Report a Mashgiach Hotline

The non religious faction in Bayit Yehudi known as בית משותף (Bayit Meshutaf) has decided to begin addressing the many complaints against mashgichim who simply are no-shows or absent themselves from restaurants for long periods of time.

These individuals have decided to establish a hotline number to permit consumers to report mashgichim who they feel are not doing their job. While the organizers promise all the complaints received will be turned over to the Ministry of Religious Services to address, they feel a need to act in light of the growing number of complaints, many addressing the expense surrounding the salary of a mashgiach. For some reason, many feel a mashgiach is not entitled to earn a livelihood. Whatever the case, the phone number is 052-873-6395.

While the concept has the potential of yielding positive results, the organizers do not appear to be motivated to improve kashrus, but rather to act as advocates for store owners against the state kashrus system.

The organizers speak of the mashgichim who try to compel a restaurant owner to pay them off the books to avoid taxes and other unpleasant businesses practices that should be stopped. Regarding unscrupulous mashgichim, all of the local rabbinates agree such practices should and must be halted. However, the Bayit Yehudi faction does not genuinely appear interested in improving kashrus, and this may result in a boomerang effect for the kosher consumer.


  • surie ackerman
    August 21, 2013 - 13:08 | Permalink

    It’s not enough for all of the local rabbinates to “agree that such practices should and must be halted.” They have to halt them.

    If the establishment doesn’t do its job, in today’s activist world someone is bound to step in in this fashion and try to impose order.

  • Rachel Hershberg
    August 21, 2013 - 14:23 | Permalink

    I don’t understand your statement, “They appear to feel a mashgiach is not entitled to earn a livelihood.” I assume you mean, “A corrupt mashgiach is not entitled to earn a livelihood.” You make a number of claims regarding Beit Meshutaf. Can you please explain more? I can understand if they don’t personally care about kashrus, but perhaps they believe in transparent, competent government?

  • Simon
    August 21, 2013 - 14:51 | Permalink

    Mashgichim turning up to work would surely improve kashrut?

  • Rabbi Yosef Wikler, Editor, Kashrus Magazine
    August 22, 2013 - 22:03 | Permalink

    This is abominable!
    1. As there is some truth, however small, in the claims against individual mashgichim, a system for handling it efficiently should be established, but by the Rabbanut not by these people. We should lobby the Rabbanut to establish their own hotline.for this purpose.
    2. We should rally around the kashrut establishment and not approve of this new hotline. it is only intent on discrediting everyone involved in kashrut. The articles about it are appearing everywhere and they mock the Rabbanut, the mashgichim, and all that we stand for.
    3. Yes, the Rabbanut should also make an immediate effort to put into place safeguards that NO mashgiach will act improperly.
    It is interesting to note that in the 35 years that I have been observing the field of kashrut and reporting to the kosher consumer here in the U.S., I have never heard a similar complaint about the mashgichim here.
    Rabbi Yosef Wikler
    Kashrus Magazine

  • Shimon
    August 25, 2013 - 11:20 | Permalink

    Dear Rabbi Spira,
    I found several of your comments in this posting quite distasteful (or perhaps – in bad taste).

    You imply yourself that there *are* justified complaints (“the many complaints against mashgichim who simply are no-shows or absent themselves from restaurants for long periods of time”), yet find it necessary to be חושד בכשרים that the people in Bayit Yehudi who are addressing this problem, are doing so from some ulterior motive.

    First of all, please check your statistics. From what I have heard, a sizable majority of self-defining ‘non-religious’ Israelis, DO eat kosher! While they might not keep all the chumras you, or even I, keep, that does not mean they have no interest in reliable kashrut.

    Secondly, if we as citizens are paying for a state-run kashrut system, then EVERY citizen has the right and duty to keep that system honest. If I remember correctly, there have even been cases where fervently *anti*-religious parties have stood up for the kosher consumers rights to reliable kashrut. (And any so-called non-religious Jew, who has joined Bayit Yehudi, most certainly can not be considered anti-religious, the current Chareidi “mizrochnik bashing” campaign notwithstanding!)

    Lastly, I am very interested in hearing how reporting “unscrupulous mashgichim” can possibly “result in a boomerang effect for the kosher consumer”?

    Thank you, I look forward to your response,

  • August 25, 2013 - 12:39 | Permalink

    Shalom Shimon,
    For the record, I am not a rabbi.

    From my viewpoint, the non-religious effort to permit one to report on a mashgiach will work to place more restrictions on an already extremely limited state-run kosher system.

    As to my opinion, time will tell and we will see who is correct. From my perspective, I truly hope your optimistic outlook proves me wrong!!

    I do think we are however in agreement regarding the current system being badly in need of improvement!
    Thanks for writing.

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