Rabbi Luban of the OU Refutes Claims of Montefiore Hospital’s Mashgiach

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luban-frankAs reported here on Matzav.com last month, a mashgiach who was fired from his post at the Montefiore Medical Center kitchen said that he paid the price for exposing what he claims were kashrus violations at the Bronx hospital. However, now, according to a report by Adam Dichter in The Jewish Week, the OU’s executive rabbinic coordinator, Rabbi Yaakov Luban, says that any infractions were routine and that the mashgiach, Robert Frank, who was hired by the OU, tried to use the infractions as bargaining chips to deal with disciplinary measures taken against him by the hospital.

Both Frank, 55, and his boss, Barry Kwiatkovsky, assistant director of food services at the hospital’s Weiler Building, came to Montefiore via the OU, but were later hired by the hospital, Kwiatkovsky in 1992 and Frank in 2004. Frank says he was constantly at odds with his superior at Weiler, which is kept kosher under an agreement with Yeshiva University because students in its Albert Einstein Medical School work there. The kitchen prepares food for a cafeteria as well as patient meals.

“The bottom line is I wasn’t able to substantiate anything [Frank] said,” said Rabbi Luban, according to The Jewish Week. “There are four other mashgichim, and they all disagreed with his presentation. They all felt things were under control.”

Frank provided video clips to The Jewish Week that he said showed non-kosher food items in Kwiatkovsky’s office. But Rabbi Luban, who is┬áthe rov of Congregation Ohr Torah in Edison, New Jersey, said it was not uncommon for food distributors to erroneously send non-kosher items to kitchens as substitutes for unavailable items, and it is the responsibility of a mashgich to intercept them.

Click here to read the full report in The Jewish Week.

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}

9 COMMENTS

  1. Rabbi Luban had to go to Eretz Yisroel after the publicity of the OU’s standards in Eretz Yisroel.

    The Weiler hospital issues were on Yudelstake about 9 months ago.

  2. What do you think that means? I just realized people have know idea what the point of a mashgiach is. In a large kitchen, with major vendors that sell non-kosher products as well, the role of a mashgiach is more of a preventative agent, than a “just-turning-fires-on” type of mashgiach. his responsibilty is to seek out any thing that might have slipped thru the cracks and take care of any problem that might come up not common to a standard smaller kitchen. bec when you run a kosher kitchen that feeds thousands things WILL happen.

  3. WELL, ALL HE HAD TO DO WAS SAY HE ISNT THE MASHGIACH ON THE ROACHES AND IT WOULDA ALL BEEN RESOLVED
    BY THE WAY
    WHAT IS WORSE THEN FINDING A ROACH IN YOUR FOOD?
    FINDING HALF OF ONE LOL

  4. There is a lot more to this story. He claims they are using the same dishwasher for both meat and milk. Also that he found EMPTY boxes of Tyson chicken in the kosher kitchen. I think YU had best find another place for their medical students to eat at.

  5. american rabbi, we do not use a dishwasher for milk and meat even succesively without some intermediate actions, if at all. however, read RMF ztl and others tshuvot on the subject – nat bar nat beheteirah and nosain tam lefegam may both be factors. are you questioning rabbi luban? if you would like i will give you his email address so you can humbly ask mechillah.

  6. RMF’s tshuva allowing the same dishwasher for meat & dairy is absolutely irrelevant today, and was a real stretch even when he wrote it.
    For his heter to have a chance, here’s what needs to happen (according to RMF himself):
    1. Only a steel tub dishwasher.
    2. It needs to fill with very hot water at some point (today, none do).
    3. (Even then…) the racks need to be changed between milk & meat dishes.

    So if the OU is choosing to rely on ‘bedieved’ heterim on a regular basis (i.e. in a commercial kitchen), the public have a right to know, and make their own decisions.

  7. #8 shmuel – Nt one of the three things you mention is correct. it is a chutzpah of the highest order to represent your views as that of RMF ztl. READ the tshuvot in YD chelek 2. RMF was very mailkil with basar vecholov and exceedingly machmir wrt pesach and tarfus when it came to dishwashers. Minghag olam is to be more machmir on basar vecholov and more maikil on tarfus. But to misstate, as you did, the position of a Gadol is a SIN. if you were told this, then tell whoever told you to READ the tshuvot inside! RMF cannot be clearer!

    and i never said the OU approves anything; i implied if it happened, there is RMF to rely on. Clearly bedeavid, his heterim are solid.

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