COMMUNITY Kashrut (CK) has been slammed by its opposition, the Kashrut Authority (KA), but endorsed by a top kashrut agency in Israel, which the KA itself approves of.
On Monday, KA Rabbinic Administrator Rabbi Moshe Gutnick accused CK of an “ongoing degradation of the standards of kashrut” in the community in a 900-word post on the KA’s Facebook page. He claimed that CK is pushing the community into the “proverbial dark ages of kashrut in Sydney, with a lowering of standards not seen in decades”.
The allegations came after CK posted on its Facebook page last Friday how it had given a hechsher to some of the bread made by the Shuk bakery and cafe, which has a Jewish owner.
CK explained the establishment itself is not fully kosher, and that a non-Jewish co-owner effectively owns the business on Shabbat.
Rabbi Gutnick claimed members of the Council of Orthodox Synagogue (COS) and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies “were all hoodwinked” to form CK.
“Can you honestly say to yourselves that you have achieved anything worthwhile? Can the members of the COS NSW say to themselves that their participation in CK has increased transparency and accountability, and advanced the cause of kashrut?”
In response, Rabbi Gad Krebs of CK’s rabbinic advisory board, said the body is fulfilling its mission.
“One of the things that we committed ourselves to, and we are following through on, is that our policies should be made publicly available and known,” he said.
“We are open to scrutiny and questioning because we believe it is important to explain our processes and the mechanism behind which our establishments and caterers obtain a a hechsher.”
“The integrity of kashrut in Sydney is our focus, not only the level.”
Despite Rabbi Gutnick’s claims, Chug Chasam Sofer, a leading Israeli kashrut agency approved by Rabbi Gutnick and the KA, has backed CK. Chug Chasam Sofer rabbis were in Sydney recently looking at CK establishments to evaluate if they can support the hechsher.
They then sent a letter of endorsement to CK’s Rabbi Yedidya Krauthammer. “After the audit completed some weeks ago by Rabbi Zalman Krems of our office, during which he met with you and other lay leaders of the Community Kashrut endeavour, we affirm our commitment to our partnership which will no doubt be of great benefit to the entire Australian Jewish community,” Chug Chasam Sofer’s chairman of kashrut Rabbi Yitzchock Altman wrote.
“It is truly a pleasure to be a part of this endeavour which would not have been possible without your unique expertise and efforts during your three year tenure in Sydney.”