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Update with Information from Rabbi Menachem Weiss, the New Supervisor of Doheny Kosher Meats

breakingnewsWe interrupt this blogcation for this important update on a developing news story.

As of Thursday, Doheny Kosher Meats has a new kosher supervision. The rabbi signed on the certificate is a relative unknown in the Los Angeles kosher community. Rabbi Menachem Weiss is the assistant rabbi at Nessah Synagogue and has now inserted himself into the recent Doheny Kosher Meat situation.

I spoke with Rabbi Weiss for a while and what follows is based on our conversation.

First, what actually happened at Doheny Kosher Meats?

We have all seen or heard about the surveillance footage. The most important fact is that the video was not filmed at Doheny Kosher. The video shows a fence and I am told by Rabbi Weiss that there is no such fence at Doheny on Pico. The footage was taken from a non-Glatt Kosher butcher in the Valley that is owned by the brother in law of Mike, the owner of Doheny. Mike supplied his brother in law with meat, but Mike insists that there is no legal or practical connection between the two butchers. What happened at the butcher in the Valley was definitely shady, but there is no evidence that anything similar occurred at Doheny.

Ostensibly, only the RCC mashgiach had the keys to the freezer. This is the appropriate protocol and would make it impossible for non-kosher meat to be sold out of Doheny. However, the RCC mashgiach did take breaks from supervising to daven. This is fairly common. In this case, the concerns raised by the surveillance video coupled with the breaks taken by the mashgiach apparently gave the RCC cause to terminate the supervision. There are rumblings of a video showing a car pulling up at Doheny and making a delivery while the mashgiach was away but it seems that no one has seen this video if it exists at all.

As far as the public knows, and we have no reason to think othewise, the RCC does not claim that there was non-kosher meat on site. They claim that protocols were breached and they want to get out of the business of supervising Doheny kosher.

The new supervisor is actually the son of the previous supervisor of Doheny Kosher Meat. A long time ago, the RCC supervised Doheny as a non-Glatt butcher. When RCC decided that they were going all Glatt, they removed their non-Glatt hechsher from Doheny. In the interim, the father of the current rav hamachshir, Rabbi Weiss, provided Doheny with a non-Glatt hechsher. Eventually Doheny capitulated to pressure from the RCC and the public and went all Glatt so RCC took the hechsher over again.

Rabbi Weiss wants to help Doheny earn back the trust of the RCC and the kosher consumer. To that end, their protocols will require two full time mashgichim so that there won’t be any down time without a mashgiach. New locks have been installed and the only key will be in the hands of the mashgiach. Additionally, more cameras are being installed inside the facility. There will be no blind spots throughout the store. Rabbi Weiss and his father will have full time access to the surveillance footage and will personally monitor it. No deliveries will be made not in the presence of the mashgiach. All meat in the store from before the holiday will be removed and will not be sold as kosher meat. The cameras, mashgichim, and loss on the meat all are at the expense of Doheny Kosher and Rabbi Weiss is not receiving any compensation for his supervision. Finally, Rabbi Weiss is requiring that Doheny completely disassociate from the butcher in the valley in the surveillance footage.

Rabbi Weiss is not trying to get into the hashgacha business. He is trying to help Doheny get back in business and find the good graces of a skeptical public. Hopefully, the RCC will take note of all the new and improved protocols and reissue its supervision to Doheny Kosher Meat. Rabbi Weiss has not decided how they will proceed after the holiday.

It seems that the problems with Doheny Kosher Meat are more procedural than substantive. Until the RCC makes a substantive claim there is no reason to think otherwise. Under the new protocols there should be no doubt as to the kosher status of the meat.


66 Comments
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  • http://twitter.com/daniopp American Prometheus

    nice detective work…

  • MarkSoFla

    It seems that the problems with Doheny Kosher Meat are more procedural than substantive.

    It sure sounds that way. But it is still curious that RCC yanked their certification so abruptly right before a major holiday. They had to know that it would cause a mild panic and tongue wagging all through the chag. I wonder if there is any political background to this case somehow?

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Might be related to the fact that it was going to be on KTLA…

      • MarkSoFla

        Media coverage? Who would have brought it to the media (again, maybe “political” considerations here)?

  • Optimistic

    I think that’s really awesome of Rabbi Weiss, helping his fellow Jew succeed! Good for him and good for Doheny Glatt for responding so quickly and making the necessary changes!

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      I agree!!

    • OY VAY

      Los Angeles has had a long history with problematic hetchers and rabunim playing games with every thing from asadus gavul to calming that that a restaurant open past 7 is not sneious.
      This is not a shocker all these places are sadly at war with each other. It was a very well orchestrated outing and yes video does exist contrary to what mendy stated I saw it on google news. Even with the Raphls situation and all the blood libels about piousness of where to shop the bottom line is western sells ribeye for $11.99 while ralphs sells it for $8.99. I know who drives a new escalade and owns a mansion in handcock park from a rinkydink market.
      I don’t trust these hektchers and I am glad mendy found a new scam. I know him makes me almost sure that the rcc was in on it and they needed a carpet bagger with the gift of gab to restore trust.
      If there were any pious rabanum left in this town they would do what satmer did after the muntsey incident that is raise money when they solicit for morischitem to pay the shochats and the mosgishim for the year and not allow the kosher markets to charge much more than the traif.

  • L_farizee

    If the keys were held by the previous mashgiach, how will changing the locks helps?

    Why were there blind spots in the CCTV coverage previously?

    The claim that the surveillance video was taken at a different location are easy to check- has anyone driven down and taken a loo?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dfarberov Dimitry Farberov

    What of the fraudulent labels? Owner should come out w/ a statement and sue for defamation if claims are unsubstantiated.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      The labels situation is not so clear at this point. But he claims the labels were not used at Doheny Kosher.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dfarberov Dimitry Farberov

        Has his statement in the Jewish Journal been published yet?

  • Anonymous

    Make sure to watch Ktla channel 5 tonight 3/28/13 and if your not satisfied with how criminal doheny is feel free to contact the investigator for FULL and ongoing surveillance

  • truth

    WATCH CHANNEL 5 KTLA NEWS at 10 PM FOR THE TRUTH.
    Rabbi Weiss is going to be pretty embarrassed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/menachem.weiss Menachem Weiss

    This is Rabbi Weiss. First Let me clarify. As far as the footage not being of Doheny Kosher, that is true of the footage that was first aired on KTLA. That does not mean that there is not other footage that could be more dameging to Doheny’s credibility. This is why our certification is on a temporary basis, until April 1st. The reasoning behind this was to allow Doheny to re-open with a Hashgacha untill the end of the Chag, while we learn more about all of the facts in the case. We are not making any judgment call whatsoever on what transpired at Doheney Kosher prior to our involvment this morning, nor about the RCC decision to pull the Hashgacha. For that you would need to contact the RCC. What we have done is to place very stringent requirments on Doheny Kosher, so that those who want to shop there can trust that the meat is Glatt Kosher at this time. We agreed to do this becaues we have had a long prior relationship with Doheny Kosher, and they were willing to abide by our requirments. We are doing this without any personal gain. Any Meat opened or unsealed before this morning at 9:00 am has been removed from the store. We reviewed the shipping records and matched them with all of the unsealed cases in the store, verifing that they where delivered from reliable Glatt Kosher providers. Our Mashgiach personally supervised the opening of those boxes, so that we could say with absolute certenty that they are what they are marked as, Glatt Kosher. As far as some of the comments below like me “getting in on the scam” or “how embarresed I will be after the KTLA show tonight”, let me just say that it is that kind of rush to judgment additude and Loshon Hara that inspired me to get involved. Maybe in the end I will be accused of being taken for a fool or making irresponsible decisions, but at least I won’t we guilty of destroying a man’s life becaues it was the popular thing to do at the time. Praying for better times, Menachem Weiss

    • TRUTH

      Rabbi Weiss, I hope you caught the latest story tonight…showing how this man is personally responsible for cheating the ENTIRE Jewish community!!! This is the most unethical thing a Jewish man can do to another Jewish man. This isn’t about judgment, this is about the truth and providing the truth to the Jewish community…at the very least, please tell me you kashered all the appliances there. This man is a criminal. He has been caught several times doing this and should no longer be allowed to be in the line of selling kosher meat. Perhaps we could have forgiven him the first time…but no more. And maybe you should spend more time defending the real victims here–the entire LA Jewish community. Not the owner of Doheny.

      • proudjew

        Truth…Which butcher store do you own?

  • TRUTH

    Rabbi Weiss, I hope you caught the latest story tonight…showing how this man is personally responsible for cheating the ENTIRE Jewish community!!! This is the most unethical thing a Jewish man can do to another Jewish man. This isn’t about judgment, this is about the truth and providing the truth to the Jewish community…at the very least, please tell me you kashered all the appliances there. This man is a criminal. He has been caught several times doing this and should no longer be allowed to be in the line of selling kosher meat. Perhaps we could have forgiven him the first time…but no more. And maybe you should spend more time defending the real victims here–the entire LA Jewish community. Not the owner of Doheny.

  • Valley

    Who is the non-Glatt Kosher butcher in the Valley ?
    what supervision do they have?

    • TRUTH

      no supervision, they stock Hebrew National meat, owned by Doheny’s relative.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=36202330 Jacob Alperin-Sheriff

        Uh, Hebrew National is supervised by Triangle K. Regardless of how unreliable they may be, that’s still different than no supervision …

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          It’s kosher. Not Glatt.

          • mb

            Triangle K meat is non-Glatt and the hecksher is completely trustworthy, despite what “they” say. We’ve seen what “they” are worth!

            However B-i-l was not supervised, so the Trianglek/Hebrew National thing is meaningless

        • Milhouse

          Triangle K does not supervise the butcher. The butcher has no supervision at all.

  • Nisan

    How many times have we been to parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs and have seen the moshgiya step outside and watch the ladies dance rather than staying in the kitchen and supervise as they are required to do so?

    • Milhouse

      I have never seen this, and would be concerned if I did, but at the end of the day that is why there’s a difference between an owner who is basically trustworthy and one who is not. If the mashgiach knows that he’s basically an honest person, then he can relax his supervision to the mere level that the shulchan aruch requires, which allows for taking breaks. If he’s not, then he must be watched like a hawk, far beyond what the SA requires.

  • as128
    • MarkSoFla

      Is there any way to determine how much time those boxes were in the back of the unrefrigerated minivan before being unloaded into the refrigerator? Maybe the health department can also get in on this case.

  • Just say the truth

    The RCC and their henchmen all of who have been quiet and basically in “hiding”since this scandal broke should be ashamed of themselves. It still doesn’t answer the basic simple question of if there was a problem with the kashrut there wether it was just non Glatt or treif does not answer why on earth anyone would be defending this clown Mike who also has yet to come out and make a statement. The chain reaction of his food has basically hit most local frum homes and if or not they want to be somech on a heter it isn’t very clear. But again Weiss or if you call yourself Rabbi Weiss why on earth are you trying to help this fereyeh Israeli guy who was definetly doing something shady all of a sudden being made a tzadik and why are you trying to help him get his “credibility” back ? There are a dime a dozen other local stores that don’t have any allegations against them just go there and not in the front of your mind be thinking am I doing something smart now as this establishment until clarified may of been selling me product that was labeled otherwise. Once clarified if all was good then I’m sure he will get his hechsher back but of course if found out that it was treif I hope the community lynch this man and burns the store down

  • Shlomoh

    Pretty obvious what was likely going on here, now that we’ve seen the latest video:

    Doheny’s B–i-L has a bossor bossor meat business w/ (or without) minimal kosher supervision.

    1. B-I-L easily buys treif, given minimal or nonexistent supervision.

    2, B-I-L loads van with treif meat, using forged Aaron’s Best stickers and packed in used boxes he got from Doheny’s.

    3. Meat is transferred to Doheny van at -appropriately – McDonald’s parking lot.

    4. Doheny’s moves it into their warehouse while mashgiach disappears to go to Shacharis.

    Interested to know what hashgacha, if any, was had by B-I-L’s bosor bossor operation, which made it so easy for him to acquire the treifos and smack on the counterfeit labels.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Doheny sells tens of thousands of ponds of meat each week and how much meat is in this little box from his trunk? Doesn’t add up.

      • Shlomoh

        Let’s do the math:
        (conservatively)

        12 boxes in one minivan.

        50 lb per box.

        treif vs kosher = $5 lb cheaper.

        600 lb x $5 = $3,000 per day, $18,0000 per week, $1,000, 000 per year..

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          Minivan? It said it was a box in a trunk.

          • Shlomoh
            • Shlomoh

              Also, given the size of the delivery that day, based on the video, does not look at all like tens of thousands of lbs per week.

              Not only that, but do the math on what tens of thousands of lb per week would mean.

              Tens of thousands of lb per week would need several thousand families, each buying 10 lb per week, neither of which is very likely.

              • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

                He distributes to caterers and restaurants.

                • Shlomoh

                  No need to guess, as the RCC should have (what they think) an exact and audited number.

                  In any event, video shows transfer at McDonald’s and same boxes being off-loaded once mashgiach leaves for Shacharis.

        • MarkSoFla

          If this occurred, the videographer would have videos of multiple days. And he could have brought others to witness it as well. But the video definitely looks fishy. However, if it was only done once, why would he risk his entire business for an extra $3,000? That makes no sense at all.

          • TRUTH

            He has footage from the last six months.
            But I don’t think the news has enough time to cover it.
            And several people have seen the footage.

      • TRUTH

        He was doing this three to four times a
        Week, 9-10 50
        Pound boxes. You do the math.

      • TRUTH

        It doesnt matter if he brought in just 10 pounds a week of treif–or is that considered acceptable to you??? You’re ok with being cheated and violating rules of kashrut?

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          No. I’m okay with fixing the problem without destroying a man.

  • proudjew

    I still find it very interesting that this private investigator had nothing better to do then to “out of the goodness of his heart” decide to investigate. I am sure he was paid by a competitor and this is his cover story.

  • Jeff

    There is a person who keeps commenting on this blog, using the name “Truth” or “Just Tell the Truth” who obviously has an interest in defaming Doheny Glatt or its owner and now the new supervising Rabbi. His comments are filled with what seems like non-factual information and full of hate. I wonder if this the same person who may have hired the investigator or a competitor who wants Doheny shut.

    We all agree that there are a number of unanswered questions. Who hired this investigator? Why? Is this information credible? What is the official RCC response?

    What we do understand is that going forward as of yesterday, there is a new supervising Rabbi who had Deheny replace all open boxes of meat, hired two full-time mashgichim, changed the locks, the only key for the store is held by one mashgiach, added CCTV cameras and is only providing his supervision until April 1st, this way customers can purchase Glatt Kosher meat during the holiday.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Exactly. Thank you.

    • Young

      Well said

      • TRUTH

        this isn’t about defaming, this is about the TRUTH. I’ve seen enough footage and the fact that you are trying to sweep this under the rug is quite sad, and more so, irresponsible. The jewish community deserves to know what is going on here–it’s so typical of us to try to sweep things that are difficult to face under the rug–but the footage will keep coming. You can’t deny the evidence
        The fact is that treif was being sold to the community for at least 6 months, if not several years. How about sticking up for the community that was cheated? No? You prefer to stick up for someone who so clearly cheated every Jew in LA and SFV that keeps kosher?? The footage will keep rolling. That I can promise you. Stay tuned to the media who will continue to blow the lid off of this. You can’t hide from the truth. Sorry. I hope you saw KTLA, more stories to follow all day today and this weekend. BTW, I really don’t care about Doheny. I have no personal investment in this pig. None. But I am personally invested in truth.

  • Shlomoh

    I understand why, according to halacha, one must be judge the Rabbis l’Kaf zechus.
    This means that we should say that, even if the charges here are true, it does not mean that the Rabbis were part of a conspiracy to foist treifos on an unsuspecting community.
    Rather, they — and the mashgiach — were deceived.

    However, how is it that the obligation of judging l’kaf zechis extends to a butcher who has apparently been caught on video doing something highly suspicious and is said to be not fully committed to Torah and mitzvos?

    I would appreciate someone’s citing a source.

  • Shlomoh

    If I understand the blog owner correctly, he is saying that even if it were proven to be true that the butcher had knowingly deceived the kosher public by selling non-kosher meat as kosher, this should not be reason to prevent him from continuing as a purveyor of kosher meat, albeit with additional levels of hashgacha.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Correct.

      • Shlomoh

        And you’re saying that because even if it turns out that he is a rasha gomur who has not done teshuva (don’t know what the teshuva would be?), he’s still a Jew?

        • TRUTH

          The butcher did knowingly deceive the community–did you not see the footage??

        • Milhouse

          It wouldn’t matter if he weren’t Jewish. Suppose you have a genuine idolater, who is also a convicted con man, and he offers to work as a bank teller with two mashgichim looking over his shoulder at all times, and counting the money before and after he touches it, is there a reason not to hire him? Well, yes, I think there is, because he might be a skilled con man who can steal even under all that supervision, but it’s not unreasonable to say no, now that we know about him we can supervise him adequately. We know not to trust him, and once we verify that he’s doing it right what’s the problem?

          • Shlomoh

            Perhaps as a matter of policy, the Jewish Community, should be sending a clear message that those who violate policy will lose the right to hashgacha.

  • Still Troubled

    Gotta say, there’s really just one thing in this article that jumps out at me as worrisome: You quote Rabbi Weiss as saying “he video shows a fence and I am told there is no such fence at Doheny on Pico. ” I am told?!? If he’s the new mashgiach, he should know every inch of the property!

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      The “I am told” was referring to me. He told me that.

      • Milhouse

        I see someone else misunderstood it the same way, so it’s not just me, it really is unclear.

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          You are correct. I fixed it now.

  • Milhouse

    The video shows a fence and I am told there is no such fence at Doheny on Pico.

    You’re told?! You’re certifying that the place is kosher, and you didn’t even visit the place to check whether the fence exists?!

    What happened at the butcher in the Valley was definitely shady, but
    there is no evidence that anything similar occurred at Doheny.

    So you admit that even by his own account, Mike was engaged in something shady, and yet you don’t cavil at giving him a hechsher?! If you know he’s a dishonest person how can you trust that he won’t cheat you?

    As far as the public knows, and we have no reason to think othewise, the
    RCC does not claim that there was non-kosher meat on site.

    That’s right. They can’t know what meat was illegally brought in. It’s technically possible that it was Bet-Yosef-standard glatt kosher, shechted by a tzadik who sharpened his challef with tears. It’s possible, but what odds would you give on it?

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      You misunderstood. I was told by R Weiss that there is no fence. He is certain. I am taking his word for it.

      • Milhouse

        Thank you for the explanation. Perhaps you should edit the article to make this clear.

  • http://twitter.com/MochinRechavim MochinRechavim

    The Modern Orthodox community has an amazing opportunity right now, and I hope this scandal is not in vain. This scandel broke during the Parsha of Shemini, which as Hashgacha Pratis would have it discusses the laws of kosher animals. The MO community has an opportunity to change American standards for kashrus. There are 3 parts to consumerism; Cost, Quality, and Turn Around. If you want cheap Kosher meat on hand daily then it wont be good quality. Either in the actual meat, or in the standards involved making it kosher. Instead of wasting time speculating, lets figure out how this will never happen again. That means demanding transparency from Hekshur Rabbonim, demanding fulltime mashgichim for any establishment who has keys, not the owner. This means the cost of Kosher food costs more and we are willing to pay it so we know the highest standards are met. The credibility of a goy vs a frum yid with a beard means NOTHING, as per the Monsey scandal. The Mashgichim also must be treated better by the Hekshurs. You want a Mashgiach with yiros shamyaim who would never compromise on standards yet you wont pay for 2 so they can daven like a mentsch. We have created this monster by letting the Rabbis profit more and more without any raising of actual standards anywhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697620013 Matityahu Ben-David

      I agree with most of your points. However, ALL kosher meat companies should be forced to open up their books. There is too much profiteering coming at the expense of the pashoot yid. The Islamic community does a much better job at keeping their expenses to a minimum to allow all of Allah’s followers to take great pleasure in the laws of Muhammad PBUH. Not every Jew out there can afford to keep paying the ever increasing price to maintain a kosher lifestyle. Open up the books. Religion and Business do not mix and if you try to mix it Hashem drives a strong hand down.

      • http://twitter.com/MochinRechavim MochinRechavim

        I am not sure why you think that kosher meat companies don’t deserve to make money like any other business. Muslim meat standards are just cutting the neck with no concern for how the neck is cut, quality of knife, stun gun before or after shechita, checking of lungs, removal of forbidden fats and the back end with siattic nerve, and salting meat. Muslims do not have any of those requirements and the kosher meat company must pay for skilled individuals. You get what you pay for.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697620013 Matityahu Ben-David

          “Muslim meat standards are just cutting the neck with no concern for how
          the neck is cut, quality of knife, stun gun before or after shechita,
          checking of lungs, removal of forbidden fats and the back end with
          siattic nerve, and salting meat.” – You 100% sure of that? Let’s go down to Astoria Queens TOGETHER and interview and watch the various owners and go through their procedures and how they keep their costs low. You’ll be shocked. I started buying Hallal meat instead.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=697620013 Matityahu Ben-David

          Since we’re on economic issues. MOLLOY High School – arguably the top Catholic high school in Queens which sends numerous students a year to the ivies costs $7,800/year. Why is it the Jewish schools charge $30,000/year. The books need to be opened to see exactly where the money is going.

  • YELP

    Rabbi Weiss, im unclear as to why you would put your GOOD NAME on the line to help a ganuv get his business back. If this scum bag ganuv who deceived many people in YOUR community, cared about his business he would not have commited this CRIME and SIN. if his business falls apart, he has no one to blame but HIMSELF. the fact that you want to come to his rescue puzzles me. Let mike’s business fail. when it does, the members of YOUR community who are concerned about kosher can find a new vendor to replace doheney, one that sells actual kosher meat, one that has owners who dont try and cheat us.

    Rabbi, explain to us why Doheney deserves a second chance? they were not set up. the made their bed and now they must sleep in it.

    If the RCC gives them back a certification I will not trust ANY rcc establishment.