Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Sydney Kashrut Affair (part 2)

Continuing the saga of the Sydney Kashrut 'wars' ( ), this week's AJN carries an almost half-page advertisement by the KA ("sponsored by a Kosher Consumer") plus a couple of letters in response to last week's harsh words of Lea Weiss.

That KA ad does not make for easy reading, being extremely long-winded and employing a tiny font size which really strains the eye. We doubt that too many readers will bother to read through the entire screed. We invite those readers that made the effort, to forward us their comments.

Zvi Rona's letter doesn't go very far in explaining the steep prices of Sydney's caterers. Whatever their 'quality', what can justify double and triple charges to that of Melbourne's caterers? As any Melbournian who has attended up-market weddings catered by Kosher Classique and Eshel will testify, it is sheer nonsense to claim that their their quality is not equal to Passion8. They, together with Ungar and Epicure have shown their flair and talents at functions attended by the highest echelons of the political and busniess world.
In fact the feedback that we received from readers who attended THAT wedding in Sydney was, that it was one of the most beautifully catered weddings that they had attended.
Ah, well, Al taam vare'ach ein lehisvake'ach.

As for Rona's claim that Chabadniks make their weddings in New York to be close to the rebbe, we have news for him. The rebbe sadly passed away 3rd Tammuz 1994 - almost 2 decades ago. But still chassidim continue to make their simchot in NY because of Sydney's hight catering costs. (We have received a number of off-blog emails confirming this.)
FACT:  Far fewer Melbourne Chabadniks travel to NY for the simchot.

As to Rona's suggestion that they should have their Simchot in Israel, the answer is, yes indeed. Many Sydneysiders do exactly that. Possibly for similar reasons.


  1. Peter Rona a meshichist who believes that teh rebbe is still with us? I doubt it.

  2. Why is KA spending a small fortune on these ads in both editions of the AJN? I don't believe that they were sponsored nd neither will most readers. Someone who gives away that much money will ask for his name to be mentioned.

  3. Sydney's problem is quite clear-cut. Nobody here gives a damn. Not the rabbis, not the consumers and not the shuls.

    Rab M Gutnick has basically grabbed the reins of everything - Kashrus, Mikva, Beth Din etc and he doesn't want anyone who disagrees with any of his views or actions within a hundred miles of him or those oragnisations.

    We all know that Sydney has rabbis who are respected by all - amongst them rabbis Silberberg, Gurarie, Braun, Ingram, Milecki.
    These are the rabbis known for their Torah and Yiras Shamayim.
    So why aren't any of them involved in communal yiddishkeit matters?
    Isn't it obvious that the Revelmans and the Gutnicks don't want their critical input?

    Or are they afraid that with a knwledgable rabbi doublechecking operations, serious improvements may be sought?

    Think about it.

  4. "Fool no longer" - your comments are distasteful and lacking in kavod harabbonim and kavod haTorah.

    Rabbi Gutnick is a valued member of the Beth Din - he is not the av bes din: all rabbonim on the bes din have equal standing.

    The Mikvah is run by an independent committee that is not controlled by Rabbi Gutnick.

    Kashrus: Rabbi Gutnick is a halachic authority in the area and Sydney is lucky to have someone of his standing.

    The other rabbonim you mention are indeed highly respected, but there are many others too. Yes, there could be room for them in communical Yiddishkeit matters, and the KA and Beth Din could do with their expertise, but many of them *are* involved in the rabbinical council and do not shy away from important debates.

  5. I apologise if I insulted rabbi Gutnick but feel that a proper rely to my complaints are still required. You agree that Sydmey's most repsected rabonim are kept away from kashrus, mikva and BD. Why is this so?

    We Sydneysiders are a weak and meek and lazy lot, not prepared to take a stand. Yes melb has 4 hashgochos because there every community has devoted hardworking Jews who are prepared to stand up for yiddishkeit. Something very lacking in our community

  6. Can anyone confirm that KA undertook to pay all expenses for that wedding ie the adass shochet and mashgiach, airfares and even the chicken?

  7. Why is this an ajnwatch issue and not just a jewish issue? From memory, the AJN actually ran a news story about how it's a little dodgy that kosher catering in Sydney is pretty much a monopoly, and they charge more than catering in Melbourne. You seem to be agreeing with the AJN for once...?

  8. ALL Ajnwatch issues are Jewish issues.

    To us it seems that the AJN has done a reasonably fair job in reporting this affair.
    (Maybe it's the new editor...)

    Ajnwatch has not formed an opinion or taken sides on the Sydney Kashrut matter.

    All sides make good points.

    1) Having a single Kashrut authority can advance achdut in a town.

    2) Having a single Kashrut authority creates a monopoly situation and forces Kosher consumers to pay far higher cherges than in places where there is a choice.

    3) The KA has an obligation to protect the interests of its licensees.

    4) Not if it comes at a price that many consumers cannot afford and making the only option treif catering.

    5) Melbourne meat and poultry has previously been allowed by KA.

    And the arguments go on and on.

    Let's hope that some good comes out of all this and Kashrut becomes less of a burden for out Sydney friends.

  9. ajnwatch: Having a single Kashrut authority can advance achdut in a town.

    It can also create a situation that the lowest standard of kashrus can become acceptable to all. Not only do competing kashrus authorities bring costs down, but they also push kashrus standards up as each trys to 'out-mehadrin' the other. This may not be mean anything for people who simple wish to be 'yotzeh zein kosher' but is extremely important for those Jews who do not seek short-cuts and hetterim.Sydney lacks this advantage and is the reason quite a few of us prefer to get our meat and other lines from melb.

    Lowest common denominator 'achdut' is not a jewish concept.

  10. I think a major part of the problem is the Holier than Thou Art attitudes of the religious community, which make them unwilling to recognise criminal and unethical activity for what it is.

    This is compounded by the ACCC and related regulators not getting involved in what they see as an ethnic matter, or the ability by the perpetrators to daze and confuse various consumer watchdogs.

  11. What would the rebbe say??Friday, January 29, 2010 2:41:00 PM

    Isn't it strange that it is the Chabad rabbis and shlichim who work so hard to get Jews to go kosher and kasher their homes and then a chabad rabbi fights the opportunity to make kashrus easier and cheaper in our town?

    What would the rebbe say??


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