The Jew And The Carrot

New York Division of Kosher Law Enforcement Nearly Cut

By Devra Ferst

  • Print
  • Share Share

As the Times Square ball dropped, government and corporate sectors switched from their 2010 to 2011 budgets. In the mix, New York State, whose population makes up the largest kosher consumer market outside of Israel, has stripped the Division of Kosher Law Enforcement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The 11-employee division of the state Department of Agriculture and Markets has been whittled down to just its director. The cut follows another budgetary decision made last summer to lay-off much of the division’s staff. The department is saying that the lay-offs will save the state $1 million this year.

The division has played a significant role in protecting consumers against fraudulent use of kosher symbols. Howie Beigelman, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the Orthodox Union, explained that the division’s inspectors confirmed that kosher markets, restaurants, caterers and other businesses are certified by the agency they purport to be. They would ask: “Are you compliant with the law? You say you’re under the OU — are you actually? Or you say you’re glatt — are you really?” he told the Jew and the Carrot.

“It’s a large industry for the state and it allows the state basically to police [it],” Beigeleman continued.

Illegal use of kosher symbols is widespread, according to another article in the Journal. Kosher-certifying agencies spend considerable amounts of money and time each year protecting their names. Andrew Wolpin, a former inspector for the state who was laid-off told the Journal: “Now that there’s no kosher enforcement it’s going to be the Wild West and people will do whatever they feel like.”

According to the JTA, the state views the role of inspectors as obsolete after a 2004 court decision. Until then, inspectors enforced kosher supervision, holding all kosher businesses to Orthodox kashrut standards. The decision was found to be discriminatory against non-Orthodox kosher businesses and was changed to have inspectors confirm that kosher businesses are supervised by the agency they claim to be. A second case challenging the current law is in litigation.

The OU has urged the state to change its budget. According to Beigelman, Rabbi Menachem Genack, Chief Executive Officer of OU Kosher, wrote Governor Paterson before the end of Paterson’s term, but has yet to receive a response.

According to the OU, the Speaker of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, has indicated that he will speak to Governor Andrew Cuomo about the division in the coming months

The Rabbinical Alliance of America and the National Council of Young Israel have also come out against the cuts, according to the JTA.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Orthodox Union, New York, Kosher, Cuomo, Beigelman

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.