Westside

Pico-Robertson roiled by charges of non-kosher meat

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Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats has been for years "the premier retailer to kosher consumers in this densely populated Jewish neighborhood" of Pico-Roberston, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles says. But the store has had its kosher certification yanked by the Rabbinical Council of California after an investigative report on KTLA said that the store sold meat that was not truly glatt kosher, a higher designation than merely kosher. The "scandal" has become a running story in the Jewish Journal since last week, including a rabbi's discussion of who is to blame: "We are. Let me explain."

The latest from the Journal is that the owner of Doheny Meats, who hasn't spoken yet, was previously implicated in moving non-kosher meat. Excerpt of the piece below:

Thirty years ago, in 1983, Rabbi Pinchas Gruman, an esteemed scholar of Jewish texts who also holds a doctorate in philosophy, was the chair of the Rabbinical Council of California’s (RCC) committee dedicated to enforcing Jewish dietary law at establishments under its supervision.

On November 3 of that year, acting on a tip, Gruman, who still lives in Los Angeles today, drove to Orange County to visit a kosher retailer, Los Alamitos Kosher Meats and Poultry, where he found kosher meat and poultry in the freezer placed alongside some non-kosher animal products.

In an interview this week, on March 31, Gruman alleged that the person who opened the freezer for him was Mike Engelman, who today is the owner of Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats in Los Angeles. Last week, the RCC withdrew its kosher certification from Doheny after being shown video footage of Engelman and his employees, on multiple occasions, bringing hundreds of pounds of unsupervised products into Doheny Meat’s Pico-Robertson retail and distribution outlet.

Unlike the current scandal, which was sparked by film shot by a private investigator and involves boxes whose contents may have been kosher, Gruman said the situation at Los Alamitos Kosher in the 1980s was rather straightforward.

“I’m telling you, he [Engelman] was caught with trayf [non-Kosher] packages, a goyishe [non-Jewish] company,” Gruman said. “I did not do any detective work as I did in other stores. This was, you walked in, he opened up the refrigerator, you opened up the freezer, you pulled it out. It was no difficult clandestine work on my part.”

On Tuesday, the LA Times reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had launched an investigation. And now a Beverly Hills man filed a class-action lawsuit over the meat. Stay tuned.

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