Meurav Yerushalmi – Jerusalem’s Old City

7 Cheshvan 5773
After my report yesterday I spoke with the owner of the store, Mr. Yaron Sheetrit. We spoke at length and I learned the following, which I believe is appropriate to share with you are this time.

1. He used to be under the hashgacha of Jerusalem Rabbinate mehadrin and at his behest, the hashgacha was removed.
2. For reasons that are not relevant for this report, he decided to obtain a hashgacha from his own rav, Rabbi Chaim Shapira
3. Mr. Sheetrit maintains that he store remains legitimately mehadrin, above the standard demanded by the local rabbinate.

We agreed that I will pay him a visit to get to know one another personally and to permit me to review the store. I will do this blei neder as soon as my schedule permits. I will share my findings with you, the readers.

In addition, I explained to him that his private hashgacha is “illegal” in the eyes of the state kosher law since he must have a local rabbinate hashgacha too. This is not my concern, but wanted to make him aware of this matter too.

I also told him that the certificate which he posts is too familiar to the Jerusalem Rabbinate mehadrin certificate and despite being a different color, I fear that he may be inadvertently deceiving clients since I received emails from readers who state they thought it was rabbanut mehadrin. He promised to change the certificate promptly to avoid this since it was not his intention.

So stay tuned for a more expanded report on the store. I must say Yaron left me with the feeling he is most sincere and more than willing to have his store checked, perhaps even anxious to do so, since he told me kashrus has always been a high priority for him.

This is why I removed the original posting from the website.

17 Comments

  • Perry Zamek
    October 23, 2012 - 07:57 | Permalink

    I have noticed some food establishments with a regular Rabbanut Teuda (which I assume costs less than the Mehadrin), and a separate Mehadrin hashgacha as well. This meets the legal requirements, and if one accepts the particular Mehadrin hashgacha, the higher Mehadrin standards as well.

  • Suzanne
    October 23, 2012 - 08:05 | Permalink

    Very interesting. I also recall him from several years ago as being extremely cooperative. Unfortunately with “hechsherim” being an expensive business we are likely to see more of this kind of behavior. I have heard of someone who had to close his business because he couldn’t afford for the hechsher on top of his rent and other expenses.

  • Akiva
    October 23, 2012 - 08:17 | Permalink

    The question should be one of kashrut, not fulfilling government regulations.

  • Gary
    October 23, 2012 - 10:18 | Permalink

    “This is why I removed the original posting from the website.”

    Can you explain what one has to do with the other? Is anything in your original report false? You always tell your readers that we must be vigilant and discerning and that there must be a proper hashgacha, no matter what we think of the proprietor. Now you have been convinced that he is a nice guy, so the fact that his improper hashgacha can fool many people doesn’t rate to get on your website??

  • Rochelle Eissenstat
    October 23, 2012 - 11:28 | Permalink

    The Rabbanut has a government budget. I don’t like them additionally billing the establishments an amount so large as to prevent the owners from making any parnassa. Restaurants & food stores run on very small margins. The teuda should not cost so much that owners must give up on it.

  • Shimon
    October 23, 2012 - 12:05 | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Akiva, not all businesses are run by such honest and well meaning people. The Rabbanut kashrut law is to protect the consumer from fraud by people who post a made-up certificate, with no backing. If they get basic Rabbanut supervision (as little as that may be), they are legally entitled to call their establishment “kosher”. If not, NOT. Only after they are recognized as basically kosher are they allowed to post a claim to additional stringency, signed by their (not necessarily government recognized) rav.

  • David
    October 23, 2012 - 12:58 | Permalink

    I agree with Shimon here. Not fulfilling “gov’t regulations” weakens the kashrus standards overall. Maybe it’s good for those who eat Eida only, but for the clal it is terrible.

    As to the people who commented about the price: you mean you think mashgichim are overpaid? Or that someone is getting rich on this? If a business can’t make it “due to paying the mashgiach” maybe it’s not a viable business anyway. A mehadrin hashgacha demands much more time than a regular one, so it follows that the expenses will be greater..

  • Michael
    October 23, 2012 - 15:37 | Permalink

    This still sounds fishy to me. I can’t believe he was so clueless that he didn’t know that he needs bona fide Rabbanut hechsher as a matter of law before calling himself Kosher, and that he printed up his own Teuda, that just happens to look like a Rabbanut Teuda.

  • Michael
    October 23, 2012 - 15:44 | Permalink

    Also, removing yesterday’s report will make this posting on its own completely incomprehensible to a new reader. Why not leave yesterday’s up? Dropping it seems to suggest that it was posted in error. There’s nothing you stated in it that is incorrect. It and this one tell the story so far.

    Are you having problems with your conscience? Why is this different than the other establishments you’ve dissed before? Is it because he sounded like a nice guy?

    Like my previous post, I’m from Missouri on this one.

  • jack
    October 23, 2012 - 17:02 | Permalink

    Yechiel,

    What is the benefit of saying that the owner claims his store is mehadrin or better?

    He has no authorized hasgacha and nobody knows anything about his rabbi.

    So why are you buckling under pressure from him to say “maybe it is ok?” Of course maybe it is ok, but your whole mission is to have acceptable, reliable (ie. they tell you what they will do and and actually do it) hasgachos and this obviously is not.

  • Julie
    October 23, 2012 - 21:57 | Permalink

    It would be enormously helpful if you would list the restaurants under the rabbanut mehadrin hechsher which you have personally investigated and have found trustworthy. Thanks for all your hard work!

  • arye greenwald
    October 23, 2012 - 22:14 | Permalink

    to the people who complain about the expense of the hechsher
    .The hechsher per se is not the main expense as much as paying the mashgiach .that is not part of the goverment budget.The mashgichim also have families to feed.
    Maybe we should put the blame on going out of bussiness to the rent and workers salleries.

  • October 23, 2012 - 22:43 | Permalink

    Shimon,

    Yet, government standards may or may not have anything to do with halacha or machmir standards of various religious communities. And whether you can “legally” call your place kosher has NOTHING to do with the actual kashrus status, nor whether those “kosher” standards are ones that anyone would actually care to keep.

    A very good example of this is when products are imported from the US, complete with their O-U’s or O-K’s, etc (or even mehadrin special runs with major chassidic or litvish supervision). Yet according to Israeli kosher law they’re NOT KOSHER unless the rabbinut has reviewed them and declared them kosher (meaning, added them to the list of imported products that we checked). That’s nothing more than overhead and paperwork. And whether it’s there to protect the public or not, it has nothing to do with the kashrus situation of the product or establishment.

  • David
    October 24, 2012 - 13:22 | Permalink

    Can anyone tell us how much a hechsher and/or mashgiach cost per month?

    Approximate numbers, but enough to give us some idea of the amounts involved.

  • Simon
    October 24, 2012 - 15:42 | Permalink

    I don’t like the sound of this. Kashrut isn’t a free for all, and there are general guidelines, even for places without Rabbanut supervision. In almost all outlets in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak that are chemically kosher but don’t have Rabbanut supervision, they have a teuda from a recognized and respected Mehadrin agency. Even the most simple parve kiosks and falafal stores have this, often of the highest level of kashrut from Rav Landa or the Eida. The public, who come from all sorts of backgrounds, don’t know who Rabbi Chaim Shapira is, and it is frankly unfair to put people in a position where they even have to make that judgement.

  • Nathan
    October 24, 2012 - 23:34 | Permalink

    I think the author witrhdrew the original article to allow the owner to explain himself. If he does not come up with a plausible explanation for his phont hechsher, it is always eay to put the original article back in place, and to make a big noise about it.

  • Yidel
    October 25, 2012 - 05:10 | Permalink

    Quote from a blog “Yechiel Spira does some good work raising awareness to kashrus issues, but sometimes, and this is a good example of it, he just goes too far. He makes his own standards and expects everyone to adhere to them as if they are givens. Yes, it is illegal for someone to declare the restaurant kosher without a Rabbanut hechsher, and then one can place his own hechsher in addition to that. But beyond that, it is a matter of trust. Some organizations giving out hechsherim have been found to be fraudulent, but R’ Spira automatically assumes every hechsher he has never heard of is a fraud, and is trying to deceive the public with a teuda that looks like someone else’s (note: I did not think the teuda looked so similar to the Jerusalem Mehadrin Rabbinate that it would be confused). As you can see in this post, when he spoke to the person her realized he isn’t a fraud (saying nothing at this point about the actual quality of the hechsher) and then took down the original post. Maybe he shouldnt be so zealous to call everyone a fraud in the first place…”

    I must agree with the above.

    I mean are you a government inspector?

    “In addition, I explained to him that his private hashgacha is “illegal” in the eyes of the state kosher law since he must have a local rabbinate hashgacha too. This is not my concern, but wanted to make him aware of this matter too.”
    Poshut, you had to be mochiach him so he chas v’sholom shouldn’t be oyver going against the Medinah? Now its b’meizid? Pleeease.

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