Friday, March 23, 2007

New Info - OU Sly Tactics

Please be aware that the OU intends to insult the intelligence of all the Jewish people. Their way of dealing with this issue, is by saying that I myself do not agree (retracted all my statements) with, well, what I have said. Thats an interesting approach. If we were children it could probably work, but the truth is, when all you have are blatant lies, I cant imagine a better way to handle this.

Secondly, there is new info on the website, in the form of a Report that I sent early on in this crisis. It is at www.amashgiachspeaksout.com/Report.doc I did not alter anything in this report it remains in the same form as it was received by the OU. Therefore a it is a word doc it has replaced the previously hebrew words with gibberish. The hebrew words that were there were "sonay yisrael" - jew hater and "Hamevin Yavin, meaning the one who understands, gets it.

What is presented in that report are undisputed facts. The OU keeps on claiming that these are incidents fabricated by me alone, when in fact there were other witnesses involved in these incidents.

For the strawberries there was a kitchen worker who witnessed the incident and the other mashgiach witnessed that there were worms later found in the strawberries. Also after this incident the Owner officially fired the chef, who was later reinstated by the OU. This was witnessed by the first mashgiach which he admits to on tape. This tape will be put up in due time.

For the Dairy Margarine there was the first mashgiach, who witnessed it, and contrary to the trash the OU is stating, the margarine WAS USED, it was placed in a pot with other food. The pot and all its contents were discarded though. Again, all these are facts that are corroborated.

For the chef lighting the pilot, contrary to what the OU says that here merely taunted me that he would do so (which in truth, what does this prove? oh no, he isn't a jew hater right? what would make you think that? he only "teased" me that he would light the pilot?) the owner himself witnessed it, aside from myself on several occassions.

So, you see, again, I stress there the FACTS which I present and I will back up with tape recordings, and then there are distorted views which the OU continues to offer, because, well, what can you expect. They didn't fire him while I was on the spot and witnessed this abhorrent behaviour with my own eyes, so why would they change now.

As the rabbi that worked there, I attest to the fact that as long as Le Marais has this chef, an owner that "takes risks" (with kashrut, which are his own words) and the OU, an organization that cares for none of the above, then you should eat at your own risk. But you are warned. Do not tell yourself that there is a mashgiach there, and if something is wrong it is on his shoulders, because you are now well aware of the truth and subsequently the consequences.

I urge you to read the report, and you will be able to piece the crisis together, and realize that the views the OU are offering, are tantamount to venom from a snakes mouth. The fact that they continue to deny all the issues at hand, also tells me and everyone else, that they continue to put jews at risk for eating non-kosher. This raises the question on their ability to execute their supposed mission which is to certify kashrut.

For all those who attack me (OU cronies) and claim that this is personal, I respond in the following: What have I gained? I lost my job. I put 6 months of my life, placing all my other life activities including family aside to ensure that this would be resolved. All to no avail. What I have gained, thanks in large part to the overwhelming support of the jewish communities and the rabbis, is the courgae, strength and determination to continue with this struggle.

There is a simple concept in the torah, and that is that Good, Tzedek, always prevails. I assure all, that indeed justice will prevail.

I do wish to enlist the help of all the people, as this will be the only way the principles of the torah, halacha and kashrut can prevail. Please start by doing the obvious, and boycott "Le Marais". Secondly exert enormous pressure on both the OU and Le Marais, and please do not be fooled by their views which are merely excuses to promote their agenda.

Your strength is mine.

Shabbat Shalom

65 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bitton. why wouldnt the OU just fire this chef, its your word (a frum jewish mashgiach) against a goy who does not value our strict kosher diet.

why let this story spill out that would definatly hurt the OU rep along with bad rep for the La Marias.

12:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Bitton

While I want to believe your allegations and I can envision the scenario you have outlined it is difficult to pit your word against the OU. Both sides have a lot of time money and emotions invested in the outcome of this dispute at this point.
Perhaps you could have a third party like OK or another organization complete a thorough investigation and publish the results.

Thanks

8:12 PM  
Anonymous steve said...

Isaac,

I strongly suggest that you answer the questions of Rabbi Yudel Shain which he had posted. Rabbi Shain has been fighting corruption in the Kashrut industry for years and is a Baki in all Kashrut matters. He is well respected in all communities. He will surely be able to help you and the kahal in this struggle against corruption.

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mr bitton it is now your word against the ou. i feel that you must provide real evidence if we are to believe your versoin which i do not claim to offer an opinion on.

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rabbi Bitton,

I, along with many in New York have heard many stories of this nature. However, this one is well documented and judging by the OU's reaction (their claims that "In a private conversation with an OU staff member, Mr. Bitton admitted that this was not true"), everything points to OU's guilt.

I only hope that the community will see through these low tactics.

In all, I think the worst is this group of "executives/rabbis" that is more than willing to bash a G-d fearing Jew who's only intention was to secure the Kashrus of our community.

This is a truly shameful story for the OU.

11:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, the OK, Don Yoel Levy is the one who permitted Emerald Caterers in FL to cook on Shabbos!!!

Then there was Mezonos Maven.

I wouldn't eat ANYTHING from Don Yoel Levy's own hand let alone his supervision.

Kashrus in the US is a business, the Kosher Nostra. (not mine, the credit for that one goes to Rabbi Abadi kashrut.org).

7:36 AM  
Anonymous harry said...

is this the same chef who a few years ago (when the restaurant was under the OK, hit the mashgiach after the mashgiach threw out a steak he was grilling after the chef used the spatula from the fish.?

and because of this the OK took off their hechsher from le marais?

because the owner "officially" fired the chef, only to hire him a few days later???

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that you are being sued for 10 million. This is a ridiculous form of harassment because surely no one can expect to recover anything financially from a Mashgiah.

It seems as though members of the Kosher Nostra are unaware of First Amendment Free Speech rights which are constitutionally protected.

In fact, you could make the claim that they are filing the civil suit in an attempt to restrict your First Amendment Right of Free speech which is a felony. You might be able to file criminal charges against them for attempting to restrict you, intimidate you or extort you into giving up your First Amendment Right of Free Speech. Because the suit has been filed, you might have all the written evidence you might need to prove this.

Also it seems they are attempting to intimidate and coerce you into giving up your right to Religious freedom which is also a Federal Crime in the US. You might be able to make the claim that they are only filing this suit in order to
intimidate you into not practicing your religion or practicing your religion as THEY see correct. That could a Hate Crime under Federal Law that could be punished by 10 years in prison.

If there are two or more persons
involved or three or more persons involved, it is a more serious crime.

If you can make the case that they are filing this suit in an attempt to intimidate others from their right of Free Speech or that they are trying to restrict a whole class of people from practicing their religion in Freedom, then you might have an open and shut civil suit after they are found guilty of the criminal charges.

Have you received any written threats from anyone?? If you have, you should take them to law enforcement,local, State and Federal.

Here is the Statute number: Title 18 USC Section 241 Conspiracy Against Rights.

This statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person of any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the United States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).

It seems that this civil lawsuit has been filed only in order to silence and intimidate you into forgoing your First Amendment Right of Free Speech, Freedom of the Press and the Right to Practice your Religion as you see fit. After all, are we really to believe that they hope to recover 10 million dollars from a Mashgiah.

I strongly suggest that you pursue this with law enforcement immediately. I believe you have to file a Criminal charge to file in order to protect yourself.

According to many Poskim one does not need to seek Rabbinical permission to file criminal charges against another Jew because the Batei Din in the US do not have the authority to protect against criminal harassment. Surely this would not be an issue with regard to the owner and chef at Le Marais.

May Hashem Bless you and reward you for your efforts on behalf of Klal Yisrael. May we all prevail over the enemies of Hashem!!

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do you have this in writing??

We hope that you will reconsider your decision to publicize
> your personal opinion and

If you do, if there are threats or stipulations attached, if is it signed by more than one etc etc.

That might be enough to file criminal charges.

You need to protect your family, your reputation and your safety.

Been there

10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Furthermore the attorney who filed this harassment suit should be reported to the NY Bar association for violating Federal Statute Title 18, USC Section 241 and Section 242.

If I lived in NY I would file it myself. The purpose of this frivlous suit is only to intimidate, harass and deprive Rabbi Bitton of his First Amendment Right to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. The world is better off without immoral attorneys and this one should be disbarred in the public interest.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Richard Klass is a member of the Bar in NJ, NY and Mass.

He should be reported to all three Bar Associations for filing this frivolous harassment suit.

I believe that it is a violation of Title 18, USC Section 241, and 242 because an attorney is an officer of the court, he is a law enforcement official.

If he misuses his position in law enforcement to harass you into restricting your First Amendment Right of Free Speech or giving up your First Amendment Right to Practice your Religion he is doing so under "Official Color of Right"

" Acts under "color of any law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the bounds or limits of their lawful authority, but also acts done without and beyond the bounds of their lawful authority; provided that, in order for unlawful acts of any official to be done under "color of any law," the unlawful acts must be done while such official is purporting or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. This definition includes, in addition to law enforcement officials, individuals such as Mayors, Council persons, Judges, Nursing Home Proprietors, Security Guards, etc., persons who are bound by laws, statutes ordinances, or customs."

This carries a punishment of a prison sentence.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any attorney should know that if his client has a legitimate reason to restrain Rabbi Bitton then the proper vehicle in which to do so is via a Court Order.

Trying to do so via a Civil suit filed for an amount that is surely not recoverable can only be construed as harassment or threat, an illegal tactical attempt to circumvent the law.

This is why the attorney who filed the suit could be found guilty of a crime; it is his responsibility to advise his clients to comply with the law not to help them find ways to circumvent it.

The Bar Association is the legal enforcement agency for attorneys; because this attorney has possibly violated a Federal Statute, it would be correct to file complaints in NY, NJ and Mass, the three states in which this attorney practices. It is the Bar Association's responsibility to investigate and prosecute if necessary, their member on behalf of Rabbi Bitton.

Once a criminal action has been won against anyone who is attempting to restrict Rabbi Bitton's First Amendment civil rights, any civil suit that Rabbi Bitton would file would be an "open and shut" case.

Additionally, because Rabbi Bitton acted as the OU's agent in a contractual agreement with Le Marais to provide kashrus supervision, this attorney should know that if a damages suit were to be filed, it should be filed against the OU and not its agent who was simply doing the job for which he was hired to do on behalf of the OU (which is certify or not kashrus).

I would hope that Rabbi Bitton would recover his legal fees along with pain and suffering, loss of livelihood and other damages from the OU on whose behalf his actions in protecting the kashrus concerns of the Jewish community were taken.

An employee cannot be held personally liable for damages incurred as a result of his performing any LEGAL function on behalf of his employer, especially for performing the job for which he was hired, which was to certify the kashrus of Le Marais. I would hope that the OU carries a liability insurance policy to defend Rabbi Bitton's interests and to recover any damages incurred on their behalf because of this suit filed by Le Marais.

12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It can't be slander because as a Rabbi hired to supervise Kashrus, Rabbi Bitton is protected under "absolute privilege" (Rabbi Bitton was an official hired to officially certify the kashrus of LeMarais, anything he says on that topic cannot be considered slander as he was hired to give his opinion).

Furthermore in order to be considered slander the speech has to be PROVEN beyond any doubt to be false.

I personally would wait for THAT ABSOLUTE PROOF before eating from an OU certified establishment again.

It is MY opinion that this is a frivolous lawsuit filed only to intimidate and harass Rabbi Bitton who was only doing his job in protecting the interests of the kosher consumer.

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course IF Le Marais were to PROVE beyond any doubt that the OU's agent, Rabbi Bitton was not a credible witness after the OU hired and trained him to be the ONLY CREDIBLE witness in Le Marais as to the kashrus status of the food..................


Well, how could anyone in the kosher consuming public EVER rely upon the OU again????

And on what basis other than the OU's testimony against THEMSELVES (their agent) can the Gentiles at Le Marais hope to prove a charge of slander (that Rabbi Bitton's allegations are absolutely false)?

If the OU participates in any action against THEIR agent, they are discrediting themselves as a kashrus supervision which they have already done by not standing by their own agent, the only halachic witnessas to the kashrus of the restaurant.

This is beyond absurd!!!

12:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone misses the one important point - if OU trained him and now he has gone off the deep end, accusing and acting on his own and above and beyond any hechser, than the lawsuit is fine and the correct action.

Does anyone think on those terms?

Oh wait, this blog will never get posted by Mr. Bitton

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Gilad Weinreb said...

An order to show cause was signed and a TRO was issued today.

Much of this blog stuff will have to end soon.

This is not about money, it is about someone who belives he is right pursuing a cause he believes in. That he may be overzealous in this is the issue the OU has, as well as Chabad and other halachic cources.

You can't create your own standards and you can't write your own kashrus laws. If you drink Coca Cola on Pesach certified under the OU, you can eat at Le Marais.

You either accept the agency or not, not halfway and pick and choose.

Mr. Bitton, you seem, like a decent person who truly believes - but is it at all possible that what you believe may be misguided?

Think out of the box. Why would the OU stake its very reputation on one steak house, one place which they could easily shut down?

Given the money LM must be paying for the lawsuit, OU could have demanded more money and held their feet to the fire on this and said that the chef must go. They did not, but Le Marais is willing to fight to keep its business - whihc means it would have been easier to hand it to the OU if money was what they were seeking.

There is something insidious about Jews going after non-Jews who serve the Jewish community - we have so many enemies, why go after our friends too. No wonder we have no peace yet.

Maybe, just maybe, the OU sees nothing that rises to Jew hatred and treif, and maybe, just maybe the OU wants to stand up for what is right. We don't need racsism and prejudice among the Jews. OU sees that and OU seems willing to stand up and say that.

Thank you

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If either the OU or Le Marais had a legitimate reason to restrain Rabbi Bitton's Right of free speech, it would be appropriate to seek a restraining order against him.

A civil suit for slander has to meet several criteria.

1. The Plaintiff has to prove malicious intent. Considering that Rabbi Bitton's job was to protect the kashrus of the Jewish public, how would you PROVE that the motives behind Rabbi Bitton's accusations regarding the kashrus of Le Marais are PURELY malicious in intent?

2. The second thing that the plaintiffs must prove is that the accusations are false beyond any shadow of a doubt.

The owners of LeMarais cannot PROVE beyond any doubt that the kashrus accusations made by Rabbi Bitton were false.

TO the contrary since Rabbi Bitton was hired to be an agent of OU SPECIFICALLY to judge the kosher status of the restaurant during his shift his negative judgments of Le Marais or its employees represent "absolute privilege".

Rabbi Bitton was the only person there at the time of each specific incident who would be qualified to give expert testimony regarding the kashrus status of the restaurant at the time that incidents happened so there is no way to bring in opposing expert testimony to support the OU's assertion that the restaurant was kosher at the time. The whole concept of a Mashgiach is that we trust his testimony absolutely regarding the kashrus of the place. This why the principle of "absolute privilege" applies in this case.

Rabbi Bitton has only written about incidents that happened during the time of his employment by the OU, during the time when he was employed as the agent of the OU, specifically charged with the job of determining the kashrus status of the restaurant.

It is my opinion that if Le Marais feels as though they have been harmed by an agent of the company that they hired to administer a kashrus program that Le Marais should seek damages from the company and not the employee as the employee was only doing the job for which he was hired at the time, which was to judge the kashrus status of the restaurant at the time of his watch. It was the OU who hired, trained and installed Rabbi Bitton in the position of sole judge of the kashrus status of the restaurant during his shift.

3.Specific damages have to be proven. The owners of Le Marais cannot PROVE that they have suffered 10 million in damages and that it is a direct result of Rabbi Bitton's blog?

Personally I have always noted that kosher consumers eat out much less often before Pesach as the expenses of making the holiday are significant for everyone. An audit of receipts for the past 10 years since the restaurant has been open would show seasonal fluctuations in receipts. There are many reasons one could attribute to Le Marais's alleged drop in receipts, perhaps an article in the NY Times about the dangers of red meat. Proving beyond any doubt that a specific news article (such as a blog)is solely responsible for a drop in receipts is nearly impossible.

This is a frivolous lawsuit filed simply to harass and intimidate Rabbi Bitton. Surely the attorney who filed this suit knows how absurd it would be to try to collect 10 million dollars from a Mashgiah. How would you propose to do that, sell his organs???

In my opinion, the attorney who filed this frivolous suit which was clearly meant to harass or intimidate should be reported to the NY, NJ and MASS Bar Associations for peer review of his actions.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go ahead, file a suit against the lawyer. That'll get you far.

Clearly you don't know tort law that well.

7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read the suit -

66 b, c, d and e definitely trying to interfere with First Amendment Free Speech and Right to Practice Religion.

Item g -this attorney is trying to limit MY right of Free speech
(and everyone else on this blog)

h, i, j more Free Speech and Right of religious freedom violations

l and m again tries to limit MY free speech and everyone else on this blog LOL.

n and o again tries to limit free speech.

Why didn't this attorney just try to get a restraining order if he thought he had cause? (I know, its obvious).


Title 18 241 applies. The attorney says right there that he is wants you to deny your religious beliefs and limit your right of free speech. The 10 million is just smoke and mirrors, the whole thing is just to restrict your First Amendment Freedoms.

Take a copy of this lawsuit and a copy of Statute 241 to your nearest FBI office and press charges. Press charges against the attorney under Title 18 241 and 242.

Send a fax of the lawsuit to the 3 Bar Associations along with a copy of both Statutes. Tell the Bar Associations in your cover letter that you are writing to protest a SHAM filing, name the above statutes in reference. This attorney is trying to circumvent the law by filing an outrageous civil suit in hopes that you will settle for simply restraining your First Amendment Rights. This is ILLEGAL!!

The Bar Association will usually fax you back forms to sign and this will initiate your action against the attorney. If the attorney is found guilty of SHAM filing or the Bar Association finds him in violation of the above Federal Statutes you may be able to collect monetary damages against the attorney.

You should file this with the NY Bar because the suit was filed in NY, but you should also send it to NJ and MA because the attorney is a member of the Bar there and they might also want to take disciplinary action.

Good Luck

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could this be extortion?

Maybe the Bar Association could answer that.

Let them know when you call that you are a Rabbi being sued by one of their members for 10 million dollars on behalf of a restaurant you supervised for kashrus.

They should be mortified.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gilad Weinreb,

"If you drink Coca Cola on Pesach certified under the OU, you can eat at Le Marais".

Coca cola doesn't need a hechsher anytime of the year. We CAN trust a factory to make soda with the ingredients that are on the label.
Even if we can't trust them, they fear the FDA much more than the OU to ensure that the ingredients on the label are what is in the product.

Bishul, Basar and Gevina are what we need a Mashgiah Temidi for.

So, we hire one and he says that something is not kosher and because this might upset the Gentile "business partner" we put the laws of kashrus aside and instead worry that:

"There is something insidious about Jews going after non-Jews who serve the Jewish community - we have so many enemies, why go after our friends too. No wonder we have no peace yet."

I have heard this in the past from kashrus agencies as a reason why we should eat Bishul Akum (the Gentile is offended when we turn on the stove) or why we should not stand over the Gentile to watch him (this is what the halacha demands) or that we should not stop the Gentile from using an ingredient that is problematic (so we just don't check it) or why we should not throw out food that has been cooked without the Mashgiach being present (because it will upset him and cause a significant loss).

What it all boils down to is money. If we won't permit the Gentile to do whatever he wants to, another agency will. This is the main operating principle of Rabbinical judgment (aka kashrus supervision) for hire.

The Gentiles have hated us ever since Yaakov and Esau and serving traif is not going to change that. In fact the MORE assimilated we become the more likely we are to suffer from anti antisemitism (ie Europe in the 1930's where there was a 50% intermarriage rate).

Every employee resents being told what to do and the Mashgiah in order to ensure kashrus must be in charge of the kitchen even over Master Chefs with many years experience.

As far as the statement:

"Much of this blog stuff will have to end soon."

Yes, you have obtained a restraining order on Rabbi Bitton, but you cannot restrain the speech of entire Jewish world. This shameful debacle is a topic on every Jewish blog and website on the internet.

Furthermore, the mafia like tactics of the kashrus business as a whole is the topic du jour in every Jewish home, in every shul and in emails and phone calls all over the Jewish world.

Because a significant percentage of observant Jews have worked at some time in the past as Mashgichim for national kashrus organizations, every one of us has seen things such as Rabbi Bitton describes and MUCH worse.

The difference is that before this incredible BOOSHA from the OU, some of us thought it was a chilul Hashem to speak up. Now because of the way that the OU has so wrongly abused and mistreated Rabbi Bitton, it is a chilul Hashem NOT to speak up.

Chag Kasher v'Sameach

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just happened on 3/10/07

Dakota County District Court Judge Timothy Blakely has decided a local PR guy by the name of Blois Olson is a public figure and as such, is required to meet to a higher standard of proof that he was defamed. Therefore, the libel lawsuit brought by Olson against conservative blogger Michael Brodkorb has been dismissed. Blogger Brodkorb had written that Blois Olson had some unkind things to say about a fellow Democrat after that Democrat allegedly declined to hire Olson's PR firm.

It does sound like a silly, frivolous case. Aren't most of them? But the key here is that Judge Blakely extended to Brodkorb the same protections afforded The New York Times. I'm pretty sure many conservative (and liberal) bloggers will never rise to the stature of The New York Times, but that citizen journalists got yet another legal precedent in support of their protection is a good thing.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SLAPP stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, and the Anti-SLAPP laws are designed to help people sued for legitimate, protected speech made about public issues. If you are sued because you wrote about an issue of public interest or concern, you may have been SLAPPed. The First Amendment Project has an excellent FAQ on Anti-SLAPP laws. Note that Anti-SLAPP laws don't exist in every state, and they vary quite a bit among states, so this may not be available to everyone.

We also encourage you to review and use our extensive web archive of legal documents at http://eff.org/legal/cases/. You may download any of our legal filings.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S A SLAPP?

SLAPPs all arise out of expressive activity which is directed to public concerns. Often, SLAPPs are "camouflaged" as ordinary civil lawsuits based on traditional theories of tort or personal injury law. Among the most often used legal theories are the following:

*
Defamation. Broadly defined, this is an alleged intentional false communication, which is either published in a written form (libel) or publicly spoken (slander), that injures one's reputation.
*
Invasion of Privacy. This legal theory refers to the unlawful use or exploitation of one's personality, the publicizing of one's private affairs with which the public has no legitimate concern, or the wrongful intrusion into one's private activities.
*
Nuisance. This legal theory includes everything that endangers, or may endanger, life or health, gives offense to the senses, violates the laws of decency, or obstructs, or may obstruct, the use and enjoyment of property.
*
Malicious Prosecution or Abuse of Process. A "malicious prosecution" is a criminal or civil lawsuit which is begun with knowledge that the case lacks merit, and which is brought for a reason (e.g., to harass or annoy) other than to seek a judicial determination of the claim. The use of the legal process to intimidate or to punish the person against whom the suit is brought is generally referred to as "abuse of process."
*
Conspiracy. A conspiracy is an alleged agreement between two or more persons to commit an illegal, unlawful, or wrongful act.
*
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. This legal theory is based on an alleged commission of some outrageous act with the intent and knowledge that the act will result in severe mental or emotional anguish of another.
*
Interference With Contract or Economic Advantage. This legal theory is based on the alleged commission of an act with the intent to interfere with or violate a contract between two people, or hinder a business relationship which exists between those persons.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SLAPPing Back

If you are successful in defending a SLAPP, and you can show that the SLAPP was brought for a purpose other than to resolve the issue by legal means -- e.g., the case was filed for the purposes of harassment, needlessly piling up defense costs, silencing opposition, etc. -- seek legal advise about SLAPPing back. A SLAPPback is a way to seek monetary damages, including pain and suffering, from the SLAPP filer on the theory that the original SLAPP constituted an abuse of the legal process.

In the past, juries in some SLAPPback suits have ordered SLAPP filers to pay large sums of monetary and punitive damages to the original SLAPP target. However, the decision to initiate SLAPPback litigation should not be entered into lightly. A SLAPPback, like the original lawsuit, can take years to reach a final resolution.
Moreover, a SLAPPback is itself likely to be subject to the special motion to strike procedure set forth in Code of Civil Procedure § 425.16. This does not mean that SLAPPbacks can never be won. It does mean that you should have enough evidence to prove a probability of winning the suit, before filing the SLAPPback.

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

New York Statutes

Contents (October 22, 1995). Materials on New York include sections 70-a and 76-a, Civil Rights Code; and N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. 3211(g) and 3212(h).


McKinney's Consolidated Laws of New York Annotated
Civil Rights Law
Chapter 6 of the Consolidated Laws
Article 7 -- Miscellaneous Rights and Immunities


s 70-a. Actions involving public petition and participation; recovery of damages

1. A defendant in an action involving public petition and participation, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section seventy-six-a of this article, may maintain an action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim to recover damages, including costs and attorney's fees, from any person who commenced or continued such action; provided that:

(a) costs and attorney's fees may be recovered upon a demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued without a substantial basis in fact and law and could not be supported by a substantial argument for the extension, modification or reversal of existing law;

(b) other compensatory damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights; and

(c) punitive damages may only be recovered upon an additional demonstration that the action involving public petition and participation was commenced or continued for the sole purpose of harassing, intimidating, punishing or otherwise maliciously inhibiting the free exercise of speech, petition or association rights.

2. The right to bring an action under this section can be waived only if it is waived specifically.

3. Nothing in this section shall affect or preclude the right of any party to any recovery otherwise authorized by common law, or by statute, law or rule.

Notes

(Added L.1992, c. 767, s 2.) L.1992, c. 767, s 6, provided: " This act [enacting this section and s 76-a and amending CPLR 3211 and 3212] shall take effect on the first day of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law [eff. Jan. 1, 1993], provided that this act shall not affect any action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim commenced prior to the effective date of this act."

"Legislation Provides Prompt Review of SLAPP Suits", Terry Rice, 210 N.Y.L.J. 1 (1993).


s 76-a. Actions involving public petition and participation; when actual malice to be proven

1. For purposes of this section:

(a) An "action involving public petition and participation" is an action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim for damages that is brought by a public applicant or permittee, and is materially related to any efforts of the defendant to report on, comment on, rule on, challenge or oppose such application or permission.

(b) "Public applicant or permittee" shall mean any person who has applied for or obtained a permit, zoning change, lease, license, certificate or other entitlement for use or permission to act from any government body, or any person with an interest, connection or affiliation with such person that is materially related to such application or permission.

(c) "Communication" shall mean any statement, claim, allegation in a proceeding, decision, protest, writing, argument, contention or other expression.

(d) "Government body" shall mean any municipality, the state, any other political subdivision or agency of such, the federal government, any public benefit corporation, or any public authority, board, or commission.

2. In an action involving public petition and participation, damages may only be recovered if the plaintiff, in addition to all other necessary elements, shall have established by clear and convincing evidence that any communication which gives rise to the action was made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless disregard of whether it was false, where the truth or falsity of such communication is material to the cause of action at issue.

3. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any constitutional, statutory or common law protections of defendants to actions involving public petition and participation.

Notes

(Added L.1992, c. 767, s 3.) Section effective Jan. 1, 1993, pursuant to L.1992, c. 767, s 6.


N.Y. Civil Practice Law and Rules

Rule 3211

[Paragraphs (a) through (f) omitted here]

(g) Standards for motions to dismiss in certain cases involving public petition and participation. A motion to dismiss based on paragraph seven of subdivision (a) of this section, in which the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section seventy-six-a [sec. 76-a(1)(a)] of the civil rights law, shall be granted unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the cause of action has a substantial basis in law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.

Notes

Subdivision (g) added 1992 (L. 1992, c. 767, s. 4) effective Jan. 1, 1993.


Rule 3212

[Paragraphs (a) through (g) omitted here]

(h) Standards for summary judgment in certain cases involving public petition and participation. A motion for summary judgment, in which the moving party has demonstrated that the action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim subject to the motion is an action involving public petition and participation, as defined in paragraph (a) of subdivision one of section seventy-six-a of the civil rights law, shall be granted unless the party responding to the motion demonstrates that the action, claim, cross claim or counterclaim has a substantial basis in fact and law or is supported by a substantial argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law. The court shall grant preference in the hearing of such motion.

Notes

Subdivision (h) added in 1992 (L.1992, c. 767, s. 5), effective Jan. 1, 1993.

6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation ("SLAPP") is a form of litigation filed by a large organization or in some cases an individual plaintiff, to intimidate and silence a less powerful critic by so severely burdening them with the cost of a legal defense that they abandon their criticism.

At least 24 states and one territory have also enacted some form of legal protections against SLAPPs. New York is one of them.

Since the Supreme Court ruled two years ago that the Net is entitled to the greatest protection afforded by the First Amendment, it seems unlikely courts would adopt a two-track approach for libel on the Net versus in print.


For further reading:

* George W. Pring and Penelope Canan, Slapps: Getting Sued for Speaking Out, (Temple University Press, 1996). ISBN 1-56639-369-8

* Michelangelo Delfino and Mary E. Day, Be careful who you SLAPP, (MoBeta Pub, 2002). ISBN 0-9725141-0-4

* Ralph Nader and Wesley J. Smith, No Contest: Corporate Lawyers and the Perversion of Justice in America, (Random House, 1998). ISBN 0-375-75258-7


Law Firm Fined for Frivolous SLAPP Suit
Judge punishes firm for attempted intimidation

By Henry Weinstein
First published by the Los Angeles Times, August 16, 2005

Los Angeles federal judge on Monday ordered a large law firm and two of its attorneys to pay $267,000 in sanctions for filing a "frivolous lawsuit" against a community activist and three Forest Service employees who opposed a luxury condominium development on Big Bear Lake.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real issued the unusual order against Foley & Lardner and two lawyers in its San Diego office, who had filed suit on behalf of developer Irving Okovita against the employees and Sandy Steers, executive director of the Friends of Fawnskin. The group played a key role in fighting Okovita's proposed Marina Point development.

MA and NJ are also both anti-SLAPP States and this is why you MUST immediately file formal complaints
against the attorney with the Bar Associations in those States as well.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the Matter of Gordon v. Marrone
N.Y. Supreme Court, 1992 (590 N.Y.S.2d 649)

Reargument of the award of attorneys fees and expenses. The court held that, under the SLAPP statute, the award of attorneys fees and expenses for frivolous conduct, based on the prosecution of a colorable claim for an improper purpose, does not violate the Petition Clause of the First Amendment. "SLAPP suits function by forcing the target into the judicial arena where the SLAPP filer foists upon the target the expenses of a defense. The longer the litigation can be stretched out, the more litigation that can be churned, the greater the expense that is inflicted, and the closer the SLAPP filer moves to success.... Short of a gun to the head, a greater threat to First Amendment expression can scarcely be imagined.")

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Bitton.

You should take the OU to a Din Torah.

7:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please clarify -- would a mashgiach be paid by the restaurant / caterer, or by the kasruth organization?

(If by the restaurant, doesn't that create a conflict of interest?)

Thanks for your help clarifying!

7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bitton,

Did you see the statement from Rabbi Keller?

You should respond to it.

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it will be the other way around...the OU will be bringing Isaac to Beit Din...

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mashgiach is employed and paid by the Kashrus org-

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bitton,
you should update your blog.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He can't. He is under a court ordered injunction. Read here:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03282007/news/regionalnews/oy__its_kosher_combat_regionalnews_bill_sanderson.htm

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juda Engelmayer who is the spoksman for Le Marais is a scandolous guy, he served as an executive assistant and assistant press secretary to H. Carl McCall, the New York State Comptroller, where he also worked on prompt contracting and granting issues for state funded non profits, and he was part of the campaign process that saw the first ever NY Statewide elected African American elected two times.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juda Engelmayer, the representetive for Le Marais has been spending a lot of his unbillable hours defending the real estate neologism LoHo. Meanwhile, a self-proclaimed "Wikiminimalist" who goes by the moniker Mosmof is trying to get the entry on LoHo erased from Wikipedia.

Watch the sparks fly on the proposed deletion page.

At first, The Real Estate thought Mr. Engelmayer worked for LoHo Realty, which has pushed to get the term widely accepted, but he said he is volunteering his time.

"I live there, raise my family there, own a bialy bakery, served on one of the co-op boards for 13 years, and have advocated for the neighborhood all my adult life," he e-mailed.

Juda suspects his adversary works for the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. Dara Lehon, deputy director for the BID, told The Real Estate that she did not perpetrate nor authorize any linguistic warfare, and sees no threat to the identity of the neighborhood or her BID's brand by the new name. "We have been working hard doing other things, to be honest."

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Rabbi Keller's letter:

Because Rabbi Keller is employed by the OU, he is an agent of the OU and therefore only represents the interests of his employer.

Rabbi Bitton's attorney will most likely petition the Judge to disregard Rabbi Keller's testimony because of a personal interest in protecting the interests of his employer.

The same would be true of the letter from the fish company. It is obvious that their interests are the interests of their customer. The Judge should disqualify the letter from the Fish company as testimony.

There does not seem to be any of the components of libel here which I will review again:

1. Falsehood - Rabbi Bitton was the only one who was in a position to witness what he says he did. No other Kashrus experts were in the kitchen at the time. Even if EVERYTHING Rabbi Bitton has said can be PROVEN false, there is no way to PROVE that he BELIEVES it to be false. (In fact in the OU's statement saying that "Mr. Bitton developed amazing conspiratorial theories involving crime organizations to explain why people denied his allegations, and attributed dark and evil motives to sincere and honest individuals within the OU.

Mr. Bitton was dogmatic in his interpretations of situations and did not acknowledge the legitimacy of other opinions. We explained to Mr. Bitton that he was entitled to his opinion, but we do not have to agree. He insisted that his viewpoint is fact and not an opinion."


could be held up as testimony
that Rabbi Bitton believes everything he has said).

In a libel, the burden is on the Plaintiff to PROVE that the Defendant KNEW and BELIEVED that everything he said to be false.

Obviously this is not the case, especially given Rabbi Bitton's role as Mashgiach which gives him absolute privilege to speak negatively about the kashrus of the restaurant he is hired to supervise.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Blogs fall under the same rules regarding First Amendment Free Speech as newspapers. In other words, if the NY Daily News cannot be sued for reporting Le Marais's kashrus violations then the same would apply to Rabbi Bitton.

2. Maliciousness- the Plaintiff must PROVE that Rabbi Bitton's intent in writing his blog was NOT the public good but merely to harm Le Marais. Rabbi Bitton SAYS that he has done this to protect the public good. Since he has nothing financially to gain by doing what he is doing,(ie he is not in a competing business) in fact to the contrary, he quit his job, it would be impossible to PROVE that Rabbi Bitton's motives are purely malicious.

3. Damages - Le Marais filed their lawsuit within days of Rabbi Bittons blog appearing, claiming that receipts for the weekend were down 30%. It can easily be asserted that the on the weekend before Passover few kosher diners have the time or money to be out at a fancy steakhouse. An audit of the restaurants receipts from previous years would most likely show seasonal fluctuations so it is impossible to PROVE that this past weekend's receipts were down because of Rabbi Bitton's blog.

The reason the attorney who filed this suit should be reported to the Bar is because this suit does not meet any of the qualifications of a libel. Any Attorney should know this. An Attorney, as an Officer of the Court is charged with helping their clients to OBEY the Law NOT to circumvent it.

The Bar Association is the proper vehicle for filing charges against an attorney who abuses his role as officer of the court. The official term for this is "under Color of Right", that is because the attorney is an officer of the court, most would assume that the filing is appropriate. In this case the filing does not meet ANY of the criteria of libel and the amount of the specified damages has no basis.

Even if Rabbi Bitton were 100% in the wrong and it could be proven(ie. knowingly lying, malicious intent and REALLY causing Le Marais losses in their business), the attorney has no right to file suit against a party when there is ABSOLUTELY no possibility of recovery of the specified damages (where does a Mashgiach get 10 million dollars?).

Frivolous lawsuits do nothing more than clog up the system and cost taxpayers money. Attorneys who file frivolous lawsuits are often fined for doing so.

The purpose of this SHAM filing is not an honest attempt to recover actual damages suffered by Le Marais but to coerce Rabbi Bitton into silence against his First Amendment Rights of Free Speech. The Attorney who represents Rabbi Bitton in my opinion should file a motion for a summary judgment to dismiss concurrently with an anti SLAPP suit against the attorney.

Additionally because Rabbi Bitton was employed by the OU at the time of the incidents, the OU' should be held responsible for Rabbi Bitton's defense. I am sure that the OU carries liability insurance on their employees.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Son of A Mashgiach said...

I have just heard about this blog and unfortunately I am sure that the Mashgiach is correct and the leaders at the UNION are lying.
I can give you many instances where the Rabbis at the OU hace chosen money over honesty, money over integrity, and money over proper supervision.
The Rabbis at the OU are dishonest and care about money not hasgacha.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHA Why doesn't Le Marais sue the
NY Post????

A lot more bad publicity for the OU and Le Marais will come from that article than a blog???

They shot themselves in the foot when they filed the suit. Now every Yid in the four corners of the earth will know something is fishy and it ISN"T in a box left OUTSIDE the restaurant.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can a NY Judge order a CA company (ie Google) to pull a Blog???

Can a NY Judge restrain me, a resident of a State other than NY from posting on a Blog hosted by a CA company?

Meanwhile updates on this story are on Vosizneias.com and canonist.com.

Isaac Bitton can't blog, but everyone else can.

Le Marais will have a hard time showing that it was this little blog that hurt their business after the story hit the NY Post.

Smart move on the OU's part filing a $10 mill. lawsuit against a Mashgiah to make the negative publicity go away. Just adds to their credibility.

Good Shabbos,
Hag Kasher v' Sameach

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They couldn't get Google to remove Jew watch. If you do a Google on "Jew" Jew watch comes up in the first five every time.

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the appropriateness of filing a $10 mill suit against a mashgiach, Attorney Richard Klass's website says it all:

Firm Profile:
The firm has developed a niche practice of litigating tough cases that other attorneys wouldn't touch.

Got Ethics?

7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there are "whistle blower" laws in NY State that would apply here?

I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to prove that Le Marais was encouraged to file this suit by the OU and that it was retaliation.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Son of A Mashgiach said...

Now that the can of worms is open, I would like to relay a story that might offer some insight into the credibility of the OU and their leadership. A business owner was called in for a meeting at the OU and was informed that his yearly supervision fee was going to be raised by 500%. FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT! The business owner was told that he should have no problem with the increase because his business was growing. The "Rabbis" told the owner that if he refused to pay that they would put an ad in the following week Jewish Press which would state that The OU is longer certifying that his establishment was Kosher. Then the Rabbis said " And let the people figure out on their own why The OU decided to dropp your Hechsher"
I would LOVE to hear the " Orthodox Rabbis" at the Union deny that this is not the typical strongarm tacticts that they use in order to extort money from their customers. Yes, I know I said extort, I probably should have used the term blackmail.
The Current regime at the OU have NEVER been about Kashruth and Always been about MONEY.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attention All Jr Attorneys at Law:

Instead of posting your two cents on this blog about whether anyone has a case or to SLAPP the guy or spank him or whatever to the bar-

why don't you actually take the case for Isaac pro bono (since he is an unemplyed mashgiach after all) if you guys have it all figured out....there are more junior lawyers here then OJ had on his legal team-

I mean according to everyone here it's an open and shut case-maybe Isaac can actually print out all the answers from this blog and just represent himself(ala Jack DiNorscio). He can bring the printed blog to court and when the lawyers and judge start asking him questions-good ole Isaac can just point to everyone's posts and say...look your honor...I'm innocent...it says so right here!

If ppl really are lawyers and want to help-you shouldn't be posting on here-you should be contacting Isaac to help-until then leave the job to the real lawyers-

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paul Alan Levy did a great job defending Orthomom.

I would happily contribute to Isaac's legal fund if someone would post an address where checks can be sent.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who would like to contribute to Yitzchak Bittons Defense can do so by contacting his son at b7069484@yahoo.com

Thank you

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just rechecked this story with another family member who was also there when our Bensimon cousin told us that the chef was fired because he brought in treif meat and that it almost cost them the business.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Paul Kopyt - Brooklyn,NY said...

I don't understand why you continued as a mashgiach at the restaurant once you became aware of the violations. Furthermore, you have offered no substantiation for your claims other than 'claiming' that you can substantiate it. Finally, comments submitted anonymously have no value to anyone. I will sign my name, but I doubt this will be 'approved by the blog author'.
Paul Kopyt

10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two years ago, I wrote into Askmoses.com after I had seen employees of Emerald Caterers in Miami cooking on Shabbos with the OK's mashgiach supervising.

I wrote into Askmoses.com because as a Sephardic Jew, I had no other way to know if Lubavitch permitted Gentiles to cook on Shabbos for motzai Shabbos affairs catered by a kosher caterer.

Askmoses.com was the only way I knew of to ask the question without embarrassing myself or anyone else because I knew that our Sephardic Rabbis did not permit this but had NO WAY of knowing if Lubavitch did.
As I am sure you know, different Rabbinical traditions rule quite differently from each other very often.

About two weeks later I was notified that I was being sued by the caterer. A copy of my emailed question along with my home address and phone number had been given to the caterer who is a Gentile.

I as you, was raised to believe that I should never write anything that I am ashamed to sign my name to. My experience with Don Yoel Levy and the OK changed that forever.

My attorney told me that in the future, I should NEVER sign my name to anything I post on a website or blog and that I will save a lot of money defending myself from frivolous lawsuits from people who want to silence my First Amendment Right of Free Speech.

My attorney told me that if I had not signed my name to my question, I could not have been sued because there would have been no other way to prove who had sent in the question from my office computer.

Not only was I harassed with frivolous lawsuits and threatening phone calls to my home, but my grown children were also harassed at work by the Gentile kitchen staff employed by the caterer. My house and car were vandalized by these people as well.

Since then, a letter, signed by Don Yoel Levy himself has been sent to the President of every synagogue in which my husband, a Rabbi has even attended. The letter which includes a copy of my question to Askmoses.com states that if the synagogue continues to welcome my husband they will be sued by the OK for the defamation of the character of one of their clients, and they will sue the synagogue for damages because they cannot collect a judgment from our assets.

It is not unreasonable that the Board of Directors of any synagogue would assume that anyone whom Don Yoel Levy himself would threaten to sue A SYNAGOGUE over must have done something quite horrid.

Fortunately for our family my husband has always supported us in business and has never taken A PENNY from any congregation for serving them so we have not suffered financially because of this.

So now Mr. Paul Kopyt of Brooklyn NY I hope you will understand why I will never again sign my name to anything I post online.

If you really need to know who I am, I am sure you would be able to find out easily enough from the details of my story. What happened to our family scared a lot of other people into keeping their mouths shut when they see kashrus violations.

As you can imagine I identify with Rabbi Bitton's plight MOST personally and want to help in anyway that I can. I am fortunate to have an attorney in the family who is restrained from posting due to the public nature of his office which by the way is in NY State.

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

For those who may be unaware, the scum RICHARD KLASS and owner of le marais JOSE were able to adjourn for a week, which buys them more time to shut Mr. Bitton up. Luckily, they cant do it forever, and when its lifted, the truth will come flying out. In the meantime please donate to the legal fund that has been setup, so we can help Mr Bitton fight against the cowards at le marais and the OU.

The paypal link is below. You can begin passing it
around.

Thanks again.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?
cmd=_xclick&business=ton112%40yahoo%
2ecom&item_name=Yitzchak%20Bitton%20%2d%
20Freedom%20of%20Speech%

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an experienced attorney. It is shocking that the judge issued a temporary restraining order pending the hearing on the preliminary injunction. A court may not issue a prior restraint on speech. If a plaintiff feels aggrieved by potential defamatory speech, the remedy is to sue for damages after the fact (as has been done here), but there is no basis for enjoining speech. With proper representation, the preliminary injunction will no doubt be denied.

Separately, it would be helpful to those of us interested if Rabbi Bitton were to make his tapes available, as he has promised to do.

Good luck.

PS- The individuals who purport to be providing legal advice and information are largely ignorant of the law and procedure, in my humble and professiona opinion.

10:51 PM  
Blogger Cosmic X said...

OT- Shalom Yitzchak,

I just saw here that you are the same Yitzchak Bitton from the Raya Mehemna/Raava Mehemna group. I bought your tapes over twenty years ago and I still love them.

P.S. My children also like your music!

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr Bitton, courage, courage;
la vérité vaicra - trop d'anti sefaradisme nevous laissez pas faire

8:21 AM  
Blogger nava said...

http://dreamingofmoshiach.blogspot.com/2007/04/ou-scandals-and-earths-court.html

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Experienced Attorney,

If you are truly appalled by the TRO can you write to the Judge. I wonder if Judge Paltrow knows that the Supreme Court ruled that the web is not different than newspapers and that bloggers are journalists?

Hopefully this Chillul Hashem from the OU will get dropped. I can only imagine what 3 million NY'ers are thinking when they read that millionaires from Les Halles, and the OU using the overburdened, taxpayer supported NYS Courts for their publicity campaign.

As an aside, can someone please explain to me why Shmira is not included in the OU's funeral package? Isn't shmira a requirement according to Jewish Law? How can the OU consider is an optional "extra"?

12:09 PM  
Blogger Metal said...

After reading the New York Post article, I don't even have to know Rabbi Bitton to note some glaringly dangerous errors made by the OU and Le Marais.

If there were bugs in the salad, it was TREIF!

You're not allowed to eat meat that was left alone with a goy!

I never heard of treif margarine, but if someone puts OU-D margarine in meat dishes, that would for sure make the food treif. Maybe that's what that article meant about unkosher margarine.

If goyim own the restaurant, and the chef's a goy, and the only one you can depend on is the mashgiach and then you go around saying he's crazy after they hired him (I'm sure they could figure out exactly what was up with his hashkafa when they interviewed him, hellooooooo), obviously there is something severely wrong with the situation, and I'll bet there is a lot of money involved.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont buy your story.. The OU seems to be right here.. Maybe you should get an outside perspective.. but something isnt right.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Treif here is the OU.

If Isaac was a competent mashgiach, competent enough to rely upon to permit food from a Goyishe restaurant with a Goyishe cook, then you have no choice but to believe him when he says Les Marais was not kosher.

If Isaac was not a competent mashgiach as the OU claims, then Les Marais was NEVER kosher.

I noticed that the OU supervised Levaya program at Parkside Chapels does not include shmira (but it is optionally available for an additional charge). Isn't shmira a requirement according to Jewish law? When did shmira become optional?

I guess I can answer my own question. When Jewish observance became big business, adherence to Jewish law became an optional extra. I think we call that movement Reformed.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Ezra Landon said...

Dear Bitton and bloggeres:

Some of you have no idea what kosher certification is all about, how it is conducted and the criteria used to have someone fired or a shop closed.

From your immature and naive comments being made here, it is clear that many of you either don't know or really wouldn't eat out under any hechsher if you were aware of the facts of any kosher certification.

Everyone here who is crying foul here over the lawsuit misses the point entirely - the process worked, the OU checked and checked and investigated again and, while they indeed found that errors were made, they could not substantiate the claim of Sonay Yisroel and intentional disregard. The suit came only after the OU told Bitton that he was incorrect about the man being a Jew hater and that they could not justify firing a man over it. Bitton than quit his job – leaving the protection of the OU – and began bad mouthing the OU, the restaurant, the chef and the daytime mashgiach. That is where he lost his right to freely slander someone.

When an incident happens, and it is an important one, a restaurant gets fined or shut down for a day as punishment. if it occurs over and over, they assess whether it is intentional. If it is, they require firings or restraining orders, (like the recent bagel store incident in Woodmere, where an owner is no longer allowed to walk into the store because of willful disregard), and when that fails, they remove the hechsher.

This is standard for just about ALL KASHRUS AGENCIES.

Here, the OU fined and even shut La Marais down for a day over some of these incidents, but were convinced that it was human error and not human intent.

Is anyone actually listening to the facts or are you all just quoting Jewish phrases on kashrut and witness viability and pretending to be wiser than everyone else?

It's a sin to teach falsehoods as Jewish law and even moreso to perpetuate loshon hora on the OU and its rabbeim, and to willfully harm a business simply because you think you know.

No beis din would approve of this idle chatter and evil banter.

Bitton did something wrong when he chose to go to the blogs and emails instead of taking the OU and its assessment of the situation as being different than Bitton's claims to a third party arbitrator or a beis din.

This is not about strawberries or margarine, as the system worked, the mashgichim did their jobs and no treif was ever served. This is about whether someone is to be labeled an anti-Semite - are you people understanding that?

From here on, anyone who mentions the specifics of "kashrut" violations and whether a mashgiach should be sued for talking about them in public, ought to be ignored.

That is NOT what this is about!

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have yet to meet ANYONE who worked for Jews who did not become an anti Semite even if he/she was not one before. This includes manyh Jews. Part of the reason for this is that many in our community do not treat their workers according to halacha, as human beings created by the G-d we profess to serve.

Because I am a native Ladino speaker I understand what is said by your maids when they talk about you on their cellphones. I understand what is said among the workers who cook and serve your simchas, who care for your children, who clean your homes and who cut your meat.

I read the virulently anti Semitic commentaries constantly printed in La Raza, a popular Hispanic newspaper.

Jews whom I know who speak Russian, Polish or Hungarian tell me they hear similar things said about us in those languages.

It should not be incredible to anyone that a Gentile who has worked cooking for Jews for years would hate us. Regarding this particular chef, a Shomer Shabbat, Yirat Shamayim Jew told me that he brought treif meat into Levana's and nearly ruined them.

There are times when one can believe a Gentile over a Jew but I do not believe that this situation can meet the halachic criteria because of the restaurant's vested interest in the outcome.

What is incredible is that based upon the testimony of the mashgiach the OU hired and trusted to supervise the kashrus of Les Marais, the OU would not be willing to even temporarily place a second mashgiach to assist with what obviously was a problematic situation for many months.

With all due respect to Ezra Landau, I do not believe that the most basic facts can be ignored.

Either:

1. The lone witness, Isaac Bitton was competent as a Mashgiach and Les Marais was not kosher for many months

or

2. The OU is correct in saying that Isaac Bitton was delusional and not competent to supervise the OU's kashrus program and therefore Les Marais was not kosher for many months.

Either way, the OU has lost all credibility in their support of Les Marais in this lawsuit. For those who saw the video from Rubashkin I do not believe that it comes as a surprise.

With regard to your statement "it is clear that many of you either don't know or really wouldn't eat out under any hechsher if you were aware of the facts of any kosher certification."

I could not agree with your statement more strongly. The last time our family ate from a "supervised" eastablishment was shortly after my husband was given smicha and had the opportunity to walk into some of the "kosher" restaurant and caterer's kitchens. I understand that this is the typical reaction of those who have been around the kashrus industry.

7:22 PM  
Blogger Milhouse said...

The OU's statement is false on its face, because it contains at least one statement that is clearly disingenuous. When the OU claims that it could easily have insisted that the chef be fired, and that the restaurant would have complied, the person who wrote that claim knew or ought to have known it to be false.

This person must surely have known the history of this restaurant, and how the OU came to have picked up the contract in the first place; given that knowledge, it is impossible that he or she could state with confidence that the restaurant would have complied with an order to fire the chef.

The bottom line here is that the OU has an incentive to fudge things, while Rabbi Bitton has none. But much more important: whether Rabbi Bitton's assessment of the chef's state of mind is correct or not, the way the OU treated him must weigh on the mind of the current mashgiach. Put yourself in his (or her) shoes. Suppose you spot an irregularity, something that doesn't look right. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to stick your neck out, and risk losing your job and the chance of ever again working for the OU, or will you keep your concerns to yourself?

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to know that we still have constitutional Freedoms in NY State.


KOSHER-CLASH RABBI OK'D
By BILL SANDERSON
PrintEmailDigg ItStory Bottom

April 25, 2007 -- The "rockin' rabbi" is free to speak his mind about a Manhattan steakhouse, a judge said yesterday.

Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Mark Portnow lifted his gag order against Isaac Bitton, a former kosher supervisor at Le Marais in Midtown, who in his youth was the drummer for a chart-topping French rock band.

7:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I salute Mr Bitton for his courage to speak out against an organisation, which presents to the world at large an image of 'knowing better then anybody else'.
Keep up the good work. J.C.

1:48 PM  

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