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Minnesota - Kosher Butcher Fired, Lawsuit Dismissed

Published on: November 22, 2006 11:11 AM
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Minnesota - A kosher butcher was fired after more than 10 years of successful employment when a new rabbi found his qualifications religiously suspect. The court had to decide whether to treat the case as religious or secular.

AER Slaughtering services provides slaughtering services for companies that sell kosher meat products. Leo Maruani went to work for AER as a shochet in 1993.   In 2003, Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag became the certifying authority and he reviewed Maruani’s qualifications and decided that he was not “God-fearing in the public’s eye.” He offered several reasons: Maruani drove to synagogue services instead of walking as required; he did not wear a full beard and dark suit; and his wife, a convert to Judaism, did not cover her hair or use the Jewish ritual bath. AER terminated Maruani.

Maruani sued AER in Minnesota state court and AER removed the case to federal district court. In his complaint Maruani claimed that AER discriminated against him on the basis of religion in violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.  AER claimed that the court had no jurisdiction over Maruani’s claims. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”   The court decision was that AER was clearly a secular employer, operating as a for-profit business and not owned by any church; it was thus not entitled to First Amendment religious protection. Maruani’s job, on the other hand, clearly was religious in nature as it involved slaughtering animals according to Jewish ritual. Inquiring into Maruani’s religious discrimination claim would involve the court’s consideration of the rabbi’s rules and Maruani’s own religious conformity; accordingly, the court dismissed that claim.  

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Read Comments (29)  —  Post Yours »


 Nov 25, 2006 at 11:52 PM kashrus pro Says:

nice to see that grube am haratzim are out in force. when it comes to kashrus you dont know your (WORD REMOVED) from your elbows.


 Nov 23, 2006 at 02:42 PM O.Gevald Says:

To MS 6:36 post;
After contemplating your point of view, I came to the following conclusion.
Because he didn't wear a dark suit and have a beard, he was under scrutiny and sure enough they found out that he is not Shomer Shabbos and not Nizhar in Taharas Mishpacha etc.
Watch out all you fakers out there. Grow a beard quickly and wear dark suit orr you'll get caught.
Now what did I say yesterday elsewhere about the famous yiddish saying: Besser de Yid uhn de shtreimel, vie de shtreimel uhn de Yid.
Think about it.


 Nov 23, 2006 at 02:17 PM Anonymous Says:

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
It did take this long to get down to the bottom since last week.
In order to properly research respnosibly a kashrus issue does take time.

There was a piece fat found on an Alle liver that should not have been there. It is being investigated as to the status of the fat if it is possible to be "chalev".

Experts including one from Eretz Yisroel that have seen it are of the opinion that it does not have the characteristics of "chelev" but of fat. Others aren't sure.

There were sytem changes made at Alle "check & balances" to balance out the remote posibilties should not be able happen.

The Rav Hamachshir & Alle are to be commended for taking immediate action, over-reaction would be more appropiate.

NOTE:The individual that found the problem with the liver did at one point in the past 2 weeks have in his posession a "non-minuker" liver from Alle. I was not able to ascertain where & what happened to that liver.Others seem to be questioning "which liver had the piece of fat".

Bottom line nothing else besides that one alleged liver problem was affected at Alle, and all of their products are still acceptable & recomended.

THERE WILL BE A CORRECTED LETTER LETTER FROM THE alle RAV HMACHSHIR RE: that the Nikur is also under his Hashgocha, the first letter is not clear on that point.
posted by Yehuda Shain at 10:33 PM


 Nov 23, 2006 at 05:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Best to stick to the Empire kosher chicken and turkey franks -- reliably kosher (certified by OU) AND better for you health-wise than the beef franks, whoever makes them.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 09:52 PM Anonymous Says:

Dont Worry Meal Mart Will Manage To Cover Up This Whole Issue, Gevald . . .


 Nov 22, 2006 at 09:26 PM Anonymous Says:

I find it very odd that they know that the shochets wife doesn't use the mikvah. Who would know whether she needs to or if she does besides her husband?


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:59 PM Anonymous Says:

Did the Rabbi bless the chopped liver or not?


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:43 PM O.Gevald Says:

All blame for improper kashrus should be the Rav Hamchshir, if they were doing something all along and the Rabbi OK'd it.
IF the Meal Mart story turnes out to be true as stated, then that Hashgocha needs to lose its authority. If Meal Mart did something different than usual, then why didn't the Mashgichim catch it right away? Again, in such a case, we should not trust that Hashgocha. If the Hashgocha did catch the problem as soon as possible, then we need to ask, why did Meal Mart all of the sudden change recipes? Perhaps they no longer get their fleish from a certain supplier that's not in business anymore??? Ich tzitter!!!


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:23 PM Anonymous Says:

For The Question About Rubashkin, Just To Let You All Know That There Is No More Mehider'dige Shchiteh Then It And Specially Supreme Which Is Under Rabbi Weissmandl , As Many Rabbunim Who Visited The Plant Recently Expressed There Satisfaction, The Nikur By Them Is The Same As Eideh Hachareidis, (unlike Meal Mart Which Is Known To Be The Very Meikil In Nikur, U'pik Chazi Mei Ulsu Luhem That They Now Discovered By Them Cheilev D'oreiseh As Rabbi Belsky Called It),


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:13 PM Anonymous Says:

kashuer rav complained about this 20 years ago about this problem and it seems they dont care


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:09 PM consumer Says:

the infotrmation out there is that rabbi belsky confirmed it was cheilev ,it seems that meal mart has a weak kashruth standard not suit for bnei torah


 Nov 22, 2006 at 08:04 PM kosher Says:

now there is pictures out there in boro park of meal mart liver with cheilev non kosher fat . this is unacceptable


 Nov 22, 2006 at 07:42 PM Anonymous Says:

WOW. The guy did not have a beard? Shoot him!!

This is the exact problem. We judge people by how long their darn beard is. The monsey guy had a beard and we trsuted him for his beard and look what happened.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 07:21 PM Anonymous Says:

BTW - What is the story with Alle meat?
I heard the Nirbator had to send out a letter confimring its Kashrus.

Any updates?


 Nov 22, 2006 at 07:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Well, in parts of Brooklyn, the clothes you wear make the man.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 06:36 PM MS Says:

The guy's a michallel Shabos who lives with a woman who does not go to mikva -- and they have an additional tayna that he doesn't wear dark clothing and have a beard?

What the heck is that all about?

We must be missing something here.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 06:03 PM Milhouse Says:

Camp Runamok: That second cutting and trachea removal on sensate animals was definitely problematic.

No, it was not problematic. The people who raised the so-called "shayla" were complete amhoratzim. There was not even the slightest question on the kashrut of those animals, and the only reason they stopped the practise was because of the PETA blackmail.

I regret that they stopped it, I'd have liked to see them stand up to PETA and the haters, but I recognise that Rubashkin is a business, and if it's cheaper to give in than to fight, then that's what you have to do. But unfortunately that concession has left the impression among some people, such as you, that the kashrus was at one point less than 100%, and that PETA did some good. There is no truth to that, they did no good at all, they just cost the Rubashkins money, which is not only a shod af yiddishe gelt but also must necessarily affect the tzedakah that this family gives in such abundance.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 05:11 PM Anonymous Says:

Let's call a spade a spade, though Ralbag instituted some reforms for the betterment of the kashrus quality, I, as a schochet can testify to the fact that the meat coming out of these slaughterhouses is neveilos and tarfos with all the hidurim. Ask any schochet, 80% of the meat in these slaughterhouses is certified kosher without bedikes chutz. It is impossible by any standards without miuch imishush of the rayah to have that high a percentage. As far as a shochet not being a shomer shabbos, I was once told by a chabad Rabbi in the West that there was a Schochet who volunteered to be yored lifnei hateivah on the yomim noraim but the Rabbi had to decline his offer because he lived or was married to a gentile woman. Chas milehazkir that this fleish is kosher, glatt man dechar shmei. V'yitamu chatoim v'lo chotim


 Nov 22, 2006 at 04:39 PM Anonymous Says:

BTW - 'Halak" is the same as 'Glatt', just a different langugue, so if you are Makpid for Halak, you are Makpid for Glatt.

to Anon 1:44, why is Glatt such a big problem?

It is only a Chumrah according to Ashkinazim, even to Chasidim, it is only Halacha to Sephardim.

The reason we all don't eat Glatt is because the major, relaible Hashgochos don't give a Hosgocha to it. Why? Can't answer that, there is no real reason. And once they stopped doing so; smaller, less relaible people began to certify non-glatt meat, that is when it became a problem to eat it. Not because it is non-glatt, but because the certifer wasn't really doing their job, such as this nice fellow who was a Shochet, yet not Shomer Shabbos.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 03:34 PM Anonymous Says:

a big caterer tolled me ali has the beat stuf by far not talking abou kashrus


 Nov 22, 2006 at 03:31 PM Anonymous Says:

ali (nerenbater) or satmer dos not have any problem hey just started packing 'meat' in there own packings


 Nov 22, 2006 at 02:44 PM Camp Runamok Says:

"I don't see any innuendo here as you allege."

OK, I apologize for not making myself clearer. I was not referring specifically to this forum. However, whenever I have asked about HN's status I have not been able to get a straight, factual answer. It is always a "better not to" or somesuch with a telltale wink-wink. I do not feel that I can make an informed decision on that basis; positive or negative.

"not glatt" is a big, big problem."

Fair enough. I am makpid on "Halak", myself. Nevertheless, if that is the only problem I am sure that the ConAgra folks would seek entry into the Glatt market if they possibly could. For $9/lb instead of $6 who wouldn't?

"thats why i only eat rubashkin
there has never been a major problem and they have great stuff"

What about the PETA revelations of a couple years back? That second cutting and trachea removal on sensate animals was definitely problematic. Granted the major Rabbinic organizations debated the matter and decided favorably. Still, a number of sha'alos could be raised for the particular animals shown.

FWIW, I regularly use Rubashkin/Agriprocessors too and have no doubts of their reliability. But to say they have never had problems is simply false; any human enterprise is going to have them. "HaTzur Tamim Pa'olo" excludes us.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 01:50 PM Anonymous Says:

thats why i only eat rubashkin
there has never been a major problem and they have great stuff


 Nov 22, 2006 at 01:44 PM Anonymous Says:

1:18 I don't see any innuendo here as you allege.

"not glatt" is a big, big problem.

we're talking about kashrus here.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 01:24 PM Anonymous Says:

1:18 not offering Glatt is enough


 Nov 22, 2006 at 01:18 PM Camp Runamok Says:

Why are they still not "good enough"? Is it only because they do not offer a "glatt" standard or are there other issues still as well? I have not heard a non-innuendo laced answer yet to this question.

Mazel Tov R. Ralbag on being vindicated and Yashar Kochacha for upholding basic standards for Shochetim.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 12:51 PM Anonymous Says:

He was probably a shochet for Hebrew National which Rabbi Ralbag in now supervising. I understand that while it's not good enough for us, Ralbag corrected a lot of problems at their plants. This man appears to have been one of the problems.


 Nov 22, 2006 at 12:28 PM Anonymous Says:

My only question....

Who was supervising before Ralbag?

How did someone that is not SHomer Shabbos become a Shochet in the first place?


 Nov 22, 2006 at 12:10 PM Burnw Says:

what yeshiva did this marrari go to? what is his background?

Ralbag may have been very proper in his actions.


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