Is the vaad the mafia??

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  • #600885

    kfb
    Participant

    There is a restaurant in New York that just started up. The lady who runs it is very frum and she wanted to get a hashkacha from the vaad of … The vaad told her she had to pay a certain amount for the hashkacha and a certain amount for a machgiach. The lady told them she’s just starting up and can’t afford all of those fees, that she’ll pay them what she can now and when business picks up she’ll pay them in full. The mafia, I mean vaad, told her if she doesn’t pay she doesn’t get the hashkacha. She’s still open but barely anyone comes to her restaurant. I thought the vaad was supposed to help restaurants.. A similar situation happened in Westchester, the vaad came in and told the resteraunts there that their hashkacha was no good and they needed to use theirs..

    #831258

    midwesterner
    Participant

    Hashgachas are businesses. They are entitled to charge a fee for their service. If you want to use their copywrited symbol to promote your business, it’s not free.

    #831259

    old man
    Participant

    Hashgachah. Unless they have a phenomenal memory, in which case their hashkachah is really no good at all.

    #831260

    TheGoq
    Participant

    She shoulda made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.

    #831261

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    kfb,

    I thought the vaad was supposed to help restaurants..

    The vaad is supposed to ensure kashrus, which requires a mashgiach on site. The mashgiach has to eat and support a family, too!

    #831262

    yungerman1
    Participant

    I dont profess much knowledge in the hashgoch process, but there is always a bad apple in the bunch.

    Either way, you seem to imply that the hasgocho organizations should operate as a chessed organization and not as a business. I’m not sure I agree.

    #831263

    One of my Rabbeim told me

    “the first four letters of Kashrut are KASH!!”

    (Please excuse the misspell, but the point remains valid)

    Sometimes Kashrut organizations do resemble organized crime as they wield insane amounts of power over the success of businesses.

    But no one is brave enough to stand up to them.

    #831264

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    kfb:

    I don’t see the issue. Do you work for others without payment? Or with the promise that “If I am successful, then I will pay you”?

    If so, please come work for me. I promise (Beli Neder) that if we make money, I will pay you a salary. If not, you will be stiffed.

    #831265

    aries2756
    Participant

    There is a VAAD in every neighborhood and that is what the neighborhood relies on. Usually the Rabbonim in the neighborhood are tied to the Vaad. This is how they operate, they charge both the stores and the kehilah for their services and that is how the Vaad Hamachshir gets paid his big bucks. In some communities the Vaad is run very well, and the monies spent are well worth it, in some not so much.

    Unfortunately if you want a hechsher in order to make money, that is the way the game is played. There are no separate plans for New business or small business owners. It is one size fits all and there are no exceptions. This is the way it is done. There is a fee for the Vaad, and the business pays the Mashgiach. I don’t particularly think this is the proper way to go, because the business then takes on the mashgiach as an employee or a consultant however their accountant wants them to do it. This minimizes the employees for the Vaad, so they don’t have to have employee payroll, tax returns, etc. I don’t think this is fair or the right thing to do. They are collecting huge fees, and it should be run like any other business. In addition, in most cases these mashgichim are neither tested nor trained by the Vaad.

    #831266

    RSRH
    Member

    THere is a lot to be said for a community having certain standards of kashrus for its local restaurants and supermarkets, and those standards being enforced by a vaad of local rabbonim having exclusive authority to grant hashgachos. Hashgachos also cost money to supervise; there are administrative costs in addition to the actual cost of the mashgiach’s salary. A communal vaad hakashrus thus has to charge for its services, and a business owner needs to anticipate and consider those costs before deciding to open a restaurant.

    That said, you’re right. There is NO EXCUSE for a vaad to act like a mafia by extorting inordinate sums of protection money from store owners. A vaad needs to be responsible to the community, and if it acts inappropriately, the members of the community ought to replace the vaad members.

    #831267

    real-brisker
    Member

    Hasgacha is not a free sevrice, If you want it you pay for it. If you feel they have a monopoly, go ahead open up your own hasgacha – see who will have trust in it.

    #831268

    BrainwasheD
    Participant

    Most vaadim exist to avoid the problems of Brooklyn, where it’s “anything goes”. A set vaad creates reliability. The Vaad of Queens has a rotating head to avoid politics- nobody gets too powerful and nobody becomes the target for too long. Not sure about the other vaadim.

    #831269

    m in Israel
    Member

    “I thought the vaad was supposed to help restaurants”

    Um, actually a Vaad Kashrus is not there to help restaurants — its role is to ensure the Kashrus of the restaurant, and allow consumers to know that a specific restaurant is meeting certain Kashrus standards. And as midwesterner pointed out, like it or not, hashgacha is a business. Did this lady tell her other employees that she can’t afford to pay them their salaries now, but when business picks up she’ll pay them? Why is the mashgiach any different?

    #831270

    aries2756
    Participant

    I think the Vaad of Queens has a very good reputation and it is very well respected. It is run very well.

    #831271

    soliek
    Member

    um…youre all arguing with not enough information…2 questions seem germane…

    1) how much did the vaad want from the restaurant

    2) how much is the going rate

    #831272

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    That said, you’re right. There is NO EXCUSE for a vaad to act like a mafia by extorting inordinate sums of protection money from store owners.

    Strong words; why is asking for a fee extortion? The lower the fees, the less money a vaad has to pay mashgichim, and vice versa.

    If you don’t really care if the food you put in your mouth is kosher, go to an establishment which uses an inexpensive hashgocha. If you do care, go to one with a hashgocha which pays its mashgichim decently and can have proper supervision.

    #831273

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    soliek,

    um…youre all arguing with not enough information…2 questions seem germane…

    Do we ever have enough information about a situation we’re debating here? 🙂

    1) how much did the vaad want from the restaurant

    The OP did not explicitly say that the vaad was demanding too much money. His/her main contention was that the vaad did not agree to be paid in installments rather than up front.

    2) how much is the going rate

    Can this be determined?

    #831274

    shtusim
    Participant

    Soliek is right. it’s only extortion IF they charged MORE then they charge other establishments. Just because YOU don’t want to pay the going rate, doesn’t mean its EXTORTION.

    In a neighborhood with a REAL Vaad, its financal suicide to open without their Hasgacha. The rabbonim will (and have) said from the pulpit ” The following store is NOT under the Vaad.”

    As far as the Vaad giving her a break:

    Will she open her books to show them when she IS making money?

    What makes her different then any other store?

    KFB – you said ” i thought the vaad was supposed to help restaurants..”

    NO THEY ARE NOT – THEY ARE HERE TO HELP PEOPLE EAT KOSHER!!!

    The VAAD HATZEDAKKA is the one that disburses charity, not the Kashrus Vaad.

    #831275

    As was pointed out above, the kashrus agency or vaad is not for the benefit of the restaurant but for that of the consumer. The entrepeneur in the OP should have included the fees for hashgacha in her start-up plan.

    #831276

    kfb
    Participant

    Why should this lady pay for a machgiach when she’s know more that he does. She grew up in a very frum home and knows how to keep a kitchen kosher. Why should she pay some guy who goes out on a cigarette break every half hr? We should be able to trust the rabbis of our communities if something is kosher or not. Do you need the vaad to tell you if you can eat in someone’s home. So why should the vaad tell you if you can eat in a restaurant run by a very frum woman?

    #831277

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    This thread is crazy. The OP is crazy. You have all gotten lost in the trees and are missing the forest.

    OP: What are you talking about? This is not protection money, it is the fee for service. You have not presented anything problematic.

    I dismiss the OP for failure to state a claim.

    #831278

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If Hasghchas are always so interested in Kashurut and not other endevors why do restaurants in Brooklyn have 2 , 3 or even more haschga’s

    Any Hasghcha more than one at a restautant smacks of extortion

    #831279

    cleverjewishpun, they definately can operate like mafia, especially when they are putting a hechsher on treif products, such as in one situation a mashgiach discovered that the canned tomatoe sauce was on the same production like as the canned pork in tomatoe sauce. oops. but no one is suppose to find these things out. just cover it up and keep going.

    #831280

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    um…youre all arguing with not enough information…2 questions seem germane…

    1) how much did the vaad want from the restaurant

    2) how much is the going rate

    Most local vaadin do not cover their expenses with fees from the establishments they supervise. The community supplements (private hashgochas, OTOH must cover with the fees).

    #831281

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The OP is crazy.

    Not necessarily crazy, just biased.

    #831282

    aries2756
    Participant

    zahavasdad, restaurants might have more than one hashgacha because not every Rav agrees with or trusts every hashgacha and therefor their kehila does not abide by it and won’t eat in the restaurant. An owner who wants to bring in more business from more customers will try to please more Rabbonim.

    On the other hand, there are neighborhoods where the VAAD, does NOT allow any hashgacha but theirs. So if an establishment wants the OU or Kaf K, the Rabbonim tell their kehilas NOT to eat there.

    #831283

    real-brisker
    Member

    kfb – I see you don’t know what the purpose of a mashgiach is, and that is why you are having these questions. Don’t make hanachos and then ask Kashos.

    #831284

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    If Hasghchas are always so interested in Kashurut and not other endevors why do restaurants in Brooklyn have 2 , 3 or even more haschga’s

    Some customers trust hashgocha A, some trust hashgocha B. It’s a business decision.

    Any Hasghcha more than one at a restautant smacks of extortion

    Why? If anything, a local vaad has more of a monopoly than private hashgochas, but hopefully there’s oversight from the rabbonim who are vaad members.

    #831285

    midwesterner
    Participant

    Z-DAD: Not extortion. A marketing decision. I’ll get extra hashgachos if it will entice nmore customers in here. If I think the third Hashgacha will cost me, say, $2000, but it will bring in 10K of new business, then I do it. If I think that the amount of people for whom the first 2 hashgachos weren’t enough but who will be impressed by the third hashgacha, they’ll bring in less then that in net revenue, then I don’t get the third hashgacha. Simple budgeting and math. No extortion there.

    #831286

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    KFB:

    Very good point. However, we Yidden have decided not to trust an Eid Echad running a business (in general).

    She is more than welcome to open with a notice where the Hechsher would be: “Run by Very Frum Woman” (She can even have two verys). I don’t think she will get very far.

    #831287

    kfb
    Participant

    Umm real brisker- I do know what a mashgiach is used for. To get paid to sit around and check if things are being done properly once in a while. If a non jew owns the store then I understand why you would need a mashgiach, but if a frum Jew owns one, I don’t get it

    #831288

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    On the other hand, there are neighborhoods where the VAAD, does NOT allow any hashgacha but theirs. So if an establishment wants the OU or Kaf K, the Rabbonim tell their kehilas NOT to eat there.

    Since we can likely agree that the O-U or Kaf-K is Kosher (Ill assume most of not all eat from their stuff), then is smacks of extortion

    #831289

    littleapple
    Member

    A few years ago an article was written on a mussar haskel from the Enron collapse which made the point that there is a big problem with the business paying the auditors (or kashrus supervisors) to report that everything is kosher. The author suggested a return to a system he claimed existed in Europe in previous generations where the local Bais Din employs the mashgichim and are paid by a tax on the populace. This would certainly improve the kashrus scene as far as independence as it is a strain to think how a very low paid mashgiach is expected to report to a Rav HaMachshir information that may at worst end his job and at least disturb his boss, the restaurant owner. Unfortunately I do not see the system changing anytime soon. I have experience in the field for over ten years where I worked for both a large hechshers, a local Vaad and small private local hechsher and I can say for local retail establishments I found that by far the best, most hands on and supportive hechsher with the best result was a private Rav HaMachshir, a posek with a small staff who was constantly reachable for shailas. I will also advise the OP that this type of hechsher could sometimes be more reasonable and flexible with fees. But if you want the trust of the public it is neccessary to allocate funds for kashrus just like for your other expenses. Kashrus today is complex and requires time and money and the public is well aware of this and so expects to see a reliable hechsher on a kosher eatery. Do some research and perhaps there is another hechsher which you could request in a respectful manner to work with your situation.

    #831290

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Since we can likely agree that the O-U or Kaf-K is Kosher

    We can agree that something is kosher, yet one of us might want a better hashgocha than something which merely meets minimal standards for “kosher” (I’m not referring to any hashgocha in particular, and my point can be applied to any hashgochas with different standards).

    Interestingly, I don’t think there are too many establishments which carry OU and Kof-K, it’s more common to carry a “national” hechsher in addition to a “heimishe” hechsher.

    #831291

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I know what you mean, so much politics also

    #831292

    real-brisker
    Member

    kfb – gaw, answered your question.

    #831293

    soliek
    Member

    you people dont understand extortion. heres extortion. you have X number of customers. unless you hire me as the rav hamachshir i will make sure you lose 1000 customers. extortion is not setting a price for a product or service.

    is it reasonable to walk into a best buy and, when told tha tthe laptop you’ve had your eye on for the past three months costs $3000, run around the store hysterically yelling abou thow the store is extorting you? no. you can complain about the price until you turn blue in the face, but it is NOT extortion.

    now i see some of you over there in the corner, raising your hands to call me on the loose interpretation of extortion, namely, charging an exorbitant fee disproportionate to the product offer or service rendered, bu tthat simply leads right back to my earlier questions: 1) how much did the vaad want from this restauranteur, and 2) what is the going rate for a hechsher. simply calling extortion because the requirement for a certain service costs money is petulant and juvenile.

    i need electricity, does that mean that ConEd is extorting me? i need clothing, is Joseph A Bank extorting me? I need food and water, are the various corporations which collectively comprise the food industry categorically a bunch of extortionists?

    Now it is true that in certain neighborhoods and communities an eatery stands no chance without a hechsher; but does that mean that they cannot open without one? John Doe is more than welcome to open Yosef’s Treifa Chazerai smack in the middle of boro park, and not a soul could stop him. would he get an ounce of business? perhaps, perhaps not. however he can still do as he pleases. the customer is under no obligation to the vendor, the vendor is constantly under obligation to the consumer.

    i would equate the OP’s complaint to the proprietor of a Sak’s 5th Avenue franchise complaining about lack of business at his brand new Harlem location. well…wha tthe heck did you expect.

    suppose one day a fine gentleman walks in and requests a sean john hoodie and some ripped jeans, and upon hearing that your store has no such items, walks out and tells his friends that your store is useless. the next day you get 10 phone calls, all from callers requesting ghetto wear-that they will patronize your establishment if and only if you sell such items, is that extortion? absolutely not. the consumer knows what he wants and if not satisfied, will move on. i rest my case.

    #831294

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I actually know people that say they don’t hold of the star k

    #831295

    Luke
    Member

    Am I the only one who thinks that Kashrus organizations and Vaads should have very different business models?

    #831296

    A number of years ago, an owner of a restaurant in a certain Vaad’s domain told me that when new places open in the community, and the Rebbeim on the Vaad do not know the proprieters well from the community, they will insist on a FT mashgiach. No doubt, if a woman is running this restaurant, the Rebbeim do not know her very well. In some neighborhoods, there is almost a literal dividing line between the Vaad supervised establishments and “all others”. Unfortunately, we as Yidden have been burnt by supposedly frum Jews who cut corners and even substituted treif. These were people who the supervising agencies felt didn’t need to be watched as closely because of who they were. Can anyone here say “Monsey” or “chicken”? A Vaad protects us.

    #831297

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In Brooklyn with 2 or 3 Hasghchas, If a Rav walks into a store WITH a hasghcha already acceptable and says I will tell my flock NOT to eat in your restaurant UNLESS you use MY hashghcha

    What would you call that

    #831298

    soliek
    Member

    is his flock already eating there? and is this a hypothetical straw man?

    #831299

    cherrybim
    Participant

    “A Vaad protects us.

    What protection did they give in Monsey?

    #831300

    littleapple
    Member

    Luke: see my post above.

    zdad: The best Rabbanei HaMachshir never, ever solicit any places, if someone comes to them they ask questions and decide yes I will give the hechsher or no I decline to give, period. I urge you to ask. A big improvement would result from the public respectfully asking more questions both to Mashgichim, Rabbanei Machshir and business owners. Some examples of questions consumers should be asking are; What are the Mashgiachs duties here? What are his hours? Do you have the phone number of the Rav HaMachshir? How often is he or his representative here? What are your hakpadas?

    #831301

    real-brisker
    Member

    awob – What gives you the right to assume that the mashgiach was more lax (in monsey) because he trusted the person?

    #831302

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    zahavsdad, In Brooklyn with 2 or 3 Hasghchas, If a Rav walks into a store WITH a hasghcha already acceptable and says I will tell my flock NOT to eat in your restaurant UNLESS you use MY hashghcha

    What would you call that

    To borrow from soliek, a hypothetical straw man

    #831303

    soliek
    Member

    😀

    #831304

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In Far Rockaway and the 5 towns there is ONE VAAD, There has been disputes over this as the people in the 5 towns are more modern and the people in Far Rockaway are more Charedi, but it seems some sort of compromise has mostly been worked out to get one Hasghcha for everyone and avoid the issues that have occured in Brooklyn.

    However there is a Rabbi in Far Rockaway who refuses to abide by the rules set by the community standards (Which one is required to follow) and makes “His own list” that he charges the restaurants to be on.

    #831305

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Can I briefly say that I was in a cafe in Cedarhurst, and they don’t give out their Wifi code because the Vaad won’t let them have internet.

    And then, to add insult to injury, I got a parking ticket outside for not paying the meter on sunday.

    And then, to add injury to injury, the lady at the court said the judge won’t let me off even though they got the color of my car wrong.

    It was a very injurious day.

    #831306

    littleapple
    Member

    In Flatbush there is an agreement between the major hechshers that solved alot of “issues” and probably makes for a stronger system, since we can’t go back to the old Bais Din system and the Vaad is being paid by the restaurant owners also then respectful competition between hechshers can be better for overall kashrus.

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