in the face to the morals and standards of the fine people of this community who respected their Rabbonim and followed them blindly without proof and without answers. This is no better than a fourth grader can write and we deserve better and so does the Bollender family.

Respectfully,

Sherree Belsky

----- Original Message -----
From: Rabbi Benedek
Date: Friday, December 29, 2006 12:21 pm
Subject: Vaad HaKashrus Statement Concerning Gourmet Glatt
To: White Shul E-Mail List

> Please see the attached Vaad HaKashrus statement concerning
> recertifyingGourmet Glatt under its new ownership.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Rabbi Yisroel Benedek
>
> Executive Director
>
> Congregation Kneseth Israel ("The White Shul")
>
> 728 Empire Avenue
>
> Far Rockaway, NY 11691
>
> 718-327-0500, X-25 || Fax 718-327-7415
>
>
>
>

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i heared the bolleander family got what they deserved.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many of the bloggers on this site are so confused. You can follow your Rav to wherever he may take you and you must not question his decisions... How is this not a Cult?? Just because we jews think we are better than everyone else? We jews are no different than Jonestown...now renamed the five towns.. You can follow your ravs blindly; so did the followers in jonestown and look where they were led... this is an extremist view.. but when anyone follows without questioning the leader IT BECOMES A CULT , not a beautiful spiritual religion.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many of the bloggers on this site are so confused. You can follow your Rav to wherever he may take you and you must not question his decisions... How is this not a Cult?? Just because we jews think we are better than everyone else? We jews are no different than Jonestown...now renamed the five towns.. You can follow your ravs blindly; so did the followers in jonestown and look where they were led... this is an extremist view.. but when anyone follows without questioning the leader IT BECOMES A CULT , not a beautiful spiritual religion.

10:09 AM  
Anonymous AnoMan said...

Has anyone checked to see if Kauftheil and the Vaad were in cahoots?

Seek and ye shall find

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i heared from a reliable source that our esteemed rabbi tzadik yosef eisen has a certain percent in the store.

how hypocritical

11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously. mark bolender, you should stop hanging out here and move on already.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

get on with your life

i heared you are getting remarried?
is it true?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
seriously. mark bolender, you should stop hanging out here and move on already.


You all assume that all anti-vaad posts are from a Bolender (mark,in particular) . Many of us felt let down by our rabbis over this mess.. how we overcome our disappointment in our rabbis remains to be seen.. and no, RYE is not an investor, though with the amount the vaad pays him and our donations, he probably could have paid the 7-8 million in cash. malkie

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truth be told from another perspective. I am a housewife for almost 50 years and although I shopped in GG, I found that I always had to be on the alert as to checking expiration dates, prices that differ from the shelf to the cash register, and different prices for the same products on the same shelf or meat bin, etc. Everytime this was brought to Mark Bollender's attention, the customer was never right and he always had a "smooth" answer.
Don't get me wrong, he's a nice talker and probably a nice guy in general, but truth be told, I always felt that I didn't question his kashruth (that's the VAAD's job) but HIS BUSINES ETHICS left a lot to be desired!
"Where there's smoke, there's fire".
However, I feel that Mayer Fertig from the Jewish Star gave Mark Bollender too much free exposure and the VAAD had lousy PR thereby making it a one-sided issue leading to a lot of loshen horah.

Hopefully, we can get back to a nicer time in our history and I can go shop in GG again.

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The local shop owners FEAR the Vaad they don't respect them! I have worked as a mashgiach in at least 3 Vaad food establishments-the consensus is "the less they see of RYE the better" And considering how little time he actually spends in the 5t-I guess they are granted their wishes!

The storekeepers all have a special prayer for Rabbi Eisen:

May the Lord bless and keep Rabbi Eisen . . . . far away from us!

Amen

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched a funny scene at the office of GG many years ago.. an elderly woman had poked her finger into the cantalope she was looking at ( deliberately done) she approached one of the bolender girls and said..Mammeleh, there is a hole in the melon. how much will you sell it to me for... the owner saw on the video what had transpired...she laughed and said to the older woman... please take another, i will cut off the hole in the melon and serve it to my kids.

in business, you do what you need to do to make a living...95% of the time the customer has picked up the wrong brand ( the one not on sale), or cant read the sale flyer or feels that it should be free if there is an honest error.. Here in the five towns, if any of the stores lived by the credo that the consumer is always right...they would go out of business... malkie

8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: the customer being right.

Here is an excerpt from Toddy's hard to Digest: A Bagel Shop Survival Guide.

My dad started Toddy’s with his mother in 1946. Fifty-nine years later I’m running the store with my mother. Some things never change; many things have.
My dad’s philosophy was, “Sell the highest quality, charge what you have to and never take yourself too seriously. It’s just bagels and lox.” This hasn’t changed. We sell only the best stuff, we charge the highest prices we can charge, and we laugh all the way to the bank. I’d say, “Just kidding,” but any customer of Toddy’s would know I was lying.
What has changed is that ten years ago, in addition to our already very strong takeout and catering business, we added the tumult of a bagel and coffee operation. In my dad’s era, the store ran at a leisurely pace. It’s not that it wasn’t very busy at times, but there wasn’t the kind of lunacy that a breakfast and lunch rush can generate.
The pressure of the “rush” seems to affect not only the staff and management, but the customers as well. The customers get impatient, the staff gets stressed, the customers get snippy, the staff gets defensive and before you know it, you’ve got a book.
First-time visitors to Toddy’s are a bit taken aback by the lack of formality. We don’t do the “Yes ma’am,” “No ma’am,” “Thank you and have a nice day” and “What can I do for you?” type of banter. If I had to do that all day I’d go insane—especially when someone orders a black coffee with skim milk.
We’re here to help you, but we’re not the hired help. This puts more than a few people off. They don’t like the jokes, the hassles or the attitude. That’s okay. There are plenty of other places in town to get tuna salad on a bagel.
I’m sure we could make a lot more money if we were less abrasive. But it’s not like we’re difficult with everyone. I know of at least 12 people who have never been abused at Toddy’s. If people come in with a bad attitude, or if they’re disrespectful to the staff or other customers, we’re not going to treat them very well. Why should we? Why should rude, pushy, uncouth people be treated with the same courtesy afforded to well-mannered people? How will they ever learn?
Basically, we like doing business with people we like doing business with. The people who “get it”—who can take a joke, who understand that our clientele can be a tad overbearing—get the best we have to offer. Customers who want us to say a certain thing, act a certain way, or smile no matter what, do not become frequent visitors to our store. They don’t understand that we won’t jump through hoops just because they’re spending money here. It isn’t about the money. In a community like the Five Towns, that’s sometimes a little “hard to Digest.”
Back in the late 1800s, an English shopkeeper came up with the radical notion that the customer is always right. They never found his body. In the following pages, you’ll read why we at Toddy’s have never subscribed to this basic premise of retail. If at the end of it all you still feel that the customer is always right, then I’ll just have to make you come work behind the counter for a day until you get over it. Did I say for a day? Make that half an hour.


Now celebrating our 60th year of serving people who are wrong most of the time.

Jay

www.xanga.com/toddys

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fact: The new owners were looking into buying Gourmet Glatt a year ago.
Fact: Gourmet Glatt snubbed it's nose at the VAAD one too many times.
Fact: With NO choice but to issue an ultimatum and eventually remove the hashgocha,Gourmet Glatt tried another tactic to get around the VAAD
Fact: It didn't work. The people spoke by aligning themselves with the VAAD which has been trusted for years.
Fact: Gourmet Glatt sold for A LOT of money to the same business people from a year ago.
I feel manipulated and not by the VAAD.

Were there politics in play...for sure. HOWEVER,since when is stringency in kashrut a bad thing? Helloooo... if the owner is not shomer shabbos yes of course there better be even more watches put on him. Life is very complicated today and even those of us brought up in frum, frum, frum homes and yeshivas and bais yaakovs can make mistakes. So yeah if you're not shomer shabbos and you own a food establishment with kosher certification it's got to be very reliable. The five towns VAAD is VERY reliable.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Were there politics in play...for sure. HOWEVER,since when is stringency in kashrut a bad thing? Helloooo... if the owner is not shomer shabbos yes of course there better be even more watches put on him. Life is very complicated today and even those of us brought up in frum, frum, frum homes and yeshivas and bais yaakovs can make mistakes. So yeah if you're not shomer shabbos and you own a food establishment with kosher certification it's got to be very reliable. The five towns VAAD is VERY reliable. "

10:28 PM



OH Really????? the shomer shabbos ultra orthodox owner of the meat concession in monsey is a perfect example of how stupid we all are if we think that being "FRUM" means we are honest...Just the opposite is seen in our communities here and in brooklyn.. Were the Ultra-orthodox rabbonim involved in child molestation above the law because they were FRUM??should they have been above reproach because they are FRUM???

Give me a break!!!!

12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LONG ISLAND JOURNAL; More Kosher Than Thou in the Five Towns

By MARCELLE S. FISCHLER
Published: October 8, 2000

FOR the first three weeks of September, the certificate in the window of Shula Babajanof's pizza shop in Cedarhurst indicated that the food was kosher under rules of the Vaad of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway. The certificate also noted that Ms. Babajanof was not shomer Shabbat, or a Sabbath-observant Jew.

Ms. Babajanof has worked at the same location for 10 years, selling kosher dairy foods, falafel, salads and baked goods under the certification of the 35-year-old Vaad, or kosher authority, of the Five Towns. That she attended a Conservative synagogue had never been a concern of the kosher monitors or her patrons. But when the Vaad of the Five Towns merged with the more right-leaning Vaad of Far Rockaway on Sept. 1, the rules -- and the sign in her window -- changed.

The effects were subtle but sweeping. The mark on the certificate, or teudah, was like a scarlet letter in the Five Towns. Because the certificate indicated that Ms. Babajanof's level of religious observance was not up to snuff, that alone would stop some fervently Orthodox Jews from eating in her pizza shop. The new certificates even indicated whether the bread was baked by a Jew.

Modern Orthodox Jews were outraged by the changes, and after a series of meetings last month, they persuaded the Vaad, a board with a lay president, a lay vice president and nine local Orthodox rabbis, to back down. The new notations were removed from the certificate in Ms. Babajanof's storefront on Sept. 21.

But other changes are still in effect for the 35 food shops and restaurants that do business under the watchful eye of the Vaad and its monitors, who oversee the preparation of meat, cracking of eggs, mixing of tuna salad and washing of lettuce. Stricter food-preparation regulations, following the Orthodox Union standard, mean that Ms. Babajanof had to hire a board-approved monitor -- called a mashgiach in Hebrew -- to oversee the kitchen and certify that it is kosher. She pays the monitor $10 to $12 an hour, 10 hours a day.

''They put a label on a person,'' she said, referring to the Vaad. ''It's really not right. They don't know me. I'm not against the Vaad. I have a lot of respect for them. I follow everything they tell me to do. The only thing that bothered me is the expense of a mashgiach.''

But the branding of Ms. Babajanof bothered many Jews in the Five Towns, where the Orthodox population is widely perceived as being more diverse and more liberal than on the Queens side of the border. While the idea of combining the two Vaads was to promote unity between communities and to make it easier for Jews of every level of observance to shop, it backfired.

At meetings on Sept. 14 at Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, on Sept. 21 at Kneseth Israel in Far Rockaway and in other smaller gatherings, residents spoke up for shopkeepers like Ms. Babajanof and protested new regulations that had nothing to do with whether the food was prepared according to kashrut, or the kosher dietary laws. One guideline said that any form of entertainment in a Vaad-supervised restaurant must receive written approval from the rabbis. Another recommended modest dress for waitresses and shopkeepers (arms covered and skirts below the knee).

''What do they want to do, run our lives?'' said a woman from Woodmere who attended both meetings and spoke on the condition that her name not be used. ''That's not kashrut. The people who are modern Orthodox were happy the way things were.''

Geri Gindea of Lawrence, who described herself as a centrist Orthodox Jew, said: ''The outrage comes from a clashing of perspectives or ideas of what the Vaad's scope of authority should be. I think it should be a Vaad that determines what we put in our mouths.''

The president of the new Vaad, Stephen Savitsky, said that while the notations about Sabbath observance and who baked the bread have been dropped, the rabbis would still be checking to see that the shopkeepers displayed ''positive Torah values.''

''People in the community became very incensed because there were non-kashrut issues and felt if they did that, the next thing they would do would be to tell the people who came in the store what to wear,'' Mr. Savitsky said. ''They felt it should really stay within their purview.''

''Sometimes there are some people in the community who are so afraid of a right-wing cloud hanging over their head, that someone is going to be telling them what to do,'' he said. ''It's not true.'' But to answer concerns expressed in the meetings, the Vaad is organizing a 30-member community review board, including the presidents of the Orthodox synagogues in the area, Mr. Savitsky said.

The Vaad takes in $100,000 a year in monthly fees, beginning at $250, paid by the shopkeepers, Mr. Savitsky said. In addition, each Orthodox family is expected to join the Vaad at a cost of $75 a year, but only half pay their dues, said Mr. Savitsky, who estimated that there were about 4,500 Orthodox families in the Five Towns. The total population is about 44,000 (or 12,500 families) in Cedarhurst, Hewlett, Inwood, Lawrence and Woodmere.

Ms. Gindea said that the world views of Orthodox Jews in Queens and the Five Towns were widely divergent but that the newly merged Vaad could perform a needed service. ''They have to unify the community in terms of kashrut so all the people, no matter where they fall on the spectrum, can eat in these establishments,'' she said. ''It's a question of whether they can remain sensitive to just being a board of kashrut and not use it as a vehicle to regulate our lifestyles.''

Whatever the view, it's agreed that the new Orthodox Union rules are more stringent than the old, which had been interpreted locally. The new standard requires monitors to check vegetables like lettuce and broccoli for bugs, which may not be ingested under kosher law.

Avi Oz of Hewlett had run glatt kosher restaurants -- glatt kosher is considered the most stringent -- for more than two decades in Manhattan and Israel before opening Anise Mediterranean Cuisine in Cedarhurst four months ago. The added expense of a monitor is enough to make him consider closing down, he said, adding that he has already had to let his waitresses go.

''The mashgiach came yesterday, and he wanted $250,'' Mr. Oz said, pulling out a receipt. ''He is before the electric. He's before the rent. He's before the payroll, the guys who are working here. I am the first victim in the town.''

Mr. Oz said he objected to paying the monitor to do tasks that he and his wife could do themselves.

''We have 22 years' experience in cleaning lettuce,'' Mr. Oz said. ''To clean lettuce we don't need to pay $4,000. That's the rule in the Vaad. No one will come to eat here if I don't have the mashgiach even if I am shomer Shabbat. They don't let the owners live. The Vaad, they come. They want the money. I think if I don't give them the money, they'll take the teudah away.''

Moshe Verschleisser of Flatbush, Brooklyn, the monitor working in Mr. Oz's restaurant for $13 an hour, 10 hours a day, keeps the keys to the freezer and refrigerator so that meat can't be switched or tampered with in his absence.

Couldn't Mr. Oz wash the lettuce himself and check the eggs for blood spots (which would make them nonkosher)? ''The answer is no,'' Mr. Verschleisser said, because someone running a business does not have enough time to spend on thorough inspections.

Roy Salter of Hewlett works in another kosher-certified food shop in Cedarhurst. ''People in the area think it's like the Mafia over here,'' he said. ''They come and take your money. I see a lot of Vaad people walk in and walk out of the store. Sometimes you wonder who owns the store.''

And there is a monitor for the monitor. Near the end of lunch hour on a recent weekday, Rabbi Mordcha Ehrlich, one of three full-time and three part-time supervising monitors, came to check on Mr. Verschleisser. He wandered through Mr. Oz's kitchen, scanning the cans and bottles on the shelves for anything without the proper kosher symbol and flipping the stove's gas burners on and off to check if the pilots were lighted. Under kosher law, a Jew may not eat food cooked by a non-Jew, but if the pilot is lighted by a Jew, a non-Jew can do the cooking.

''I come in to spot-check on a daily basis and make sure he does his job,'' Rabbi Ehrlich said. ''And make sure the relationship between the mashgiach and store owner stays on an even keel. If the mashgiach sees something is not up to par, it's his job to make it stay up.''

''The storekeepers want me to come in,'' Rabbi Ehrlich said. ''They realize they can make a mistake. They welcome the Vaad coming in.''

Asked whether his monitoring included general cleanliness, Rabbi Ehrlich said he only worried about Torah-prescribed rules. ''Kashrut is not about cleanliness at all,'' he said. ''It happens to be a byproduct or a benefit that it's generally cleaner.''

Benji Schreier, owner of Supersol, a kosher supermarket in Lawrence, contends that the stricter new standard, which requires that he list the distributors he uses so that shoppers can know which rabbinical supervision was used when meat was slaughtered, can only help business.

''The Far Rockaway rabbis had trouble telling their congregants they could shop in the Five Towns,'' he said. ''The natural thing to do was to get the standard that could be used by everybody.''

Mr. Schreier, whose supermarket also caters, said that previously some Far Rockaway residents could not even eat a Sabbath meal at friends' homes in the Five Towns if the place where the food was purchased was not approved by their rabbi. ''By the time this calms down, I should be able to cater to any shul in Far Rockaway and the Five Towns,'' Mr. Schreier said.

Twelve years ago, as the Five Towns became increasingly Orthodox, John Dutra, the only non-Jewish shop owner supervised by the Vaad, sought kosher certification for his Dunkin Donuts shop on Burnside Avenue in Lawrence, eliminating any items that used nonkosher ingredients and asking the Vaad to be his watchdog.

He is not required to have a full-time monitor, but since the new Vaad took over he has been required to have a monitor present when tuna fish is prepared. It is the same tuna he made for years without a monitor.

''It doesn't make sense, but if it makes them feel comfortable, we go along with it,'' Mr. Dutra said. ''For us, it didn't make sense not to be kosher.''

Mr. Dutra said the more than $800 he pays the Vaad each month is just part of doing business. ''It's like paying for the garbage,'' he said. ''It's expensive, but the way the neighborhood has changed, we definitely need it. If we don't have the certification, the business will drop.''

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 10:28,

Where exactly do you get your FACTS??????

12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has a yetzer horah and a yetzer tov. The only ones we can truly trust is ourselves aside from Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Dutra said the more than $800 he pays the Vaad each month is just part of doing business. ''It's like paying for the garbage,'' he said. ''It's expensive, but the way the neighborhood has changed, we definitely need it. If we don't have the certification, the business will drop.''

12:07 PM


change the ethnicity of the individual in the aforementioned article to an italian sounding last name and you have a RACKETEERING and EXHORTION situation... i wonder if the vaad will see the analogy in what they do versus what the mafia does? Of course not,, they are jews and above all secular laws...marcelle are u out there???

2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

VAAD is falling short yet again. Where was his mashgiach when GG opened this morning with the teudah in the window? He was nowhere to be found. RYE needs a lesson in kashrus skills-if you give back the hechsher-you should have a mashgiach there to enforce the "highest level of kashrus available" What a crock-lets get Rabbi Kravitz back!!

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well then if RYE didn't have a Mashgiach he could place, he should have been there himself.

What happened to Rabbi Pincus. Did the VAAD hire him back or did the store just keep him anyway. He was top notch, he knew his stuff inside out.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GG graciously kept Rabbi pincus so as to allay any kashrus fears should, GASP, the Vaad reurn with their teudah. since rabbi pincus, a vaad placed mashgiach, would be still in charge of the meat room, the vaad and the congregants should not have had any issues of kashrus... we all know now what the vaad did--to GG--and to rabbi pincus.. so, all GG got out of this continued employment of Rabbi pincus, was the rabbi's undying gratitude not being fired by the vaad and left unemployed as the vaad did with rabbi chaiet, rabbi lerner etc...

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RYE arrive in the 5t before 10 am-chas v'shalom!

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I am concerned about Rabbi Pincus because he is an innocent bystander as much as Rabbi Chait was. The GG issue is over and should be put to rest but the VAAD issue isn't. There are many concerns that arose here and should be addressed before another disaster happens. Point in quesion. If Savitsky claims that that the VAAd should be funded by the community, and why he needs more than the $100,000 that the establishments already generate I don't personally understand, since the mashgichim generate their own salaries vis a vis the establishments they work for, then he has an obligation to this community to answer the questions we have and explain how exactly the VAAD is set up and run.

Let me explain something in regard to other institutions who claim to be community based and community related. There was a local Yeshiva that closed recently who "claimed" to be a community yeshiva as all the others do. They kept coming back to the community for finacial and moral support. Yet when I had to go in and advocate for a local child there was no one to talk to. The administration was so closed minded and had absolutely no respect for any of the Rabbonim here in the community. They ran they Yeshiva as they felt and answered to no one. There were no checks and balances set forth and they were extremely difficutl to make headway with. It was only at the point that I threatened to write an article in the 5 towns paper, that they finally backed off from the child. Again, when I asked for assistance from local Rabbonim, I was told that the administration of this school did not RESPECT the authority of any of the community Rabbonim. This came from a local RAV in the community the school claimed to be part of. They of course are not the only ones to say they are a community school and then proceed to reject the community children for whatever reasons they can come up with.

My point being, it is really chutzpadik to claim to be a community organization, demanding community funds, chizuk and support yet telling the community to mind there own business when it comes to imparting information or explaining how the organization is set up and run. If it is a regular business and its transactions are between their clients/customers, vis as vis the stores who hire them and themselves, then they are correct. It is not our concern. However, when they reach into our pockets and demand that we pay "dues and donations" to this same organization, then we have a right and an obligation to check them out and make sure that everything is run as proper and as above board as any tzedaka or shul organization in the neighborhood.

I am not an accountant or lawyer, but I have over 25 years of experience as an office manager and bookkeeper, as well as working in yeshivas, an accounting firm and setting up my own organization. Most of the members of my family are CPA's and many are deeply involved in chessed. You just can't have it both ways. I would ask that some of the professionals in this community, CPA's and Lawyers, step up to the plate and form a committee to check into this. I would be happy to serve on the committee as well, but I am deeply rooted into helping children, and cannot organize and head such a committee. The committee should hold an open forum for the community to gather all the questions they have and then meet with the President of the VAAD, Mr. Steve Savitzky to address these issues. We cannot have a VAAD that should be held up to the highest standards of Halacha and Kashrus, demanding that we all follow the highest standards of Halacha, yet portray to the community that they are not following the Laws of the Land.

In addition, it is a conflict of interest to have the stores pay the mashgichim directly. In this particular incident with GG and this can happen again in any store, the Rabbonim might have felt that a mashgiach who is paid by the owner of the store might have loyalty to that person. In that case would he really be capable of giving truthful and honest "eidus", eyewitness testimony. If a mashgiach cannot be trusted to give "eidus", how can we trust him to uphold kashrus? If he is not honest in one area how can we expect him to be honest in another. The mashgichim can have only one loyalty and that is to the VAAD, therefore in my humble opinion, they should be getting paid directly from the VAAD, so there is no chance of conflict of interest and they have no feelings of loyalty to their employers, the store owners, because then they would truly have only one employer and that would be the VAAD.

I am not looking to start a new conflict here. I am looking to settle a situation that has come to light. We cannot bury it under the rug and it has nothing to do with RYE, that is a totally different issue that needs to be addressed and should be addressed privately and personally to each RAV by any individual that has an opinion on the subject. However, if the Five Towns wishes to uphold the standards of community, continuity, Kashrus and achdus. We should really make sure that the VAAD lives up to OUR standards.

Sherree

1:00 PM  

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