Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In the 21st century, when candidates for public office tailor their messages to address different segments of the electorate, it’s no surprise that L.A. City Councilman Dennis Zine, who is running for city controller, sent a carefully crafted blue-and-white mailer to Jewish voters in Los Angeles earlier this month.
But unlike the straightforward mailers sent by Zine’s campaign to black (pdf) and Latino (pdf) voters, which feature photographs and statements from leaders in those minority communities who have endorsed the candidate, Zine’s outreach to Jewish voters makes creative use of statements that are not endorsements to bolster the candidate’s credentials.
The mailer (pdf) includes a photograph of Zine shaking hands with Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who has not endorsed either candidate in the race. It also uses the names and logos of local synagogues and Jewish nonprofits, as well as statements attributed to religious and lay leaders involved in those organizations, in ways that might lead some voters to believe that Zine has the endorsements of those organizations and individuals.
Zine’s mailer does include a disclaimer informing voters that its mention of these organizations “in no way implies” that the organizations have endorsed Zine’s candidacy. But Zine’s opponent in the May 21st runoff election, attorney Ron Galperin, said the mailer was still “misleading.”
“It’s a disclaimer, in very, very small print, at the bottom, which basically says ignore everything on the rest of the page,” Galperin said. “It’s a blatant attempt to suggest that the Jewish organizations that he listed -- and stole the logos of -- are supporting him, which is just plain false.”
The mailer makes clear that Zine, who was a Republican until 2011, when he changed his registration to “decline to state,” has the support of Rep. Brad Sherman (D – Sherman Oaks) and Former California Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg. Photos and statements attributed to those two Jewish leaders are featured prominently.
But the largest photo in the mailer is of the candidate, a Christian of Lebanese ancestry, wearing a white yarmulke, seated next to an unidentified bearded man in a black hat, and the significance of other statements on the mailer is hard to determine.
Arnold Gerson, the Chief Executive Officer of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA), is quoted in the mailer thanking Zine for “supporting Israel’s pre-hospital medical services.”
According to Rob Rosenthal, AFMDA’s chief marketing officer, that statement, which appears in the Zine mailer alongside AFMDA’s logo, is from a letter sent in 2007 by AFMDA’s Gerson thanking Zine for a donation he made.
“We’re appreciative of Mr. Zine's support, but weren’t aware of his candidacy and have no involvement with his campaign,” Rosenthal wrote in an email to The Journal on May 14. “But we look forward to his continued support on behalf of the people of Israel.”
Rosenthal added that, as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, AFMDA is prohibited from endorsing candidates.
John Schwada, director of communications for the Zine campaign, said that Zine, a former officer with the Los Angles Police Department who has represented part of the San Fernando Valley in the council since 2001, has given from his personal funds to support a variety of causes over the years. Schwada noted that Zine served as a president of The Executives, a support group for the Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, and said that quotes like the one from Gerson’s 2007 letter are frequently reproduced in campaign communications.
“This is standard operating procedure in a campaign, to tout your support and the good things you’ve done for other people,” Schwada said.
Galperin, a Democrat, has the endorsements of both the Democratic Party and of the Los Angeles Chapter of Democrats for Israel. The son of Holocaust survivors, Galperin mentioned that he has his own prominent Jewish endorsers, including Rep. Henry Waxman (D – Beverly Hills) and former Reps. Howard Berman and Mel Levine.
Galperin, who has long been active in the Jewish community, once taught Hebrew school and spent two decades as the cantor at Temple B’nai Emet in Montebello. His spouse, Rabbi Zachary R. Shapiro, is the spiritual leader at Temple Akiba in Culver City.
Galperin said Jewish voters were no different than any other group of voters, but said Zine’s mailer was less than forthright in its effort to win over Jewish Angelenos.
“The controller’s job is to be the watchdog for the city of L.A., and most importantly, to be honest,” Galperin said. “Everybody who runs for office wants to make the best case for themselves, but you have to do it honestly.”
The Zine mailer uses the logos of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills. A representative from AIPAC declined to comment for this story. Messages left on May 14, the eve of Shavuot, for Temple Aliyah’s Rabbi Stewart L. Vogel and David Brook, both of whom are quoted by name in the mailer, were not returned on Tuesday. A message left on Tuesday for another leader whose name appeared in Zine’s mailer, Rabbi Richard Camras of Shomrei Torah in West Hills, also received no response.
To see the mailer, click here (pdf).
5.15.13 at 4:51 pm | Attorney Ron Galperin is unhappy with Los Angeles. . .
4.25.13 at 12:28 pm | When Jesse Gabriel, an alumnus from the Jewish. . .
4.16.13 at 9:49 pm | “The appeal to violence and to extreme violence. . .
4.11.13 at 9:26 pm | Differences between the two veteran politicians. . .
4.10.13 at 10:29 pm | (Post includes a link to video of a one-hour. . .
4.4.13 at 11:35 pm | This time, he's off to Turkey.
5.15.13 at 4:51 pm | Attorney Ron Galperin is unhappy with Los Angeles. . . (534)
4.10.13 at 10:29 pm | (Post includes a link to video of a one-hour. . . (33)
4.16.13 at 9:49 pm | “The appeal to violence and to extreme violence. . . (30)
April 25, 2013 | 12:28 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
When Jesse Gabriel, an alumnus from the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ New Leaders Project, explained why he and two other members of the 2012 cohort decided to host a discussion of immigration reform on April 23, he said they selected the topic precisely “because we know it’s so divisive.” But Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the first speaker on Tuesday evening, immediately challenged the assertion.
“It might have been, 10 years ago and 15 years ago,” said Villaraigosa, who is set to leave his position at the end of June. “People kind of get that we’ve got to do something with 11 million people that are working here.”
Villaraigosa was referring to the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally who would, under a bill introduced on April 16 by a bipartisan “gang of eight” senators, be given a path to citizenship.
And while it’s impossible to say how the bill will fly nationwide or how it will fare in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, there appeared to be significant common ground in the discussion at Federation headquarters between local political players from both parties.
“We’re living in a more diverse environment,” said moderator Dan Schnur, explaining why positions on immigration reform may have moderated significantly in recent years.
Schnur, who is director of the University of Southern California’s Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, which co-organized Tuesday evening’s event, served as national communications director for Sen. John McCain’s failed 2000 Presidential bid. But while Schnur and panelist Mike Madrid, a Republican expert on Latino voting trends, seemed chastened by the experience of watching their party’s Presidential nominee lose the Latino vote last year by a 40-point margin, neither one assumed that GOP congressmen or the party’s white, aging voter base would share their moderated perspective on immigration.
Though support for comprehensive immigration reform is now hanging at around 72 percent in California and over 65 percent nationwide, Madrid said that attack ads aimed at voters in Republican house districts would have eat into that support.
“When you start hearing this framed as ‘Amnesty,’” Madrid said, “you’re going to start seeing public opinion start to get a little bit shaky.”
The bill that will be brought before the Senate does have elements that bother Democrats, as well. Villaraigosa said he disliked the length of time – 13 years – that it would take immigrants to achieve full citizenship, and questioned the bill’s spending $4.5 billion in increased border security. The mayor said that the overall reform measures were worth compromising on those elements.
Hector de la Torre, who spent six years as a Democrat in the California Assembly, said he was concerned about the proposed bill’s provision that would allow more than 400,000 guest workers to enter the country without a path to citizenship.
“My grandfather was a bracero,” De La Torre said, referring to the program that brought millions of Mexican guest workers to harvest produce in the United States between 1942 and 1964. “He was treated like an indentured servant.”
“That is my strong opposition to guest-worker type programs,” De La Torre continued. “Unless they are fully endowed with civil rights in this country, I don’t buy it, I don’t get it. And if I was [in Congress] I would be having a very hard time with that piece of it.”
That said, De La Torre acknowledged that members of his party are lining up in favor of the bill, and there appears to be more momentum now than there was in 2007, the last time that Congress considered immigration reform legislation. Labor and business groups have come out in favor of the proposed legislation – which did not happen in 2007 – and leaders in the Republican party have the 2012 election results foremost in their minds.
Whether Republican voters will go along with such a change of heart is unclear.
“When you tell voters to change their opinions on something because it’s the right thing to do politically, that’s not always the most effective route to take,” Schnur said.
There is an economic argument to be made in favor of immigration reform that both Democrats and Republicans could get behind. An influx of young immigrants, Madrid said, could help buttress the country’s social safety net, keeping Medicare and Social Security solvent even as the U.S. population ages. De La Torre said that in the first three years of the program, the overall GDP could grow as much as 1.3 percent annually.
But many GOP congressmen in deeply red districts won’t necessarily have an incentive in the near term to take a more permissive view of immigration reform. Everyone who spoke on Tuesday night agreed that the success or failure of the immigration bill will be determined by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and specifically by House Speaker John Boehner.
If the bill gets to the floor of Congress, Villaraigosa predicted that the chamber will take a number of trial votes to consider amendments to make the bill more stringent – and thereby more palatable to GOP congressmen.
But its fate depends on whether Speaker Boehner allows the bill go to a vote in the first place.
“If he’s not willing to do that, it’ll die,” Villaraigosa said, adding that if the bill becomes overly harsh, representatives from his party might just take a pass.
“Democrats will just wait for another election,” the mayor said.
April 16, 2013 | 9:49 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In the wake of the bombs that exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, law enforcement agencies are combing through evidence to better understand what took place.
But Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who is a professor at Boston University, said that to properly respond to this terrorist act, the country needs to engage in some very big, very broad thinking.
“If I were the President,” Wiesel said in an interview with the Jewish Journal on April 16, “I would create a special commission of educators and philosophers and social philosophers and thinkers, to think it through what is happening to our land, if this can happen.”
This week, Wiesel is speaking with students at Chapman University, in his third year as the school's visiting Distinguished Presidential Fellow. And it’s safe to say that, as perhaps the best known Holocaust survivor living today, Wiesel is more often on the receiving end of queries about how societies can descend into violence.
But, faced with this fresh new horror, this still barely understood act of terror, the 84-year-old writer and teacher was left with the same questions as everyone else.
“Usually, a terrorist wants people to know why he did it,” Wiesel said. “Since the 19th century, when terrorism began assassinations in Europe, they signed their assassinations. What joy does the assassin draw from killing people? Try to understand that. You can’t.”
Wiesel was just as confounded by the bomber’s choice of target, a nonviolent sporting event in the city that he called “the Athens of today,” for its concentration of colleges and universities.
At a time when many observers and pundits are holding their tongues in light of the dearth of known facts about the attack, the fact that Wiesel is left with questions about Boston is not surprising. But it is notable that Wiesel saw what took place in Boston as part of a baffling epidemic of violence that included last year’s shootings in Sandy Hook and Aurora, the 2011 shooting that gravely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and other acts of terror.
“The appeal to violence and to extreme violence -- what is it? What brings it? What motivates it?” Wiesel asked.
“I don’t have the answer to the question,” he continued, which is why he proposed the Presidential commission. In Wiesel’s view, what the world is seeing and experiencing today is nothing short of an historic trend, one that must not be ignored.
“We cannot just turn the page and say, 'Oh, it will pass,'” he said.
April 11, 2013 | 9:26 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
In the first debate between the two remaining candidates running to be the next mayor of Los Angeles, City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti attempted to convince voters that there were significant differences between them even as the two veteran politicians took identical positions on one issue after another.
The candidates spent a good deal of time on Thursday night addressing questions about the city’s quality of life. The three-person panel on the stage at American Jewish University asked about neighborhood development and traffic, and the moderator, KABC anchor Marc Brown, relayed questions about the city’s sidewalks and its spay-and-neuter law from people who submitted them via Facebook.
Greuel and Garcetti both said they were in favor of bringing football back to L.A. Each also promised to end chronic homelessness in the city and pledged to ask for givebacks from the unions if elected mayor.
That last pledge would place the new mayor in the awkward position of trying to take back some of the raises that he or she had voted to award to municipal workers in 2007, when both Greuel and Garcetti were on the city council. Were Greuel to win and make good on her promise, she would also be negotiating against some of the very same unions that spent millions promoting her candidacy during the primary.
But at the debate on April 11, which was co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and AJC Los Angeles (American Jewish Committee), Greuel said she was “independent enough to be your next mayor,” even as Garcetti twice labeled her the “chosen candidate of the downtown power brokers.”
With the election set to take place on May 21, there weren’t too many fireworks between the two candidates on Thursday evening, but Greuel and Garcetti did throw some barbed attacks at one another.
Garcetti questioned the math underlying Greuel’s claim to have identified $160 million in wasteful spending as controller; he also assailed Greuel’s proposal to increase the number of police officers by 2,000 over the coming eight years. Greuel stood by the $160 million number, and called her suggestion to increase the city’s police force a “goal,” not a plan.
“I believe that if you don’t look forward to a goal, you’ll never get there,” Greuel said.
For her part, Greuel questioned Garcetti on whether he had acted quickly enough in making known his opinion on two skyscrapers planned for Hollywood. Garcetti opposed the plan, which was approved by the city’s planning commission late last month, but Greuel, who said she opposed the plan, felt her opponent had waited too long.
“Let’s resolve it before it comes to the planning commission,” Greuel said.
Garcetti defended his course of action, saying that he had always thought the project was too large, but wanted to give the developers the opportunity to see if they could rally public support behind it.
When Jewish Journal Editor-in-Chief and Publisher Rob Eshman, who was one of the three questioners on Thursday night, asked each candidate for the “vote defining difference” that could help Angelenos decide between these two polished, Democratic City Hall insiders, Greuel pointed to their “different experiences,” arguing that her work in the public and private sector have helped to prepare her to be the best mayor.
Garcetti, at other points during the debate, noted that he had the support of the three leading candidates for mayor who were knocked out during the first round of voting in March. He also said that the campaign shouldn’t be about “big names from faraway places telling us how to vote,” which was a thinly veiled criticism of Greuel who has won endorsements from President Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson, among others.
While most of the focus during Thursday evening’s debate was on the candidates who want the city’s top job, the lame duck mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fired off an attack at the two candidates 24 hours earlier during his final State of the City speech, critiquing Garcetti and Greuel for not paying more attention to education during the campaign.
Taking the mayor’s criticism to heart, Adrienne Alpert of ABC7’s Eyewitness News kicked off the debate with a question about education, asking the candidates if they would support Villaraigosa’s 22 “partnership schools,” which are under the supervision of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), but receive additional support from private funds. Both candidates said they would maintain the mayor’s support and focus on those low-performing schools.
And even if it was Greuel who came out with a stronger-sounding defense of “choice” on Thursday night, loudly proclaiming her support for the “parent trigger” law, which allows parents to vote out a school’s administration and bring in a new operator, Garcetti, who has been endorsed by the city’s teachers union, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), said he was also in favor of the parent trigger.
Where Garcetti will stand on the polarizing issues related to education reform remains to be seen. As of late Thursday evening, both Garcetti and Greuel had signed an online petition in support of the LAUSD's reform-minded superintendent, John Deasy. Earlier in the day, UTLA members "issued an overwhelming vote of no-confidence" in Deasy, according to The Daily News.
April 10, 2013 | 10:29 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
By now, most people reading this are probably familiar with the details of the scandal that all but destroyed Doheny Glatt Kosher Meat Market just before the beginning of Passover. Most readers are likely also familiar with the decision made by the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) and other local L.A. rabbis a few weeks ago that allowed all meat that was purchased from the shop before 3 p.m. on March 24 to be considered kosher.
But just because Jews in L.A. and across the country are aware of the decision -- which was made in consultation with the legal authority for the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky -- doesn’t mean they don’t want a better understanding of the halachic (Jewish legal) reasoning that led to it. ***
“All throughout Yom Tov, I fielded questions,” Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of B’nai David-Judea told me recently. “I actually gave a shiur (class) on the afternoon of the seventh day of Passover.”
“In a nutshell,” said Kanefsky, who was in the room when the initial decision was made, “there’s a halachic dispute that goes back hundreds and hundreds of years as to when you can apply the principle that the majority of the meat that is present determines the halachic status of all the meat that is present.”
Rabbi Belsky, Kanefsky said, directed them to one side of that rabbinic debate, and allowed the principle of rov, or majority, to be employed in the Doheny case.
“Prior to there being definitive knowledge of questionable or forbidden meat present,” Kanefsky said, “one can presume, based on majority, that any given piece of meat purchased from the store is kosher.”
Kanefsky is hardly the only rabbi to have tackled this question in the weeks since video footage revealed that Doheny’s former owner had, on at least one occasion, brought eight boxes of unidentified animal products into the store, which had been certified as glatt kosher by the RCC.
Rabbi Elchonon Tauber, a prominent local Chassidic scholar, gave an hour-long class on April 9 about which mixtures of prohibited and kosher meats are permitted to eat and which mixtures are not.
“So many people are wondering: what makes three o’clock the magic number?” Tauber said near the beginning of the class at Chabad-Lubavitch of South La Cienega (Chabad SOLA). He went on to lead the 35 men present through the relevant section of the Shulchan Aruch, a 16th century code of Jewish law.
Every detail, it seemed, had an impact on whether the meat was to be considered kosher: what the buyer knew about the seller when he bought it, what the seller knew about the meat, even whether the seller was himself a religious Jew.
The reasoning was complicated, and drew some strong reactions from those in attendance. (Video of the class – # 17 in Tauber’s weekly series – has been posted at the Chabad SOLA web site.)
But if Tauber – who sits on the rabbinic advisory board of the local kosher certification agency that competes most directly with the RCC, Kehilla Kosher – is standing behind Belsky and the RCC’s decision, there is at least one person who disagrees.
“The claim that since the majority of the product in the store was definitely kosher we can assume that the meat being bought is kosher needs clarification,” writes a guest poster on the blog of Rabbi Yudel Shain, a kosher consultant from Lakewood N.J.
The post continues:
If a store has 1000 kosher chickens and 10 livers of which 9 are not kosher and 1 is kosher, if I purchase a liver at that store I am definitely not allowed to eat it. We can only group similar items to create the majority. We must therefore be able to establish that we had a majority of livers, tongues, rib steaks etc. against the unknown product that was brought in.
And that’s only the beginning. The poster – who Shain, in an interview with The Journal, declined to name – goes on to question the RCC’s statement that the meat was not unkosher but merely not glatt kosher. It also questions the RCC itself.
Shain said he approved of the reasoning used by the guest poster, who he said was also a rabbi.
“I am convinced that treyf (non-kosher product) was going in there,” Shain said. “I have no doubt.”
Among the rabbinic community, however, Shain may be a lone voice. He said he had submitted the guest blogger’s post and another post about the Doheny scandal (which lifted a few paragraphs, without attribution, from work done by this reporter) to other Jewish news outlets that primarily serve an Orthodox readership. Those news outlets, he said, turned him down.
*** I’m not a scholar of these matters, not by a long shot. If I’ve misrepresented the statements of any of these rabbis, I hope they’ll forgive me. (And, more to the point, that they’ll contact me so that I can correct any errors.)
April 4, 2013 | 11:35 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
The comic book hero “Foreskin Man,” the muscle-bound and caped opponent of circumcision who first made headlines in 2011, has returned.
The fourth issue was released on April 3, according to a press release from Matthew Hess, the anti-circumcision activist who was the behind failed ballot measures two years ago that aimed to stop the practice in San Francisco and Santa Monica.
In previous issues, Foreskin Man spirited away baby boys who were to be circumcised by blood-spattered doctors and vicious-looking mohelim (Jewish ritual circumcisers); in the latest issue, the flying hero is sent to Turkey, where he stops a ghoulish-eyed Muslim father from using a curved blade to circumcise his son.
Hess regularly is asked to refute charges that his opposition to circumcision stemmed from anti-Semitism, and the new comic might help him in that regard. Circumcision is a central rite of Judaism and Islam, and Hess told SFGate blogger Debra J. Saunders that he’s not concerned about reactions from members of any religious group to his efforts.
“I can’t let fear be the driving force of intactivism,” he told Saunders.
For all four issues of Foreskin Man, click here.
April 3, 2013 | 7:26 am
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Shlomo Rechnitz, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist, has purchased Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, the scandal-plagued kosher meat retailer and distributor.
Rechnitz, who co-founded a large medical supply business and also owns a number of nursing homes, purchased the store and distributor from its former owner, Mike Engelman. The sale closed on Sunday, March 31, just one week after its former kosher certifier, the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC) revoked the store’s kosher certification.
Rechnitz could not be reached immediately on Wednesday morning for comment. RCC President Rabbi Meyer H. May confirmed the sale to The Jewish Journal early Wednesday morning.
“It’s really extraordinary,” May said of the purchase. “He’s going to preserve the richness of the meat supply and preserve the price structure for consumers.”
Rechnitz was involved in the response to the Doheny scandal from its earliest hours. He was one of a handful of non-rabbis in the room on Sunday, March 24, when Engelman spoke directly to the RCC’s leadership and rabbis from synagogues around the Pico-Robertson neighborhood.
Rechnitz also helped to facilitate the conversation between the RCC and his father-in-law, Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, a prominent rabbinic decisor in matters relating to kosher food.
May said that starting on March 25, he and other rabbis began to urge Rechnitz to buy Doheny.
Under Rechnitz’s ownership, RCC would likely resume its certification of Doheny, May said.
“If Mr. Engelman is out entirely and it’s owned entirely by Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, it’s likely that we will return our certification forthwith," he said.
Doheny is the largest RCC-certified distributor of meat in Los Angeles. Engelman, who had owned the shop for 28 years, was videotaped by a private investigator last month bringing unidentified products into his store at a time when its rabbinic overseer was absent.
March 25, 2013 | 3:32 pm
Posted by Jonah Lowenfeld
Less than 36 hours before the start of Passover, a high-end distributor and retailer of kosher meat located in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood has had its kosher certification revoked by the Rabbinical Council of California (RCC).
Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats had its certification stripped for allegedly selling non-kosher meat that had been repackaged to look like it was glatt kosher.
The news, first reported by KTLA on Sunday, March 24, was also conveyed by email to members of Orthodox Jewish synagogues in the area that evening. One such email, from Beth Jacob Congregation, stated the community rabbis had decided that all meat bought from Doheny before 3 pm on Sunday was still considered Kosher.
Doheny’s retail store on Pico Boulevard was open for business on Monday. No kosher certificate was displayed, and the store’s long, old-fashioned glass display cabinet, usually stocked with cuts of red meat and chicken, was bare.
But at 1 p.m., just hours before sundown and the start of Passover, six people could be seen waiting in line to order beef, chicken and pre-prepared products from the now non-kosher retailer.
An employee at Doheny’s retail outlet said on Monday afternoon that only two or three people had brought back meat that had been purchased from Doheny after finding out about the revocation of its kosher certification. Those customers, he said, received full refunds.
The employee declined to offer further comment, but said the owner would have a response after Passover.
According to the KTLA report, the investigation into Doheny had been going on for months. Eric Agaki, of Hover View Investigations Inc., told KTLA that boxes used by Doheny showed signs of significant wear, suggesting they had been tampered with at times when the RCC’s kosher supervisor was not on site.
The investigator also told KTLA that the store was in possession of a stack of fraudulent labels.
A representative from the RCC could not be reached on Monday for comment, but as of Monday afternoon, its Web site no longer included Doheny among its list of kosher butchers and markets.
Video surveillance footage reportedly led to the revocation of Doheny’s kashrut certificate, but Selwyn Gerber, who heads a prominent accounting and wealth management firm in Century City, expressed frustration at the level of supervision being employed by kosher certifiers like the RCC.
“We have systems in place that were established in Eastern Europe,” Gerber said, suggesting that kosher meat could be subject to the same kinds of “inventory control systems” that manufacturers of designer handbags use to ensure that retailers are selling the real thing, not cheap knock-offs.
“And the rabbis should be bringing in a CPA firm with experience in that kind of work,” Gerber said, adding that his own firm was “not a specialist” in that type of auditing.
The revocation of Doheny’s kashrut certification by the RCC could have significant impacts on the market for kosher meat.
“It was the meat purveyor to all of Pico-Robertson,” Gerber said.