Kashrus Brief – May 21, 2009 – 27 Iyar 5769

Hod Catering – Jerusalem
052-807-0909 (Maimon)

Let me begin by thanking a reader who was concerned enough to start the ball rolling and then pass the information to me with a request to investigate. In some cases, that is how I learn about possible kashrut frauds.

In the Tel Arza neighborhood of the capital, on Grossberg Street, there is a new operation advertising itself as Hod Catering which promotes itself under the Supervision of the Eida Chareidit. 

hod-catering-tel-arza-jerusalemOne generally would not suspect anything, especially since it is located in the heart of a chareidi area. The lesson here is one must see a valid teudat kashrut as I always say. Signs are not enough – they never attest to the validity of kashrus.

Anyway, I phoned Maimon last night, explaining I am making an affair and would like to know what kashrus supervision he has. He was quick to boast he is “under the Eida Chareidis” to which I asked if a copy of the teudah can be faxed to me. In the past, I have found most legitimate places will do so, albeit at times only after a firm request. Anyway, Maimon sidestepped and whatever, but no paper being faxed here. 

This morning, I went to the Eida Chareidit office, the Kashrus Department on the third floor of the Zupnik Building located at 26 Strauss Street in Yerushalayim. I had a bad feeling about Hod Catering and decided to try to resolve this before Shabbos since we are heading into heavy catering season and I want to prevent unsuspecting people from using the place if it is fraudulent.

I arrived at about 10:30am, and I spoke with my friend Rabbi Yehoshua Gross and told him my dilemma. He telephoned our friend Maimon and the story is as follows.

Maimon is setting up shop in the newly-renovated hall, which investors hope will be yielding a handsome profit in the not-so-distant future. As such, Maimon is anxious to get up-and-running but there are a number of problems; one being he does not have kashrus supervision and is not cooking on premises at present.

Maimon explains that he uses food for catered events from a number of caterers, primarily Nezer HaTorah, which is indeed under the Eida Chareidit’s supervision. While this may indeed be the case, in my opinion, there are a number of problems.

1.    Maimon has no supervision.
2.    Maimon has no credibility since he lied. Therefore, I for one no longer feel that anything he tells me is trustworthy.
3.    Even if the food comes from an Eida Chareidit caterer, Maimon, who handles the affair has no supervision and as per above, he lost his credibility. He should have told me “I use Eida food” but not “I have the supervision of the Eida Chareidit” which includes supervising the warming, dishing out of and other processes involving the food and event.
4.    Even if you wish to view Maimon favorably, you will be paying for an Eida Chareidit affair when in essence, in the best of situations, you will only get Eida Chareidit food, without the supervision since once it leaves the kitchen commissary of the caterer, it no longer is the responsibility of the supervising agency.
5.    One cannot be certain that other items were not added in. One also does not know what else is cooked in the kitchen from which the affair is served, in the Hod Catering Hall. Perhaps the kitchen does not meet the Eida standard and would have to be kashered.
6.    In essence, you are NOT getting an Eida Chareidit affair as promised.

Please pass this around so we can get the word out. Maimon told Rabbi Gross he plans to get the Eida hechsher in the future, and I for one hope he does, so then we know there will be proper supervision.

For now, Maimon joins the list of caterers who seem comfortable lying to the public and selling clients who seek pristine kashrut supervision a bill of goods.

6 Comments

  • Voos
    May 21, 2009 - 13:13 | Permalink

    Oh no!

    Ate at a Bar Mitzva of a very religious family just last week!! What do I do??

  • Yaacov
    May 21, 2009 - 15:04 | Permalink

    I really appreciate the work that you have done for the Klal. As you have shown it is really needed. However, I must question your methods. One of the biggest points you make is that the person must be honest and reliable. You stated that “Maimon has no credibility since he lied”. However you also wrote “I phoned Maimon last night, explaining I am making an affair and would like to know what kashrus supervision he has”. Maybe you actually are making an affair (I hope so, otherwise it would be gineivas daas) however this is not made clear to the people reading you website or getting your emails. This may lead one to believe that if you are looking for the truth you can lie to find it. This seems quite contradictory to me!
    I am sure that this was just an oversight.
    Once again I think you are doing a tremendous service to us all. The concern you show for your fellow Jew is admirable.
    May H-shem help you in everything you do!
    Keep up the great work.

  • Voos
    May 21, 2009 - 18:12 | Permalink

    to trick a ‘ramai’ it is permitted to be ‘meshaneh’!

  • David
    May 22, 2009 - 16:27 | Permalink

    Yaacov, without a doubt it is mutar to tell a harmless story in order to find out information of this nature.

    If you tell the guy outright that you’re an investigative reporter you will not get info of any value and you will not be able to serve the public. If one has a suspicion that someone is cheating/abusing/stealing/harming/other lo alenu activities then it is obligatory to use some guile in order to find out what’s going on.

    David hamelech says “im patol titpatel”. C’est la vie.

  • Yaacov
    May 24, 2009 - 20:48 | Permalink

    True that in some cases it is permitted to be “meshaneh” when dealing with a ramai, however the Chachomim still say it is better not to. I would like to point out that from the post above it seems that at the point of the phone call Maimon was not yet a known ramai. We definitely do not condone being dishonest with honest people. Even with noble intentions.

  • David
    May 31, 2009 - 11:24 | Permalink

    Your Hod issue raises an important matter that many (most?) people are not aware of. I came to be aware of it a number of years ago.

    A company I was working at had maybe 50-60 people and 2 who would be concerned about kashrus. They were making a company lunch at the company’s office and they wanted it to be kosher for my sake and the other chap, so they got a kosher caterer. I and the other phoned the mashgiach and we discovered that the food is made in a place that has supervision, but the mashgiach told us that they guy sometimes buys cakes on the way to an event from somewhere that I think is unsupervised.

    Also, the dishes used at the event were partly the caterer’s and partly whatever they found at the office. The dishes at the office were not kosher as people were not makpid on kashrus. At the end of the event the caterer washed up thier dishes in the company’s non-kosher sinks.

    This of course opened my eyes to the fact that a caterer can prodcue kosher food under supervision but he can screw everything up by treifing up his dishes and by adding non-kosher stuff which he buys on his way to the event.

    Oh, such a murky business, full of untrustworthy people.

    David

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