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Newton, MA - Butcher Suspends Kosher Supervision

Published on: September 16, 2008 11:51 AM
By: Boston Globe
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Gordon and Alperin Kosher Resturant in NewtonNewton, MA - Ricardo Bosich, the owner of the Center Market and Grill, a Newton kosher butchery formerly known as Gordon & Alperin, decided to suspend his kosher supervision.

“I can’t afford the kosher supervision,” said Bosich, who is actively looking for a new supervisor that is less expensive. “It’s a hard time for everyone right now since the economy is so bad.”

A message from his former supervisor, Rabbi Aaron Hamaoui of the Sephardic Community of Greater Boston, explains that this “was not due to a violation, but a business decision made by the proprietor.”

In 2007, Bosich expanded his Commonwealth Avenue business, opening a grocery store, a catering operation, and a restaurant called the Avenue Deli.
However, a decline in business after losing his supervision has forced Bosich to sell the bakery and he is considering selling the deli too, he said.

Despite losing his supervision, Bosich said nothing has changed in how his food is cooked or prepared.
“The customers that know me for so many years, they are still shopping with me because I still do kosher,” he said.

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Bosich said if he is unable to find a supervisor by Rosh Hashanah, he may be forced to stop selling kosher.
“I do business just shaking hands,” he said. “I hope to keep my business kosher but business is business and I have to support my family.”



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Read Comments (56)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Sep 16, 2008 at 11:58 AM DerNister Says:

Where are the rabbonim on this? Is the rabbininc esablishment about to allow the community to lose a source of kosher meat? Can the cost of supervision be lowered?

2

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:21 PM so40 Says:

Interesting hashgochis is a BUSINESS like any other, we used to be fooled into thinking that rabonim just want to be MEZAKE HORABEM, but its long not the case - if you pay the fees you get supervision if you are tight in money you got to close up shop.

Why cant there be a hashgocha on a voluntary basis like Hatzolah etc., were those companies that really cannot afford a hashgucha should get one no charge, I mean sounds like coming into a store with a briefcase and a rubber stamp, is supposed to be sponsered by this hard working guy running a shop paying employees, suppliers, and dealing with customers.

After all he is trying to support his family, but has a silent partner the hashgucha, that eats away his profit.

Can this Rabbi provide information how much he is charging for the hashgucha? is he fair? why wouldnt he continue for some time perhaps this store owners financial situation will be better etc., why just take of the hashgucha because he cannot afford it, especially when this butcher maybe the only kosher butcher in NEWTON, MA.

3

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:17 PM anon Says:

cant blame the guy.

4

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:14 PM Rechel mechel Says:

there is no reason why rabbonim should give a hashgocha & not earn a buck I'm a mashgiach myself working for big certifiers & struggling 2make ends chicken so if he doesn't womma pay let him shake hands

5

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:25 PM political analyst Says:

if they sell prepackaged kosher product, it would be perfectly ok for consumers to continue shopping there.

6

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:42 PM reality Says:

Parnosah comes from the one above in two weeks is rosh hashona so stop complaining everyone
ksiva vchsima tova

7

 Sep 16, 2008 at 12:35 PM anon Says:

so40 you havwe a good point. Hatsolah is volunteer and it is a big mitzva. And believe me most volunteers are not among the richest of the rich - they could be doing something else and making money. So why dont rabbis do some pro bono work. It seems like alot of people will revert to treife if this shop closes. What a shame. maybe the PU will do them a favor they will have alot of time on their hands when they abandon Rubashkin -

8

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:07 PM Pashuteh Yid Says:

Am confused why he doesn't make a simple business cheshbon that he will make more money with supervsion than without. Something is missing here, as he says he has lost much business as a result.

Just like businesses must spend a lot on advertising, (even well-known brands), it is smart to spend money on hasgacha to attract more customers. Something is not clear in this story.

9

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:14 PM Lock & Load Says:

These days the Rabbonim are like the Mafia...
Its a Shake Down....
Many years ago Deli 52 on 13th Ave. was Guttmans..
Mr. Guttman didnt have a Hechsher and we all trusted him and ate all his Delicious Food...
Lock & Load

10

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:00 PM rechel mechel Says:

to so40 just for your info that some hashgochos are dirt cheap but the ones having them dont do a lot of kosher buisness why do u expect from people to do work 4u for free? btw the price for having a good hechsher isnt so high at all

11

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:18 PM formely frum Says:

Not sure how this could be implemented.

But the mere fact that one pays the hashgocha organization to get a hashgocha creates a conflict or interest. Since the hashgocha organization knows if they pull the hashgocha organization they lose a paying clint.

maybe one should set up a fund, or the community can collect a kosher tax that goes into a general fund. (do not complain about the cost to consumers, either way you pay, since any business includes the hashgocha organization coat as an expense) when one applies for a hashgocha it can be done and the fund can arrange for supervision and pay the mashgiach. Les chance of corruption,
and it will avoid situation like this

12

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:24 PM rechel mechel Says:

lock & load you r totally wrong this has nothing with rabbonim business owners want it open a store & tell me how many ppl will trust YOU when i was a kid stores didnt have so many gates and cameras either

13

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:36 PM Lock & Load Says:

rechel mechel;

If you dont Trust the Owner.. then the Hechsher is not worth a thing

14

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:47 PM anon Says:

Lock and Load you have an extremely good point - just look at Monsey - he had a hechsher - waht was it worth. Same thing happened in Vienna.

15

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:50 PM Anonymous Says:

I want to know how much money it costs to certify an establishment. How much are we talking? It's about time we had full disclosure

16

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:49 PM onemanband613 Says:

To Lock & Load:
I trust the owner when I see a reliable hashgacha.
Some owners may just be naive.
When I walk into a "heimishe supermarket" without a hechesher, and I find things like baked goods that are not packaged I always ask where they are from.

17

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Rechel Mechel, you say you're a mashgiach, and you also say that "If you don’t Trust the Owner.. then the Hechsher is not worth a thing". If that's true who needs a hechsher, if you trust the owner isn't he as good as the mashgiach that was hired by a Rov?

18

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:57 PM CR Says:

FWIW, I have a bit of passing familiarity with this store. It is no secret that the local Va'adim want a few thousand dollars per week to provide a fulltime M"T (who gets $15-20 an hour). Meanwhile, his top line is getting squeezed pretty sharply because local big-box supermarkets are carrying prepackaged Aarons/MealMart/Empire at pretty steep discounts (they buy directly from the Mashchatos and distribute through their own channels). Evidently, the numbers just don't crunch for him with a major Hashgachah. Anyways, Newton is mostly heterodox; the biggest Conservative temple in New England is right around the corner and even the local Orthodox shuls see quite a few cars parked in front on Shabbos. So I am sure his business won't suffer too badly as a result of this; his bottom line may even improve despite the loss of a few customers.

19

 Sep 16, 2008 at 01:56 PM Anonymous Says:

It depends on what is needed. If the Owner is a frum Yid, then a mashgiach who comes in now and then unexpected is enough, but if the owner isn't frum, regular checks are necessary and sometimes a mahgiach tmidi is needed. Tmidi means a full time job.

20

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:11 PM J. Stein Says:

You guys are pathetic. why should the Rabbonim work for free? Do you work for free? They have children and family to support. does a dentist work for free, a lawyer, police force. Stop the rabboning bashing. There are plenty of rabbonim who charge very reasonable prices. Who's going to pay for their travel expenses, car expenses, gas, car maintanence. GET REAL

21

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:11 PM Anonymous Says:

I hope when his bottom line improves, he will take on a hashgacha again, so that his bottom line shoul improve even more.

22

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:21 PM Yehuda Says:

I don't know, this whole situation just bothers me and I don't exactely know why. Does anyone know why this situation should or should not bother someone?

To be honest, I think it all comes down to faith. If the owner knows that keeping kosher not only at home but with his business is the right thing to do, then he will find a way to stay open and the community will support him.

If not, then he shuts the doors or goes trief.

But kosher is not just a business. It is a fundamental principle in Judaism and it tells a lot about the people who follow it. They are people of faith and belief in the world to come, because there are no apparent benefits in this world other than what my doctor told me about when he was an intern he treated a young boy who had triginosis (what you get from eating raw pork) and he said it was so horrible that he would never in his life touch a piece of pork.

23

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:29 PM Anonymous Says:

J. Stein you're right. It's about time to stop Rabbonim bashing. If you have a legitimate issue with them, talk to them, then and only then you can bring it up here.

24

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:46 PM Anonymous Says:

"Eaid Achud Naamon Bi'Issurim". As long as the you trust the Jew, the food is halachichly kosher, with our without a hashgacha. Mendelson's in Boro Park used to operate without a hashgacacha and everyone ate there. Hatzlocha in Monsey had a Moshigach on premises, and still sold Treif food!!!!

25

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:53 PM Anonymous Says:

No, Rabonim need not work free BUT
Hashgocho should be priced based on reasonable cost of providing the service including time, labor, travel and years of expertise. It should not be priced by what the hasgocho feels the service is worth to the store. I and others see the Hashgocho owners coming once a week to collect their fees and the fees are way out of line compared to time put in.

26

 Sep 16, 2008 at 02:59 PM Anonymous Says:

In New York, where there will always be plenty of options, fine -- let hashgochos run like businesses. But in smaller communities, kashrus agencies should really figure out how to operate as public services. I can think of a number of smaller cities where kosher restaurants simply cannot stay in business because of the absurdly high cost of having a hashgocha.

27

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:17 PM Frumyid Says:

J. Stein Says:
You guys are pathetic. why should the Rabbonim work for free? Do you work for free? They have children and family to support. does a dentist work for free, a lawyer, police force. Stop the rabboning bashing. There are plenty of rabbonim who charge very reasonable prices. Who's going to pay for their travel expenses, car expenses, gas, car maintanence. GET REALderated.

Dear Mr. Stein. Plenty of doctors and lawyers work for free. Ever ask a friend who happens to be a lawyer, doctor, mortgage banker for advice?? ever get a bill??? I am a professional and have spent countless hours helping out for free - that includes individuals and oerganizations - my kids school, etc. No one helps me pay my bills. Why shoud rabbis be exempt from pro bono work.

28

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:12 PM geshtigen Says:

This guy will drop the Kosher market if he won't get the hechsher....and you guys want to trust him without one. He doesn't require a Mashgiach with a walkie talkie who can remain on call when he, the proprieter, wants him. The owner needs a Mashgiach who will be on call when he doesn't want him

29

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:10 PM English teacher Says:

Everyone is getting all worked up about whether the rabbi should charge or do it for nothing, they are ignoring the obvious part. The article says he has lost business by dropping his supervision. Hashgocho builds business for a company. Of course he could try to find a mashgiach who also works at the counter or so on to save some expense, but he is hurting himself by destroying his existing kosher business in the hope of making money in the more competitive, lower margin world of non-kosher.

30

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:19 PM Zachary Kessin Says:

For those not familiar with the Boston area it is not like NY. In Brookline you can find a few kosher places and a few more in Newton. But its not huge.

The problem is that this guy is trying to compete with the Stop and Shop selling Empire etc, If he is being charged a few thousand dollars a month for kosher certification it could well mean the difference between keeping his door open and not.

To be fair when I lived in Boston I mostly just used Empire stuff myself (I'm in Israel now)

31

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:45 PM Anonymous Says:

You are all missing an important point.
Kashrus is a business, and from the side of a proprietor he needs to feel that he has a sword hanging over his head not to compromise the standard set by the Rabbonim. Money is a very sharp sword, if he is afraid that if he violates the standard he will get fined or charged double, he will not be so tempted to cut corners and lower the kashrut standard. Hashgocha is not only for owners who are not so frum or not frum at all. Hashgocha is required even of a proprietor who has a beard and peyos, who is a talmid chochom who is stringent in his own home in mehadrin min hamehadrin. He too needs hashgocha.
Mashgichim who are honest spend the required time doing their job, time is money, he deserves to be paid for his work, the administrators have book keeping to do and also have expenses to cover.
Last but not least you get what you pay for, a free hashgocha will be just that -worthless
Does he threaten to stop using electric when the price of electric goes up? If a shochet charges more for his chickens than Purdue or Tyson will he buy from them instead?

32

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:47 PM Anonymous Says:

CR Says:
FWIW, I have a bit of passing familiarity with this store. It is no secret that the local Va'adim want a few thousand dollars per week to provide a fulltime M"T (who gets $15-20 an hour).

There is only one way to describe the claim that ANY hashgochah charges "a few thousand dollars per week to provide a fulltime M"T (who gets $15-20 an hour)".

However, I doubt the blog-owner would allow the term that comes to mind.

You obviously know ZERO about kashrus or the kosher food industry so do yourself a favor and don't make a fool of yourself posting stupid ideas.

The rabbonim might be right about the internet after all but for the wrong reason. Forget about the shmutz out there. The stupidity and misinformation is enough to keep you kids away from the computer.

33

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:44 PM Anonymous Says:

By the way, will the frum community patronize him if he pays the extra cost of the hechsher or will they still run to the big box discounter for their everyday items so they can save a few cents?

34

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:42 PM Anonymous Says:

When a small store's profits are less than the cost of the hechsher how can he stay in business?

35

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:24 PM Anonymous Says:

To CR
Anyways, Newton is mostly heterodox; the biggest Conservative temple in New England is right around the corner and even the local Orthodox shuls see quite a few cars parked in front on Shabbos.

Have you ever lived in the community. What does this have to do with kosher meat and what are you tring to imply about the Orthodox shuls in Newton?

I was actually raised in Boston and right now there is no kosher butcher it is a huge problem and one which the rabbonim in the community need to solve!

36

 Sep 16, 2008 at 03:53 PM Anonymous Says:

The rabbonim might be right about the internet after all but for the wrong reason. Forget about the shmutz out there. The stupidity and misinformation is enough to keep you kids away from the computer.
09-16-2008 - 3:47 PM

Well, put your money where your mouth is. How much do they charge? Inteligent people can judge what is fair and what is reminescent of mafia partners

37

 Sep 16, 2008 at 04:00 PM Lock & Load Says:

onemanband613 Says:
To Lock & Load:
I trust the owner when I see a reliable hashgacha.
----------------------------
If I dont trust the Owner, He can have the Best Hechsher and Mashgiach in Town
I Wont Eat There.......
Lock & Load

38

 Sep 16, 2008 at 04:07 PM Anonymous Says:

Some one said a few thousand a month, another said a few thousand a week; which is it? A few thousand can mean two thousand, it can also mean five thousand; which is it?

39

 Sep 16, 2008 at 05:20 PM $ for hechsher Says:

Also, if Rabbi H was out for the money, then he wouldn't say so clearly that he left because of money and not kashrus. He was in a good position to hold up the guy, and he didn't

40

 Sep 16, 2008 at 05:18 PM $ for hechsher Says:

Firstly, I know Rabbi H, and he is a complete tzaadik. Secondly, Newton is close enough to Boston that I don't think anybody there would be deprived of availibility of kosher food. After all, the rabbi went from Boston to there to supervise it.

41

 Sep 16, 2008 at 06:20 PM Anonymous Says:

If people trust the owner and they know his source of meat and chicken then why does he need a hasgacha? This way he can pass the savings on to the consumer.

Back in the days before people were Frum, just plain old Observant, everyone shopped at butchers that they trusted. The store never had a hashgacha. But when people became Frum trust went out the window. Now everything needs multiple hashgachos.

Enough is enough with the craziness.

42

 Sep 16, 2008 at 06:19 PM The REAL facts Says:

Thanx to Rubashkin. A groysin yasher koach.

43

 Sep 16, 2008 at 06:47 PM Anonymous Says:

The REAL facts 6:19,

Thanx to Rubashkin. A groysin yasher koach.
------

I knew someone would make a stupid comment blaming it on Rubashkin. Thank you for not dis appointing me.

Exactly how is Rubashkin responsible, being that you're probably one of the people that have posted "Rubashkin is getting rich gouging the consumer, Rubashkin is stealing from his employees and does not let them unionize.

So if he's already gouging the consumer what do you expect him to do if he has to pay higher union wages? lower his prices? and if he's gouging the consumer how is he undercutting the butcher? And being that agri is never mentioned in the article but Empire is, where is your equal condemnation for Empire? Oh Empire isn't owned by Rubashkin or Lubavitch so it's OK. Now I understand, it makes complete sense.

44

 Sep 16, 2008 at 07:57 PM reality Says:

everyone that said that mashgichem shouldnt WORK for free should think again
i work in the food industry these mashgichim come in take a walk around then there cell phone rings they sit down and talk for an hour (probaly a chavrisa?ha) then they come around tasting evrything
and you call this WORK

45

 Sep 16, 2008 at 08:13 PM Rechel mechel Says:

a hashgocha is given to a person u trust

46

 Sep 16, 2008 at 08:45 PM PollyPocket Says:

Why doesn't he do what others do and increase his prices? All the store near me seem to be doing this.

47

 Sep 16, 2008 at 08:54 PM CR Says:

Oh, dear. It looks like I touched a few raw nerves.

"Have you ever lived in the community. What does this have to do with kosher meat and what are you tring to imply about the Orthodox shuls in Newton?"

Yes, I lived in Newton for the first 25 years of my life. My parents still live there and even purchase at the store in question. To be fair, there are a few minyanim worth of Shomrei Shabbos in Newton. However, most Jews there are not. Even most of the "orthodox" are not. I've seen it more than enough with my own eyes to know this is fact. Deal with it!

What that means for kosher is that, for someone who drives on Shabbos but only to shul, why would it be a stretch for him to buy from a "Basar Kosher" shop whose kashrus is assured only by the owner's say-so? Kosher-style, to be sure. In Massachusetts there are no state Kosher laws so there is nothing to stop him.

"There is only one way to describe the claim that ANY hashgochah charges "a few thousand dollars per week to provide a fulltime M"T (who gets $15-20 an hour)"...You obviously know ZERO about kashrus or the kosher food industry"

Sorry, it is you that clearly knows "ZERO about kashrus or the kosher food industry" by your own standard. I personally know one of the mashgichim that used to work there and this is what he reported to me himself. And these numbers have been corroborated to me by a few restaurant owners in the community who went with the KVH or one of the other "mehadrin" supervisions in town. I know of at least one that finally decided to drop the KVH and went with the Rabbi of the local Chabad Center in his town. He saved a bundle and the kashrus definitely has not suffered.

BTW, I was able to get a decent supply of Y"T fleisch from Boston area stores and of fair variety (brisket, turkey, kabobs). Pretty good for a metro area that doesn't have a "real" butcher shop. I think we're doing fine and there really isn't much the Rabbonim need to do to improve things.

48

 Sep 16, 2008 at 09:20 PM Anonymous Says:

CR, unless things have radically changed since I lived in Boston six years ago, the KVH isn't considered mehadrin. Consider that large kosher establishment on Harvard Street that's under the KVH -- last I knew the rabbi of the large modern orthodox shul recommended that his congregants avoid store-packaged meats.

49

 Sep 16, 2008 at 10:32 PM Meatloaf Says:

I'm sure its all just a plot by jealeous competitors or the unions trying to put this guy out of business.

50

 Sep 17, 2008 at 12:37 AM Lock & Load Says:

The same Garbage happened in Miami.. at the Days Inn Hotel that Restaurant had to close cause of Pressure by the Rabbonim....
Some Jealous guy lied about what he seen at the Restaurant...
I think he will Reopen this Winter....
Hope he will do well.......

51

 Sep 17, 2008 at 07:48 AM CR Says:

"the KVH isn't considered mehadrin"

That depends on whom you rely. I have heard Rabbonim refer to KVH as up-and-up and others say "better not to".

"the rabbi of the large modern orthodox shul recommended that his congregants avoid store-packaged meats."

I figured that advice was pretty much a given after the Great Monsey Chicken Fraud. Whodathunkit that Shaw's or Stop & Shop are the more trustworthy vendors of kosher?

52

 Sep 17, 2008 at 08:47 AM charne Says:

will he shut hid lights if he cant make a deal with his utility company on the rising prices ??? hashgacha is just as a utility as electric or gas

53

 Sep 17, 2008 at 09:29 AM Anonymous Says:

The real problem in Boston is that the store which you say the MO rabbi told people not to buy from is the ONLY kosher butcher in the ENTIRE CITY besides the one that just lost its hashgacha.

IMHO, the situation with the "better not buy" from that store is absurd and has only caused major shalom bayis problems all over Boston.

But, like I said, the real problem here is that there isn't any reliable source of glatt meat, besides prepackaged stuff shipped in from who knows where.

54

 Sep 17, 2008 at 12:46 PM Avraham Abba Says:

Look at the picture...let's see if he takes the basar kosher sign down.

55

 Sep 18, 2008 at 06:27 PM Anonymous Says:

To all of you there are some signifigant facts that you are missing. This establishment was sold about two years ago to the current owner, who I believe is not jewish. He then went onto expanding what was just a butcher shop to a deli and bakery. With this information things can be understood a little better. Since he is not jewish there are obvious kashrus issues associated without having a proper or any hashgacha. On top of that he is probably another victim of our credit crisis and he is not able to cover his mortgage. He is obviously trying to cut his costs. Why he chose to cut his hashgacha first is a mystery to me but as he said it was a business decision

56

 Sep 18, 2008 at 06:40 PM Anonymous Says:

Just to amend my previous comment I do not know for certain that the owner is not jewish. Only that I believe he is not.

57

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