CK rabbi: ‘This is war’

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WITH Sydney’s second kashrut certification agency on the brink of offering its services for the first time, its chief rabbi has declared there is a kashrut war in Sydney.

Community Kashrut’s (CK’s) Rabbi Yedidya Krauthammer told The AJN in his first interview since arriving in Australia from Israel that rabbis who declared Amaze In Taste (AIT) not kosher because it isn’t under the Kashrut Authority (KA) are harming the community.

Amaze In Taste, Sydney’s largest kosher caterer, currently has a hechsher from South Head Synagogue’s Rabbi Benzion Milecki, Jewish Learning Centre’s Rabbi David Blackman and Kehillat Masada’s Rabbi Gad Krebs, but is expected to transition to CK in the near future.

“How can rabbonim say that something is not kosher without asking about the kashrut?” Rabbi Krauthammer asked.

“Why do they say it’s not kosher? Come to me and explain why it is not kosher.

“He can say he doesn’t trust it, but if they want to talk halachic, then let’s talk.

“But to say that Rabbi Milecki, Rabbi Blackman and Rabbi Krebs are giving treif – that is a big thing to say. This is war.”

Rabbi Krauthammer previously worked at the Petah Tikvah kashrut authority in Israel, where he was in charge of nine supervisors and 217 mashgichim who oversaw 520 establishments and factories.

“I know the system from the bottom to the top,” the rabbi said.

“It is different because in Israel you take something from kosher to mehadrin [the most stringent level of kashrut supervision], but here in Sydney most of the ingredients are treif so first we need to get it to kashrut level and then lift it.”

He said that, despite his claims about a war, he doesn’t want to get involved in politics or reflect on the messy history of kashrut over the last year.

“I went to Melbourne and Continental meat is kosher and I went to the butcher in Sydney and that meat is kosher.

“I just want to make sure that the kashrut is good. I will leave everything else to ­others.”

On the KA’s website it states that the KA has well-known standards and policies that are in line with other recognised kashrut agencies in Australia, and throughout the world.

“In our opinion these standards and policies have not been adhered to by the interim supervision of AIT.

“Nothing has been explained as to how the formalisation of this under Community Kashrut will change anything.

“Therefore on the advice of our Rabbinic Administrator and The Sydney Beth Din, under whose auspices we operate, and without further information, we can not recommend either the interim hechsher, or the new organisation.”

KA president Baron Revelman told The AJN this week that the KA has never said that AIT “is not kosher” and has only used the terms and phrases that are on the organisation’s website, as stated above.