Friday, January 28, 2011

Kosher Check

There's a Kashrus Alert: Sushiagogo out:

A company doing business via the internet in the Ramat Beit Shemesh area, under the name Sushiagogo (
aboutus.html) markets its product under the hechsher of Badatz Agudat Yisrael. The company apparently takes email and telephone orders and delivers, as well as selling the product fresh in RBS Aleph.

I spoke with two officials in the badatz earlier this morning at the behest of a number of folks in RBS. The badatz’s Rabbi Gefner, a mifakeach (supervisor), and the badatz’s rav hamachshir, HaRav Binyomin Adler Shlita, confirmed that the company in question does not have a hechsher from Agudah.

They urged me to inform the public that the badatz is in no way responsible for the kashrus integrity of anything sold by the company.

Based on the company’s website and emails, it does not claim any other hechsher so it is entirely possible that the products sold to individuals were without any kashrus hechsher whatsoever. Anyone with halachic concerns is advised to contact their rav/posek.

Sushiagogo: located at 19/4 Nachal Lachish, Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Of course, as well, "it is entirely possible that the products sold to individuals were with a very good kashrus hechsher".

So, please check either way you want to go with the sushi.


And two days later:

January 30, 2011

1. Update from Badatz Agudah Regarding Sushiagogo
After hours of phone calls before and after shabbos, Baruch Hashem, the issue regarding Sushiagogo (listed as a Ramat Beit Shemesh
business) has been clarified, thanks mostly due to cooperation of Rabbi Shimon Kroizer, a senior official and a Jerusalem mifakeach in Badatz Agudat Yisrael.

I must commend everyone dealing with the issue, since it was not until very close to shabbos that the actual picture became somewhat clear, and the persons representing Sushiagogo, Badatz Agudas Yisrael and Ramat Beit Shemesh all understood that the situation was due primarily to a lack of communication in the badatz organization, as well as a failure to update the Sushiagogo website, which still shows the business operating locally in RBS, which simply is not the case.

In short, JKN acted responsibly, confirming information with senior badatz officials, including the rav/posek who administratively runs
the organization, but the badatz’s internal sloppy procedural realities resulted in misinformation given to consumers and JKN. JKN fulfilled its mandate of informing the public, at the behest of an established kashrus certifying agency.

I would like to point out the following:
1. No names were mentioned, for this was unnecessary and the goal was to inform the public, not besmirch the name of the owner
2. The alert stated “there was no hechsher” and no accusations of non-kosher were intimated. This would have not been factual since there was no evidence of this
3. Only the minimum information required as per the badatz alert was relayed to the public. Suffice it to say that after hours of conversations and emails, much information is learned but halacha dictates boundaries of what needs to be shared with the general public.

For RBS customers’ familiar with Sushiagogo since its inception, you may or may not know that today, there is a new owner and there simply is no connection to the operation that existed in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

Secondly, an agreement was reached a number of weeks ago between Rabbi Kroizer and Sushiagogo, which has been operating out of the Jerusalem-
based Maxim Restaurant [which is under the Badatz Agudah hechsher]. The Agudah was uninformed of this arrangement, and thus took and had no acharayus (responsibility) on the food, as told to us on Friday.

According to Rabbi Kroizer, this deal began a number of weeks ago but as of today, it has ended.

Rabbis Adler and Kroizer stressed to me in conversations this morning to inform the public that as of motzei shabbos, Sushiagogo no longer
has a hechsher.

For reasons that are not going to be shared with readers since they are not relevant, Rabbi Kroizer simply did not get around to informing Rabbi Binyomin Adler, the head of the badatz, and therefore, when calls were made on erev shabbos to Rabbi Gefner, a badatz official, and Rabbi Binyomin Adler Shlita, the rav/posek of the badatz, JKN was told that there was no hechsher, urging us to warn the public that the use of the badatz logo by Sushiagogo was unauthorized.

Rabbi Kroizer expressed his sincere apology for the mess that resulted from his failure to update the head of the badatz, and perhaps is now
increasingly aware of the need to enhance the badatz’s administrative procedures.

All of which justifies my suggestion.


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