Hebron Wines

hebon-winesThere is quite a stir in the kashrus community over announcements circulating from R’ Rafi Yochai of the Chief Rabbinate Kashrus Fraud Unit as well as the Hebron Religious Council, informing the public that Hebron Wineries lost their supervision from Rav Dov Lior Shlita, Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba and a member of the Chief Rabbinate Rabbinical Council.  

According to the formal releases circulating around Israel, the decision is based on the fact that “unapproved ingredients” were found on the premises, compelling the decision, to revoke the kosher supervision.

For those who are familiar, Hebron Wines also has a hechsher from Badatz Machzikei Hadas – Belz, Mehadrin. I spoke with R’ Moshe Hoffman of the Belz hechsher a short time ago, and he is well aware of the decision of R’ Lior and the Rabbinate, but informs me that the winery maintains a mehadrin standard, adding “If only all wineries would adhere to kashrus laws as the folks in Hebron,” emphasizing the owners are shomer shabbat G-d-fearing Jews, and that Belz is not removing its hechsher and Hebron Wines remains mehadrin, on a very high standard.

R’ Hoffman thanked me for calling, urging me to ‘put the word out’, pained over R’ Lior’s decision which is delivering a blow to “fine Jews” just weeks ahead of Rosh Hashanah, assuring me over and over again that the wines are mehadrin by all standards.

Letter from R' Dov Lior Shlita, removing kashrut from Hebron Winery

Letter from R' Dov Lior Shlita, removing kashrut from Hebron Winery

3 Comments

  • Peretz Dissen
    September 3, 2009 - 17:01 | Permalink

    This begs the question – what does R’ Lior know or object to that R’ Hoffman is OK with? Do the ‘imported grape juice or other raw materials’ without Rabbanut Harasheet approval have a Chutz La-Aretz Hechsher?
    In general, when there is a double Hechsher on a product, do the two parties ever compare notes with each other? One would think that two sets of eyes are better than one…

  • David
    September 3, 2009 - 17:06 | Permalink

    Although there was found “unapproved ingredients”, could someone detail please why then the Belz do not have a problem with this?
    Did these ingredients make their way into the wine?
    Are these ingredients really not kosher, really are kosher or possibly the type of ingredients which may or not be kosher according to how applying different halachic technicalities (bittul, doesn’t give taste, a chemical that is not considered food but considered pagum substance etc.).

  • September 3, 2009 - 17:43 | Permalink

    I am afraid that seems to me to be more a comment on the Belz hechsher than on the Hebron Winery.

    Fact 1: Import of foreign foodstuffs without the certificate of the Chief Rabbinate as stated in Rav Lior’s letter is illegal and dangerous to the overall level of kashrut in the country.
    Fact 2: The existence of a “badatz” hechsher without the approval of the local Rabbinate is also illegal and dangerous to the overall level of kashrut in the country. How are people who are not intimately involved to follow all the different hechshers without a “lowest common denominator”?

    Furthermore the wording used by Rav Lior, not known to the best of my understanding to be one of the more extreme in the field, implies to me that the Hebron people simply rode roughshod over the minimum requirements of the Rabbinate as if to say, who needs you, we’ve got Belz?

    Another point: two giant strikes against Taaman (distributors of both the Hebron wines and the Moshiko grape juice you told us has a forged hechsher) in one day??? Very sad, very sad indeed.

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