Last year, Robert Frank exposed kashrut problems in the OU kitchen of a hospital affiliated with Yeshiva University.
For that, he was fired from his job and banned by YU from praying in his synagogue, which is located in a YU building, (YU later relented and allowed him limited entry to the building to pray.)
His wife, who worked as a part time on-call mashgiach for the OU, was told by her OU supervisor that she would get no more work because of who she is married to. After I reported that, the OU told her she would, in fact, get work from them. But almost one year later, she says she has still not been offered any work by the OU – or, for that matter, any other kosher supervising agency.
Robert Frank says he was told by community rabbis that they could not help him find a job, and that Orthodox businesspeople and kosher supervising agencies would not hire him because no one would risk crossing the OU.
He'd like to be retrained, but few government training programs exist, and those that do have classes scheduled on Shabbat and late into Friday afternoon, and have no way, they say, to accommodate Sabbath observers.
Not surprisingly, the Jewish community has no job training programs at all – more proof the Federations' are not doing what is needed to help the most vulnerable among us.
Frank's unemployment is just over $400 per week, which means he makes about $100 per month more than the limit for food stamps and Medicaid.
At fifty-six years old, Frank is a difficult hire in the best of circumstances. Well trained, highly secular educated people that age are often chronically unemployed. This is also true for blue collar workers in their late fifties. Age discrimination is very difficult to prove.
Frank is also partially disabled due to a back injury. So, for him to be hired an employer would need to make reasonable accommodations both for Frank's disability and for his religious needs.
The OU's behavior should be scandalous. But in today's Orthodox world, scandalous behavior from community leaders is an everyday part of life. It is so common that it has become normal. In a world where rabbis who cover up for pedophiles and thieves are still venerated and honored, mistreating a poor mashgiach hardly merits mention.
And then we have the Jewish law against mesira, informing, a law so porous that it is used to forbid the Robert Frank's of this world from doing the right thing, while it simultaneously allows others, including haredi rabbis, to do its opposite.
Any haredi rabbi with standing can get an exception to the mesira law that will allow him to call the media or police, or to bypass beit dins, religious courts, and take cases directly to secular court.
But the Robert Franks of this world cannot get such exceptions, and they are punished if they "inform" – even if that "informing" spares you from eating non-kosher food.
Keep that in mind the next time you go grocery shopping.
Previous reports: Unkosher, Retaliation, "100 + Roaches.", An Anatomy of an Incident, OU Mashgiach to be Fired?, OU Mashgiach Fired, Mashgiach Files Discrimination Complaint, Kosher Cop Canned By Hospital, Mashgiach And Wife Barred From Synagogue By YU, OU Denied Work To Fired Mashgiach's Wife, Mashgiachs File Federal Lawsuit Against OU, Promise Broken: OU Denies Work To Fired Mashgiach's Wife.
Originally posted at 9:45 pm CST 12-11-10