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Former OU Mashgiach Says Manischewitz Matza Not Kosher for Pesach

by Sandy Eller – VIN News

The chief rabbi of a kosher food giant has filed a lawsuit just days before Pesach charging that the company’s kashrus standards have been slipping over the years and accusing the agency that certifies the products as kosher with ignoring the problem.

Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz, a long time mashgiach at the Orthodox Union and Manischewitz’s official rabbi for 20 years, said that he was roundly criticized and forced out of his job after after speaking out about issues that he felt were halachically problematic.

According to The NY Daily News, Rabbi Horowitz said that trouble began brewing as far back as 2009 when Manischewitz allegedly started to become more lax in its kashrus standards.  In the lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, Rabbi Horowitz charged the Orthodox Union with ignoring his concerns in order to make sure that they didn’t lose a large account.

A New York Post report said that Rabbi Horowitz took an extended medical leave from his position at the Orthodox Union saying that the kashrus agency made it impossible for him to do his job.  According to the complaint, Rabbi Horowitz was told to “do everything in his power to keep Manischewitz happy, even if this meant compromising his personal religious principles.”

Just one year ago, Rabbi Horowitz sang Manischewitz’s praises in an exclusive 2015 VIN News video interview where he described Manischewitz’s matza plant in Newark, New Jersey as the “most efficient and halachically advanced line in the world.”

The Orthodox Union denied Rabbi Horowitz’s claims, calling the timing suspicious and categorizing the suit as baseless.

“We certify that the kashrut of Manischewitz is today, and has always been, at the highest level,” said a statement released by the Orthodox Union.  “Consumers can confidently rely upon the integrity of the kashrut this Passover and throughout the year.”

11 Comments

  • 1. Yossi A. wrote:

    READ THE 2ND PARAGRAPH….
    He felt it wasn’t KOSHER enough!!!!
    He’s only the mashgiach he’s NOT the OU….

  • 2. Pedant wrote:

    The OK is a top notch organization. OU not so much. I won’t touch OU wine without a supporting hechsher.

    A Kosher agency is always more lenient than you are lenient. And a misnagedishe kosher agency is uch un veh.

    I have touched manishevetz products in years. It always bothered me that they sold non kosher for pesach matzah, I’m sure many were nickshal by that.

  • 3. Not The First Time wrote:

    Who remembers the saga of the buttered steaks and clams at Le Marise? The OU railroaded their longtime mashgiach when he blew the whistle then… leading me to believe that this is just more of the same old same old…

    • 4. Zvi wrote:

      None of that was ever proven. Once again it was a case of a fired mashgiach. If you read this story, he hasn’t worked the plant in a long time. So why did he wait until Erev Pesach to release the story. If it was a problem, why would he wait until now. It’s a negotiating tactic.

    • 6. Milhouse wrote:

      What do you mean it wasn’t proven? Why is Rabbi Biton’s word not enough for you? It was only on the basis of his testimony that anyone could eat there in the first place, so when he testified that it was treif, on what basis could you continue to eat?

  • 7. no one special wrote:

    #2 What is your basis for evaluation? I worked for both Kashrus agencies, Each holds firm to his Halachik standards.
    Problems are the Masgiach’s quality and more important, the Agencies local representative who approves and supervises the masgiach, This representative must be checking on the mashgiach (and supposedly knows more than the Mashgiach)..
    I have known mashgichim who are totally trustworthy and have met representatives who are less than qualified.

  • 9. K wrote:

    The Fifth kasha:
    Just one year ago, Rabbi Horowitz sang Manischewitz’s praises in an exclusive 2015 VIN News video interview where he described Manischewitz’s matza plant in Newark, New Jersey as the “most efficient and halachically advanced line in the world.”

    Now he says that the company’s kashrus standards have been slipping over the years.

    How can he raise LAST YEAR and now say criticism that over the YEARS it is a problem?

    This is a stira minay u’bay!

    Seems like he has a problem remembering his stories and I don’t believe a word of his!

  • 10. Professional Mashgiach wrote:

    Agreed, Pedant, regarding marketing matza which becomes chomets only after the purchase reads the fine print. Also on Shabbos it’s nearly impossible to open the carton without splicing letters.

    But I still perfer that label-printing policy because it shows how the hechsher posesses a sound understanding of their role, who is responsible for what, respecting the individual consumer to open his purchase, once in his hands, according whichever means his personal choice dictates.

    On the other, it’s those pop-up hechshers’ frantic concern for everybody else’s responsibilites (exept their own) to “make sure” wrappers are preserved to the letter. Roles overlap, agency blurrs, clients and chefs take advantage and charge of the kashrus. This is especially common to operations claiming to be “owned” by our own.

    But you make a good point

  • 11. Israel Clapman. wrote:

    I worked for Streits as a Mashigiach for 2 seasons ( they make machine Matza ). And as a Mashgiach you follow the protocols of the Rav Hamachshir -you chose- to work for!!

    This Horowitz has a massive Chutzpa to open his silly mouth,and scare the consumer.

    Everyone knows that there are certain problems that arise when using large machines to make millions of Maztzos,and you have to rely on the Kashrus agency that places thier name on it.
    Obviously, many people in our circles don’t eat machine Matzos on Pesach. However that’s a personal choice.

    Nobody has the right to undermine all those that do eat it.

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