By Rabbi Yechiel Spira
I would like to begin this post with an apology for not publicizing my message a number of months ago when I first felt compelled to do so. Since that time, I have spoken with people, consulted, and pondered, and finally reached the conclusion that no one is willing to speak so it’s time for JKN to do so, as I have done in the past when the situation demanded. Since that time, the situation has become significantly worse and realizing the result will be unpleasant, it is time to say what has to be said for I can no longer tolerate seeing religious people eating, many times being duped, unaware they are relying on a kosher supervision that is no longer reliable.
Not seeing any way to compel a change I feel duty bound to warn those of you who will listen, those who have come to trust my voice. For the others, nothing lost and nothing gained perhaps. I do not know why Hashem put me in this place, but I do not believe it is to remain silent.
As you know, I am not affiliated with any kashrus agency and do not make a living from JKN. I have stopped shuk tours and lectures in schools and elsewhere for reasons I do not care to share at present, and focus on investigating and education. I feel that you have a right to know that the kashrus situation in the holiest city in the world, Jerusalem, has reached an all time low, at least since my aliyah over 30 years ago.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY:
This kosher travel advisory applies to restaurants and eateries under the supervision of the Jerusalem Rabbinate, both regular and mehadrin ONLY.
1. This DOES NOT refer to any other hechsherim,
2. Does not refer to the Rabbinate hashgacha in other cities,
3. Does not refer to factory products,
4. Does not refer to hotels or whatever else you can think of.
5. Does not refer to tithing in the shuk, only the restaurants and those selling take home foods and ready to eat items in the shuk. NOT fruit and vegetable vendors.
It is quite specific so read carefully and do not extrapolate and draw your own conclusions.
From my hours and hours of visiting stores, monitoring stores, spying on stores, stakeouts, picking through garbage, observing mashgichim, walking the shuk and other areas in the center of Jerusalem and have reached the conclusion that one seeking reliable kashrus may no longer rely on the Jerusalem Rabbinate hashgacha in restaurants, regular and/or mehadrin unless you are personally familiar with the goings on in the restaurant you wish to visit.
That means in my opinion, if you lack firsthand knowledge attesting to the reliability of a mashgiach and a particular eatery/restaurant, you should not eat there. A rabbi in a suit or sporting whatever defines reliability to you is insufficient.
For rabbonim in Israel and even more rabbis abroad recommending Jerusalem Rabbinate regular or mehadrin without recent firsthand information, I urge you to stop doing so until you have made numerous unannounced visits to restaurants before you shoulder the responsibility for your congregants’ neshamas.
Read more from Rabbi Spira HERE.