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February 08, 2007

The Lies Of Kosher Today Exposed

I wrote two weeks ago that the claim made by Kosher Today that OSHA had inspected Rubashkin's Postville, Iowa plant and given the plant a clean bill of health, was most likely false. I pointed out that the man who made that claim, Rabbi Asher Zeilingold, was unreliable, and that he has a close business relationship with Rubashkin. I called OSHA and Iowa state officials and reported that no official visit was made by Federal or State Plan OSHA, and that the only possible "inspection" that could have taken place would been a consult done through the state's consultancy program, which is not an inspection and has no bearing on what plant practices were before it or after it, but even this seemed unlikely.

The Forward has picked up this story (although it did not bother to give this blog a hat tip), and it did the one thing that I could not do – ask Rabbi Asher Zeilingold what the truth is. Here is what Rabbi Zeilingold told the Forward this week:

…Zeilingold, who is paid to provide kosher certification for the meat at AgriProcessors, was an early defender of the company when the original allegations appeared in the Forward. In Kosher Today, Zeilingold said that the Conservative task force was “delighted to accept all the lies and slander of the Forward article as absolute truth because it gave them a pretext by which they could gain entry into AgriProcessors and other plants positing as the champions of ‘kashrut’ and the rights of workers.”

Zeilingold’s Conservative counterpart, Rabbi Morris Allen, was not contacted for the Kosher Today article, but Allen’s synagogue did write a letter to the publication, defending their religious leader.

“That Rabbi Allen’s efforts — which are of no financial benefit to him — are attacked by fellow Jews who also believe in the sanctity of kosher laws is unfair and misguided,” the letter said.

In addition to the criticism of Allen, Zeilingold told Kosher Today that an official for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had visited AgriProcessors and gave him a report praising the company’s labor practices.

Reached this week, Zeilingold said he could not release the OSHA report; however, he did say that the OSHA official was not working in an official capacity when he made his visit, but rather as a “private consultant.”

My understanding is OSHA would like to find this "OSHA official" and discipline him. OSHA regional head Charles "Chuck" Adkins told me he wanted to find the man because no one has the right to represent OSHA unless he is on official business. "I want to put the hammer down on him," Adkins said.

Rabbi Asher Zeilingold's veracity can further be determined by reading the data posted here.

[I should also note that Rabbi Zeilingold is the rabbi who excommunicated me.]

UPDATE: 2-8-07– I have now confirmed the "OSHA inspection" was done by an employee of Federal OSHA on his own time. It was not a full inspection, was not sanctioned or approved by OSHA, and was arranged by Rabbi Zeilingold's friend Carlos Carbonera (this "inspector" is a friend of Carbonera's). OSHA's regional head Chuck Adkins told me again today that he will "bring the hammer down" on anyone, this inspector included, who uses OSHA's name without permission. He also pointed out that what this inspector did was a violation of OSHA's "internal rules and regulations."

Comments

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Is R. Zeilingold blind, in that he has to rely totally on others for reading stuff?

He is visually impaired and legally blind, but he can read with magnification.

The Forward article neglected to mention on eother important item. Kosher Today is written by Menchem Lubinsky (who they do quote), but he is/was a paid PR consultant for Agri in this specific matter. How can he be writting 'news accounts' in an unbiased fashion?

In fact, the Forward mentions that ML didn't even contact Morris Alan for comment before running a story about him. Great journalistic ethics....

"Rabbi Asher Zeilingold's veracity can further be determined by reading the data posted here."

Just what exactly are we supposed to be looking at there? I just see a lot of documents without any context. What story are they supposed to tell?

A non-existent second congregation set up as a straw non-profit. Non-payment of taxes. Two houses claimed as residences. Second and larger home owned by a non-existent non-profit. Zeilingold's kosher business owned completely by the synagogue but the synagogue had (has?) no oversight of same. Where does the money go? And more.

What a shame that the Orthodox Kashrut guys don't fess up to the failure of their obligation to show compassion for animals. Obviously, their frenzied discomfort with investigations into AgrProcessors is derived from their fear in losing their exculsive, powerful position of stamping animal flesh with a symbol that is increasingly losing its original meaning. Fortunately, increasing also, are millions of Jews who are concerned with the animal's lives long before slaughter, and consider it an obligation of Jews to see that animals produced for food, Kosher or not, are treated humanely.Cruel Factory Farms provide the bulk of livestock/poultry for kosher slaughterhouses - hardly without blemish. Where is the compassion here?

Whether the OSHA guy should have or shouldn't have, the report was good!!!!!

No, actually, the report was bad. According to OSHA, the guy told AgriProcessors to call in State Plan OSHA for a consult. He did not do a normal inspection himself. Rabbi Zeilingold and Kosher Today misrepresented both the nature of the visit and the results.

Is it illegal to misrepresent findings of a federal inspection?


The truth is that you have not read the report written by the OSHA inspector. You don't know who it is. Is he still working at OSHA? Did he recently retired? Is he truly Carbonera's friend? You don't know, but make bombastic statements.

A couple of weeks ago, your claim was that there was no OSHA inspector that went to AGRI! This week your claim is that there was but did not make a report. Your flip-flopping tells me one thing: you don't know! You hear quacks at night and start shooting randomly in the air.

One question. Does your friend "Chuck" approve having a bunch of health-safety-inspector "aficionados" running around companies contradicting Federal OSHA statements: "We have no concerns with Empire" I believe they stated in other words. Does Federal OSHA condones these Conservatives Rabbis walking around telling companies that they willl certify them for Safety and Health?

Let's not lose track of the real question: What qualifiess these Conservative Rabbis to do OSHA's work? What credentials do they have? Did they know about OSHA's inspections on Empire? Apparently, they did not know: otherwise, they would have not made such a bold statement! Ask your buddy "Chuck" if it is O.K. to say that there are no concerns with Empire.

1. I reported accurately. Carbonera told OSHA the guy is his "friend" and went in as a "favor" to Carbonera.

2. Does OSHA approve of what the C Rabbis are doing? OSHA has npo mandate to approve of disappove. That said, the C-RAbbis asked Rubashkin to get an OSHA consult. Rubashkin refused.

3. You write: "A couple of weeks ago, your claim was that there was no OSHA inspector that went to AGRI! This week your claim is that there was but did not make a report. Your flip-flopping tells me one thing: you don't know! You hear quacks at night and start shooting randomly in the air."

You don't read very well. No OFFICAL OSHA inspection was made. The man who wnet in did so WITHOUT PERMISSION of state and federal OSHA. He BROKE both federal and state regulations and will be disciplined if OSHA can find out who he is.

Worse yet, from what Carbonera told OSHA, the guy did not do a full OSHA inspection.

Process this.

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