Going to a Hotel that is Kashered to Mehadrin Standards

29 Tishrei 5773
October 15, 2012
Anyone following JKN has read a number of articles over the years pointing to vague ads pertaining to hotels specially kashered to meet a mehadrin standard.

I cannot urge readers enough to read ads carefully, and to pay close attention for those rarely present yet ever-so-important words “under the hashgacha of”.

In this case, the ad does not say Rabbi Landau (presumably referring to Rabbi Moshe Yehuda Leib Landau of Bnei Brak) or the Eida Chareidis give a hashgacha, but it implies this to the uninitiated and many do not ‘get’ the difference, but it is imperative that you begin doing so. NOWHERE is the ad does it say “under the hashgacha of” so that tells me no one is taking responsibility for the claim of “only Landau and Eida products” during the dates mentioned.

I called the Israel Center, the tour organizers, the hotel, Badatz Rav Landau and Badatz Eida Chareidis. The two hashgachas said “we have nothing to do with it”. The others were most polite and tried to assist, finally realizing my address is the hotel.

I reached the hotel and was connected to the mashgiach, in this case, Rabbi Moshe Sheetrit, who was helpful. He told me the following:
1. The hotel year round is under the supervision of the local rabbinate, non-mehadrin. This led me to ask about who is responsible for kashering for the mehadrin dates.
2. The kashering and supervision during the period of time mentioned in the ad is under Rabbi Moshe Nachshoni of Rishon L’Tzion.
I tracked Rabbi Nachshoni down too, and he confirmed that he is the man responsible in this case. He told me that his team kashers the hotel for the dates in question, and since the plates are porcelain, which he does not kasher, new plates will be used. He takes responsibility for the claim that only “Landau and Eida products will be served during the dates”.

I did not get into details about level of kashering or anything else for that matter, for this was not my goal. My goal was to learn who was giving the hashgacha over the dates in the ad in this particular hotel, and I achieved my goal. Hence, if you need Eida Chareidis or Rav Landau, this is not for you. If Rabbi Nachshoni works, then this is for you.

My point is not this particular hotel on these dates, but the conceptual issue. We need to learn to read ads carefully and never make assumptions. In my opinion, your best course of action is to always phone the hashgacha mentioned to verify the legitimacy of the claim. If this sounds a bit harsh then you are a novice and have not been checking these ads long enough.

I would like to add that the “Torah Tidbits” publication in which this ad appears has a disclaimer on the third page (2nd page if one does not count the cover page) clearly stating it assumes no responsibility for the kashrus of ads among other details contained in the disclaimer.
By the way, if you ever wondered, that is why JKN will not accept ads from food establishments. B”H there have been many requests, but I personally feel that an ad represents some level of acceptance or endorsement in the eyes of some readers and I prefer to avoid perpetuating this misconception. I can’t say it has always been easy, since there were a number of large companies willing to pay a premium price to appear on the website and in emails, including some well-known restaurants, but together with the rabbonim who advise me, the decision was made that nothing connected to food will be advertised under the JKN banner, even with a premium hashgacha since then we get into the murky waters of what hashgacha is acceptable and so forth.

I feel readers see the ads but are less in tune to the disclaimers and this continues to lead to the confusion described in this article.

And finally, this only address issues of food in a hotel. A non-mehadrin hotel kashered to mehadrin also presents many issues that demand review if one will be staying over shabbos since some of the non-mehadrin hotels are quite problematic. Perhaps I will address this in a follow-up article.



  • Tsvi Rogin
    October 15, 2012 - 08:41 | Permalink

    A tremendous yasher koach for you for not accepting food ads. This is a huge temptation which few are able to overcome.

  • Phyllis Koenigsberg
    October 15, 2012 - 08:53 | Permalink

    Once again I thank you Yechiel for bringing this issue to our attention, and reminding the public to ask more questions.

  • Moshe Levinson
    October 15, 2012 - 11:34 | Permalink

    The use of the revered Rabbinical sources is certainly misleading. If I’m any standard in interperting the ad, I would coclude that the food is under their supervision from its source to its preperation and serving. I would suggest that the ad include the following words
    ” only the food source is under the supervision of ______________”

  • October 15, 2012 - 12:45 | Permalink

    Reb Yechiel

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. As the OU we believe in full transparency and disclosure and as such Rav Nachshoni`s name should have been clearly advertised as the Rav Hamachshir responsible for the Kashrut of the hotel during this period.

    Thank you
    Avi Berman
    Executive Director – OU Israel

  • tali
    October 15, 2012 - 12:52 | Permalink

    we were invited to a yom tov meal at the inbal, which i know not to be mehadrin normally. i suspected they may go mehadrin for chagim (a lot of jerusalem hotels do b/c of the clientele) and called them. spoke to the mashgiach- he sounded kind of lax, saying all the products over chag are mehadrin and that as an ashkenazi i don’t need to worry about bishul akum. different story entirely from when i spoke to rabbi lishner about the david’s citadel last pesach. we didn’t eat at the inbal.

  • David
    October 15, 2012 - 12:56 | Permalink

    Very good stuff.

    My only quibble is with the statement “Hence, if you need Eida Chareidis or Rav Landau, this is not for you. If Rabbi Nachshoni works, then this is for you.”

    What if I want Eida or Rav L for their halachic rulings, but in terms of neemanut Rav Nachshoni is fine? IE if he tells me that the foods are hashgacha X, and I believe him, what’s wrong with that?

    We often hear that hashgacha is not politics, that there are real differences between the hashgachot in terms of how they pasken halacha. But there is also the issue of neemanut, and here I think you will find people who hold of certain standards (call them Standard A) but are willing to believe people who hold other standards (Standard B) that Standard A is being implemented.

  • Yehuda Shain
    October 15, 2012 - 16:24 | Permalink

    Yasher koach to JKN.I have tried for years to get the NY based kashrus magazine not to take any ads from food establishments, to no avail.

  • Doneel
    October 15, 2012 - 17:10 | Permalink

    Yehuda Shain, would you urge the Yated not to take food ads, or Hamodia, or Mishpacha, or the Flatbush Jewish Journal?
    In my personal opinion, the magazine you mentioned would not take the type of ad discussed here – only ads where the hashgacha is clearly identified. Let’s be clear – there is nothing “wrong” with food ads where the hashgacha is clearly identified. I commend JKN for going above and beyond, but let’s not denigrate other publications.

  • Dr. Joel Luber
    October 22, 2012 - 13:23 | Permalink

    A big yasher koach goes to Rabbi Avi Berman and the OU. They did indeed list the Rav Hamachshir in the following week’s ad. Let’s hope other hotels, resorts, etc.will follow suit! Even more so as the first Pesach advertisements are beginning to appear.

    Tali – Although it is true that Ashkenazim follow the Rema and only require the fire to be lit by a Yisrael to overcome bishul akum, a mehadrin hechsher, by definition, requires that all edot and opinions must be satisfied. Therefore unless a Yisrael actually puts the food on the fire, in order to satisfy the Shulchan Aruch – for Sefaradim – the hechsher was definitely not mehadrin. The mashgiach should have explained to you that “mehadrin” goes far beyond glatt, and chalav and bishul Yisrael. There are a myriad of requirements, especially concerning warming of food for Shabbat, that must be met above and beyond that needed for kashrut regila. If a hotel is not mehadrin all year round, I don’t see how it can be mehadrin “for the chagim” unless they have a valid teuda that says so.

  • tali
    October 28, 2012 - 13:07 | Permalink

    mehadrin is not regulated by the rabbanut harashit or anyone else, so technically anyone can call whatever they want “mehadrin” and not violate any laws. that’s what complicates this whole business. and some hotels definitely go properly mehadrin for the chagim, because that’s when the rich chutznikim show up and want it. the hotel operator will connect you to the mashgiach if you ask for him. you think a hotel will pay for a heavy-duty hashgacha during the off season?

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